During wintertime I reflect on the past year. The days are short, the expectations sometimes are long. Expectations for a very Merry Christmas. Expectations for a jolly, holly Christmas. Expectations for family and friends to eat, drink, and be merry.
Some years I am cold, frozen to the bone with lack of expectations. I wonder as I wander throughout the winter season, if I am approaching the winter of my life. No! my inner thoughts quickly say: you are young, you are only as young as you chose to feel. But I notice a few differences in my body this winter. I have more low back aches that take longer to recover from the pounding indoor tennis I play. I have less patience with people who have no patience, are rude, or just plain do not agree with my world view, which is for peace and nonviolence, more equality for all peoples, and less tribalism. Does this put me into a crotchety category-my less tolerance of the intolerant? I do not want to be crotchety, so I smile, I fake until I make it. I say to the umpteenth sales caller on my phone, “This is not a good time for me, click.” Does this make me evil? The sales person has to make a living too, but not at expense of my time, or lack of need of “family friendly films,” (whatever those are). And how did you know or not know that I bought some (which I have not since 20 years ago), Mr. Family Friendly salesperson? How did you get my phone number?
There are periods in winter that I feel hollow inside, cold to the bone. Most of the time I feel filled to the brim with actions to be done. But sometimes I would like to just be—sit around and dream. Sit around and just be. Being, doing, being, doing now that is the question? Contemplate my naval until it is full of lint! Leave me alone is my desire. Leave me to read a good book, stare out the window, pet the dog, wander around noticing changes in the season, in my aging body, in my relationships to friends and family. When will it be the right time to give up running on the tennis courts, and use walking as my primary “sport,” and do gentle-to-my-body yoga stretches instead and full-out- run -off- my- tuckus tennis? Or do I start up yoga stretches right after tennis (yes, I tried it this week and it helped stave off total body lock up)?
For moments I am in the winter of my life metaphorically. Literally in the actual winter season with early darkness in the evenings, I wake up in the dark and this reminds me to slow down a little, reflect, hibernate a little more than usual. But the instinct is to push through the darkness, push through the haze, until the light comes in, the blood burns hot, and the brain zips. I ruminate over becoming an eccentric misfit who eschews people. but I sure would like to have the opportunity to rest, repose, relax this winter. But I have miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep. What will it be this winter, or does it have to be either/or, but maybe a little of both active and contemplative?