Transitions are never easy. We are habitual creatures and enjoy life when all goes along as usual. Move-in day my freshman year of college is a memory like none other. It is representative of life going any way but the usual.
My parents drove my roommate, Nancy, and me to the small town of Pulaski, TN, about 70 miles south of Nashville. Daddy had done his very best at getting everything into the trunk or between Nancy and me in the back seat.
When we arrived at the address we’d received for our dorm, we found a mass of cars, parents, and other students. Dad began to unload the car, and Nancy and I ran ahead to the front doors of the building. When we gave the receptionist our names, she had less than a large smile on her face.
It was not good news. The room assigned to us was on the first floor. Unfortunately, the first floor of this brand new building was still under construction.The first thing that popped into my mind was where would we sleep that night. But better yet, where we would shower the next morning?
Our housemother arrived just then with new living arrangements. We would be living on the third floor of the home of the Dean of Students and his young family.The dean’s home was in an old Victorian house. This meant no air conditioning and no bath on the third floor.
The Housing Office had gone out of its way to provide comfortable accommodations. Finding space for eight freshmen girls and one sophomore “big sister” in one place was a challenge. However, the situation provided the nine of us with the opportunity to get to know each other in a smaller community. Solid friendships were formed during this time.
Many good memories grew out of this experience. We did get noisy at times. Dean White had a clever way of alerting us to lower the noise level. He used the light switch at the bottom of the stairs to douse us into total darkness if we were bothering his family.
Spending your freshman year in college at “The White House” is not something everyone can brag about!
In January, I posted this update relating to my site and my thoughts on future writing plans. At the time, I chose a new title for my site. That was not to imply I wasn’t happy with the previous title, The Writing Studio. It didn’t seem to fit my online persona as well as it did the actual studio my husband designed and built for me.
Today’s post, I hope, will give you a look into how I chose the new title, Life in the Slow Lane. My explanation is long in coming but with this bit of change, my desire to write grows stronger each day. And so it is that I share the origin of the new name.
Living in the slow lane is a beautiful gift. A gift of time. Time for planning and dreaming and reflecting. Each of these processes brings a special gift. These gifts conjured up images of trips down long and winding country roads, thus the title “Life in the Slow Lane” was born.
One day, while struggling with chronic pain, I realized that I pushed myself in ways I could give up. Overload, perfectionism, and social media took precious time from my family and faith. Without either of these, I am lost as an individual.
Slowing down is hard for a perfectionist. The detail-oriented tend to bury themselves in overload. My thoughts gave me a sense of humility and raised questions. All this forced me to take a good look at what I want the next decades to look like. Asking yourself questions can be scary and humbling but it also guides and directs you.
One of my biggest writing battles is with myself. I love the craft and process of scripting words together to tell a story, my story. I have completed a manuscript of my memoir. But I’ve reached a point where I can’t make up my mind about publishing it. I know it’s well written although it needs some restructuring. It tells my story with truth, love, and faith. With very little work, it could be ready for submission in a few days/weeks.
I’ve wrangled with myself like a cowboy trying to rope a calf and brand it. Bob and I have had discussion after discussion about what I should or shouldn’t do. In all honesty, there are many points under my “shouldn’t” column. And if anyone ever needs someone to coach them into doing something, I’ll hire Bob out.
The biggest part of my problem? I’ve finished the fun part of writing this book–the writing and researching. I don’t want to deal with launching, marketing, selling, and putting myself in front of the book. It’s not that I’m not proud of what I’ve accomplished. I am. However, I did what I’ve always said I would do: Write the story of my difficult relationship with my mother. It seems others have always assumed I meant I’d publish it too.
During the last three years, my inability to focus on writing has taught me several things. First, I could have spent many more years sitting or lying in pain than I have. Diagnosed at age 12 with scoliosis, I was fortunate to not suffer from back pain until I was in my late 30s/early 40s. Luck was with me all those years.
During this time, I’ve enjoyed the love and companionship of a caring husband and one of the best nurses I know. He’s cared for me through more surgeries than either of us wants to count. Despite this, we have enjoyed the activities we enjoy both at home and in our community.
My thoughts next turned to once the recovery from this recent surgery is behind me. What do I really want to do with my life? Lots of things came to mind, but the best and most important are below:
Wake up every morning looking forward to spending each day with the love of my life, 24/7, no less.
Listen to classical music every day, whether via radio, CDs, or Bob practicing one of his many horns.
Love our home and care for it as I have always done, except when unable to because of pain.
Spread our love to our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids despite the miles separating us.
Gardening! I haven’t been able to dig in the dirt and garden for so many summers now. I’ve watched Bob do it all and longed to be out there with him.
Volunteer my time as I am able, especially with the Mothers of Preschoolers program.
Ride in our red convertible come spring and summer down those long, lazy country back roads.
Write, write, write! Whatever I choose to write. Whatever I want to write. Simply because I want to write. Not because I’m looking to make a name for myself as a writer, or get rich as a writer, or whatever. I love words and writing them down. And I love telling stories.
And whatever I’m doing I want to do it all giving the credit and glory to God.
There you have it—the name behind this site is a short summation of my life from here until God calls me home. Nothing more, nothing less than who I am and believe I should be.
Ever notice how memories slip into the activities of our everyday lives? Things we don’t think of until something or someone triggers that long ago memory and it rushes to the forefront of our minds.
Several years ago while caring for my mother, near the end of her life, I wanted to help get her to eat. She’d suffered another of several congestive heart failure episodes, and the nurses encouraged some fruit. I brought bananas, something I knew she enjoyed.
Recently staff had begun mashing her food, so I mashed the bananas. Their aroma overwhelmed my senses. You know…that smell only a fresh banana has.
As I continued mashing, I remembered doing the same for my son when he was an infant. No doubt Mama had mashed bananas for him, and other grandchildren, and for her children.
My next thoughts moved to contemplate how the cycle of life catches up with us in the mundane. As my mind wandered back through generations, I imagined my grandmother engaged in the same activity, and her mother, and on and on.
Among my thoughts was the process of aging. As we age our bodies and our abilities revert to how we were as children. Unable to care for ourselves. Unable to read or write. Even in our eating things change.