I can think of one thousand places much worse than this.” ~ I Am Here, Pink
It’s around this time of year – August – when Halloween items show up in stores. It tends to frustrate people to see bats and cauldrons lined up alongside back to school binders and crayons, but we can’t pretend to be surprised. It happens every year. In about a month, it will be Thanksgiving decorations. A month or so after that, Christmas cards.
I’m not sure why this happens, it just does. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Most likely it happens because it’s how we live our lives anyway – in an alternate time outside of the present—why should our shopping experiences be any different?
What’s the first thing someone says when they’re asked how vacation was? “Too short.”
What’s the typical response on a Monday morning? “The weekend went so fast.”
There’s no better example than this month of August, Halloween candy displays aside, to recognize and slightly fear the passing of time at record speed. As the other side of the store aisle proves, school season is here in a few short weeks and I have the supply shopping scars to prove it.
I’m as guilty as anyone for scooting time aside. By May, as the school year ends and swim team season begins, I look at the calendar in chunks, planning far enough out to find a wide open Saturday. Instantly, one month gone. By late May, part of my brain is already in July.
Sorry, June. You’re a great month and worth more than that.
I wish I didn’t do it.
I wish I lived in the moment just a little more.
This summer, we managed a quick get-away; a chance to hit the open road, which I do consider to be half the fun, wander around some new places and order over-priced room service.
Four days and 3 nights in and out of a beautiful city, mountains and wide open country and when we returned home, I still managed to feel sorry for myself and bad for my kids that it couldn’t have been longer.
If only a four-day vacation could simply be a four-day vacation as opposed to a too-short vacation threatening to thrust us back into “reality” too quickly.
I wish “reality” didn’t carry such a negative connotation.
I heard writer Anne Lamott once tell a story that reminds me of the effects of losing sight of time or at the very least, choosing to see it in the most constricting ways.
“You can trap bees in a Mason jar without lids,” she said, “because they look straight ahead, muddling around…bumping into the glass sides…they don’t look up.”
It’s so much easier to see the limitations.
Is there a time rule? Does a vacation have to be five days long to create a memory worth remembering? Does it take two vacations instead of one?
The moments that stay with us don’t span a week and they don’t seem to work off of a calendar. They’re instant.
So, considering all of our selfish time constraints and demands, and to the appearance of Halloween in August, Thanksgiving in September and Christmas in October, I say this:
Buy a Reece’s pumpkin, split it and hand half to someone else. Tell them Happy Halloween. Because as you know, before you blink, Halloween will be long gone. It will be Thanksgiving. It will be Christmas.
Then, as Valentine chocolates are organized on the store shelves before New Year’s Eve, we can all collectively ask ourselves, “Why?”
But…remember that one time you shared Halloween candy in August?