Headless chickens

The other day I was talking with my friend, S, from a long time ago. We went to high school together.

When I talk with her, I remember things about the person I used to be. I remember how excited I used to get about the littlest details. Like I used to sit in the passenger seat of our car and I’d let my arm hang out the window and I would look at the shape of my arm in the rear view mirror and I’d see my reflection and I’d think, “That’s a pretty good looking arm!” And, “When you smile like that, you’re kinda pretty!” And then I’d go back to lolling my arm around in the wind.

I used to admire the curvature of a stairwell as much as I’d admire the curvature of a calf muscle.

I’d be entertained on the bus all the way from 91st to 20th in NYC just by imagining the lives of the people sitting near me.

And now? I rush around with barely a moment to spare. I don’t even attempt to remember things that I used to like phone numbers and I don’t play with rearranging the letters and numbers of license plates like I used to.

And pretty soon my kids will be grown up and out of the house and where will I be?

So how to slow down? My friend S had the secret. She knew. Take the tiniest detail from your day and savor it. Enjoy it. Get every ounce of juice out of it.

Keep things simple. No need to rush from point A to point B. Take your time. Even if it means you arrive home past curfew. Your parents will understand. Tell them, “You were living life with a good friend. They will believe you.” Push the envelope. Live by your own rules. Don’t be a lemming. Think for yourself. Make up the rules as you go. Get along with people but don’t be a kiss ass but also don’t be a dumbass.

Basically: enjoy. Notice the tiniest details like the taste of nutmeg and cinnamon and mocha sprinkles on your latte. Or the shape of the clouds. Or the way that guy sits in his chair with his foot twisted under his other leg. Stop and notice things and don’t just stop there. Share them with someone. Enjoy little things together. Help someone else slow down. We’re all rushing around like headless chickens. Just pick up someone’s head, put it back on them, and then take their wing in your hand and slow down.


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