I feel like I’ve spent half my life sitting in traffic and the other half waiting for something to download.

And that’s a bad thing, because I’m not a patient person. But I find ways to make use of my time; in fact, I’m a master at using my time wisely. While I’m waiting for something to download, I’ll file my nails, fold laundry, make a pot of coffee and burn dinner. I can’t do any of those things while I’m in my car except for burning dinner, so in traffic, I sit and talk.

Robin checks her calendar.

But while I’m sitting and waiting and making good use of my time, the world around me is pushing and pushing.

There is a force out there, a force to be reckoned with.

It’s as if some giant hand is turning pages on the calendar, flipping ahead and skipping entire months.

Like January.

You notice this force in August. You’re sunned and sandy and your skin is peeling; October is the last thing on your mind, because you haven’t even bought school supplies yet, but you’re staring at orange-and-black Halloween displays at every grocery store. You’re pushed through Labor Day straight toward Christmas, with Thanksgiving sort of smushed in there, too. You’re rushed to put it all up and then pressured to take it all down.

Then suddenly you’re shopping for heart-shaped cards and you look up and wonder, “What in the world happened to January?”

January is a rest stop in the Celestial Wheel of Holidays, and somehow I miss it every time. We go from Christmas and Hanukkah straight to Valentine’s Day, and I’m shouting, “Hang on! I’m still in December!”

This pushing force is a kid dragging his parents through a holiday-splattered theme park, and once again, he has dragged me straight past the rest stop of January.

Well I’ll do the dragging, if you don’t mind.

I’m not straggling, I’m not procrastinating—I’m savoring.

I like the decorations. I’ll keep the pumpkins till they’ve rotted. I’ll keep the poinsettias until they’re dead. I’ll keep the little Fourth of July flag at the mailbox until the first whiff of autumn. And I like it that way. I want to take it one celebration at a time, and I want to make it last.

In one of the top movie moments of all time (No. 39, on somebody’s list), Dustin Hoffman famously banged his hand on top of a cab and yelled, “Hey! I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”

Well, I’m living here. Stop pushing me, giant hand flipping pages of the calendar and skipping entire months! I’m living here. And I’m doing it on my own terms.

Now, if you don’t mind, I still have two weeks left in February, and I am going to sit down with a box of Valentine candy and eat it and enjoy it, while I wait for something to download.

Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody.  She can be contacted at robinjm@earthlink.net.

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