women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Looking Forward

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay
And I wonder if I'm really with you now,
Or just chasin' after some finer day?

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late;
Is keepin' me waitin'...

- Carly Simon

This time of year is all about looking forward: to the holidays, to vacation, to the new year, to a new administration, to the first snow, to the football playoffs.

You name it; we look forward to it.

And it got me to thinking (always a dangerous prospect!) And the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became, that having something to look forward to is essential to human happiness. Or at least we think it is...

A while back, the Indianapolis Colts won the super bowl. We yelled. We cheered. We bought tee shirts and game videos and various commemorative items. We stood out in sub-zero weather to cheer the team. It felt huge; it felt important; it mattered...

At the time.

Two years later it's a blip on the NFL's radar screen.

My eldest son got married in August. I started looking for a dress in January. I had a makeover at the Bobbi Brown counter. I got a new hairdo. My DH lost ten pounds. It was very important that we put our best foot forward.

And now? What remains are the memories of love and joy, not the appearance of the flowers on the table or the garb of the groom's parents.

MSNBC, which has been talking non-stop about the election first, then the economy, is now yammering incessantly about O.J. Simpson's sentencing.

And I remember how my parents watched his murder trial obsessively. Like it mattered. And I think how little it actually did (to those who weren't friends and family, of course.)

So why do we invest things with so much importance?

So we have something to look forward to.

I publish a pattern and people want to know when the next one is coming out.

My WIP basket should serve as a deterrent to my taking on anything else. But it doesn't.

Marketing does a masterful job of creating need in our general society. We are always looking forward to the next big thing.

And I am as guilty as the next knitting whore enthusiast. I post pics of Durum (that golden thing to the left - I know what you want) on Ravelry and everyone comes a- calling (but they don't bring pie, darn it! What happened to our manners?)

When I was depressed I came up with a phrase that summed up everything I felt at the time; that so perfectly captured the malaise and despair I felt, that I christened it the "mantra of the clinically depressed"...

"It doesn't matter."

Whatever "it" is.

What we had for dinner...

Didn't matter.

What I should be doing instead of staring out the window and crying...

Didn't matter.

What I liked, what I thought, what I did, who I was...

Didn't matter.

And that nearly killed me.

Until the day I knew the truth.

I mattered.

To my family, to my friends, to the world, to God.

Because everyone matters. Life is only about relationships and it is hard to have them, without other people.

We need something to matter in this world of ours.

We need this so much that if there isn't anything particularly meaningful going on in our lives, we infuse something else with meaning, just so we can go on living, hoping, looking forward.

And all along, what matters, what's real, is right here, right now:
  • in our homes - our families, our health, our lives, our loves.
  • in our neighborhoods -our friends and neighbors
  • in the world at large - our fellow humans and our commitment to their well being.

Maybe we need to stop looking forward and look around instead.

And maybe I should quit thinking preaching, and get back to my needles...

After all, yarn matters too - to us anyway...


Amber said...

It's kinda funny that the holidays kick off with the one intended specifically to be the one where you DO look around and appreciate where you ARE and what you HAVE :)

Anonymous said...

Amen! At Christmas time especially, we only have to look at a Nativity scene to know how much God loves us.

Gorgeous knitting project. I see lots of those knit through the back of the loops!!!

Chery said...

Well said! We do matter!

fleegle said...

Of course we matter! We are all we have!

Here....have some pie, too!

Pat K said...

Marvelously put, as always! You have a knack for putting things into words...and stitches!

La Cabeza Grande said...

Hey! I resemble that mantra!
I'm still trying to matter to me.

It is a struggle to remember to look around at where you are instead of lamenting what you've done, where you were or where you think you should be.

Julie said...

I know this is a few days after your post, but thank you for the loving reminder that people (ourselves included) matter most.