Friday, November 11, 2011

days of the week -- the habit

The other day, I was chatting on the phone with a good friend when she admitted she had suffered her first serious 'senior moment.' She got up on Tuesday and set about the chores she knew needed doing only to find, when she got to the dentist's office in the early afternoon, that her appointment wasn't until next week ... a fact that meant everything she had done up until then had been based on a mistaken premise. No harm was done, but she said the whole thing rattled her cage.

And her misadventure put me in mind of my own creeping missteps, not the least of which is not knowing what day of the week it is. Younger people (and I too) may chortle or smile indulgently at this small slipping of the gears.

In one sense, it's quite disconcerting: For as long as I can remember, the correct day of the week was an integral part of my daily tapestry. It was part of who I was. I not only knew it, but I assumed it. Today is Friday. No big deal and yet important as a matter of who I was and the responsibilities I felt I had to fulfill. Really, it's important to know what day of the week it is.

But today, I thought perhaps there was another approach as well. When you stop and think about it, days of the week are a convenience, a choice, a means of socially-acceptable designation. It's important to fulfill the obligations of a Friday or Wednesday or Monday. Get to work, meet a friend, go to the doctor or dentist, fly out on vacation, start a war ... the list of linked topics is almost endless.

But when you get honest, there aren't any days of the week. There is only now, whenever that might be.

To say there are no days of the week is not to denigrate or dismiss days of the week. It's just to notice that days of the week are a choice, not an imperative. I would like to be responsible, so days of the week lend a hand. But further, I would like to be in control -- to find definitions and meanings that assure my being ... and days of the week support that effort as well.

Days of the week are such an old habit that it feels a bit spooky to have their force and meaning dwindle and evaporate. There is a sense of over-the-hill-laddie. A part of me scrambles and scrapes to get back to 'normal.' But ...

But there is also a sense of release and relief. Things are much lighter when I don't hang that old habit around my neck. Sure, I can choose to do days of the week, but the reality is that I don't have to. Things come and things go ... without any reference to "Friday." It's one less bit of self-indulgent self-importance. Self-importance takes energy and at my age, you husband your energies for more important stuff and leave the less important stuff to others.

It's lighter, this Friday ... not so important to belong or believe. I can choose what I like... about like any other long-standing and unexamined habit.

I can choose what I like ... and so can you. Are the 'defining' habits really all that necessary? Maybe yes, maybe no -- your choice.

1 comment:

  1. They sure feel necessary in a conventional living world