I've Got Issues...And Peace


Boulder, Colorado,
October 22
Family, marital, and individual psychotherapist. Mother to four who no longer need my services but still enjoy my love as I do theirs. I specialize in stepfamily dynamics and difficult transitions. I try to write from the heart with a sense of vulnerability, humor and a frank look at myself. Art shown: "Four Pots" by Lindsey Leavell


JUNE 14, 2011 12:58PM

What's The Rush?

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What’s the rush?  Why does everyone seem to be in such a hurry?   I’m getting to the point when I have a conversation with an actual person (as opposed to hearing from them via text or email) where I feel like I better spill out whatever it is that needs to be said quickly or I will lose the attention of the receiver.

I’ve learned to spit out my words in rapid order. And the words better make perfect sense because whomever I’m talking to doesn’t have a lot of capacity for listening.  They have places to go and people to see.  They have Twitters to twitter and who knows what they may be missing on Facebook. 

Most of the people in my life are very important people because they insist on taking their cell phones with them everywhere.  The simple mountain hike gets interrupted by the irritating vibration of a cell phone and the important people I’m with are scrambling to find their “can’t live without” device because surely it is a phone call that cannot be missed.

My adult children are the most impatient with me.  This is not a good sign.  This could potentially mean that anything and everything that comes out of my mouth is an irritant to them.  Wasn’t that supposed to be a phase that occurred only when they were teenagers?  Wasn’t I supposed to be obnoxious and irritating only then? 

They will come over to visit and I find myself being careful what I talk about.  Mainly I’ve learned to not talk about myself.  My kids aren’t that interested in me.  I mean they love me, they want me to have a rich and full life, but they don’t exactly want to know the details of what that means.

They just really want me to always be there.  That’s good enough for them.

Sometimes, my girlfriends also don’t seem to have much patience for me.  Sometimes I call them and as soon as they answer the phone they say, “I can’t talk right now!”  I find myself apologizing to them for my poor timing.  Why?  Why do I say I’m sorry for something I had no responsibility for?  People do that you know.  Especially women.  Women will apologize for breathing if you let them.

We go out to dinner with our friends.  Most of them have ADD/obsessive compulsive disorder with a splash of claustrophobia on top.  As soon as dinner is done, and I mean as soon as dinner is done, they want the check.  They need to get up, stretch, walk and do anything rather than linger.

What ever happened to lingering?  When was the last time you had a good linger?  Ah, the concept of lingering is so wonderful, so sumptuous, and perhaps considered too luxuriant to indulge in.  We’ve gotten so busy, so hurried, so rushed.  So many of us really do act as if there is going to be no tomorrow.

Lingering is a lost art.  To linger is to be reluctant to leave the company you are with.   To linger means you want to soak up every minute and slow everything down to a halt.  It means that you actually become present in that slow quiet lingering moment.

This weekend, in the early morning when everything looks newborn, I lay down in the grass and did something I haven’t done for a long time.  I stretched my body into a comfortable position and looked at the soft morning clouds as they slowly made their way across the awakening sky. 

I took deep breaths and was grateful for every one of them.  I pushed away the habitual urge to get up and “do”.  I had to remind myself that my value is not in what I do but in who I am.  So I stayed and I soaked in and remembered what it was like to be a child with nothing but time on my hands and woods to explore.  I was a very good lingerer as a child.

Oh and when you linger with the one you love…. ah, all kinds of good juicy melted butter stuff can happen.

Linger today, if only for a couple of moments.   You might be surprised what you can learn from absolutely nothing.

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Good points and even better advice.
I'm sorry, I just don't have the time to read your post.
Nice lesson, or I should say reminder Mary. Knowing your place there in Colorado, I got a strong image of you lingering in the morning. What a place for a nice for a slow and easy cloud watching!
My adult children are the most impatient with me

Oh join the club.. I am supposed to be pretty annoying.:)
rated with hugs
I hear you. A surgeon once took a call on his iPhone while he was removing my appendix.
I tell people all the time, "Slow down. Accidents happen when you rush." And they do. As we become more technological, I think many lives become more impotent and vacuous. Rushing is a false concept that allows people to think their is something important in their lives. If they had to stop and actually linger, they would come face to face with themselves and a whole lot of meaningless--so let's all pretend--and rush . . .

Great post. Hope it makes EP and cover.
"their" should be "'there' is something" and 'meaningless' should be 'meaninglessness.' See, this is what happens when one rushes . . .
I so agree. I love to linger and converse after dinner but you're right, it does seem like no one can do that anymore.
i like to linger obsessively, then i obsess about it and linger through the obsessing.
What a timely reminder, Mary.

Rushing was a phase of my life which I couldn't avoid when I raised my children, worked full time and kept a home - before the i-phones and cell phones. Now I that own neither and I'm retired from my full time work, lingering is my favorite pastime. I feel like a newly born with the appreciation gained by my years to rediscover life at my own leisure - on my own terms.
I love this concept and I think I will take your advice (though I have had a lot of time on my hands lately to take it slow) A friend sent me something recently on "Listening" that I may post soon.
I forgot just how wonderful lingering could be.
rated with love
One of the reasons my sweetie and I get along well as that we both equally love to lounge and linger. Just this sunday, we made a huge breakfast, watched some travel shows while eating for about an hour, then lay in bed and read a few more hours. Then I had a very long (3 hour) phonecall with my one friend I can talk to on the phone. We covered everything I can't talk to others about- politics, religion, work, gardening, knitting, objectivist philosophy vs fundamentalism- because neither of us was in a hurry. I am only in a hurry to finish the work week, cannot believe it is only tuesday today.
I love lingering especially after a good meal in someones company I like. I will linger today just for you!
I know! It is hard and annoying for me too. You know, I always wondered if those who don't have time to listen, don't have much to say either. As always I will pin that on our superficial's easy. This is a wonderful piece. R
Neil: I think the reason smoking is the HARDEST thing to quit (much harder than heroin, really) is because there are so many psychological associations with smoking and lingering is one of them. I'm glad you quit but let's figure out a way to have modern life not mean "rushed". Thanks for reading.

Sarah: Thank you! And thanks for your kind comment.

Spumey: Darn it all! I really wanted to read what you had to say about the post, but you apparently have a life!

trig: Hi trig! Well, yes, it's kind of easy to linger where I complaints there! Loved lingering with you and your son 3 years ago. :)

Linda: Yes, you get it! These adult children need to make better time for their mothers. Period. And I hope you feel better. I really hate that you are in so much pain. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. You know it's more than appreciated.

john: Oh come on! Do you know how easy it is to remove an appendix???

From the Midwest: Loved your comment! And I was so rushed, I thought you were telling me I had misspelled the "their" and the "meaningless" and was searching my post high and low for them! I hate it when I'm such a hypocrite (this seems to be part of the human condition). But of course I agree with your word "vacuous" because it's a fantastic word to describe what is happening to all of us. We're bigger than this. My adult children are already talking about how their children will be allowed carte blanche access to all this technology. I hope they follow through. Thanks again!

Major: I know! Lingering after dinner is one of my favorite past times, and unfortunately, it's become a past time. Thank you for your comment.

Chuck: Only you could obsess about lingering...and I say that in the best of ways.

Fusun: Wise woman!!!!!!! Thank you.

trilogy: Yes, unfortunately you probably have a little more time to linger but lingering is best experienced when it is a choice and is optional! Ah....the lost art of listening. Something we could all use work and advice on. Looking forward to your post! Let me know when it's up. And thank you.

Romantic: Really? It would be hard for me to imagine you not lingering. You are the one that reminds me of what is good and right and worthy of doing. So I'm happy to hear that you will bring lingering back into your life.

Oryoki: Even better to have a partner in lingering! I resonate. My husband and I can do some major major lingering...some time all day long. One weekend we have friends staying from out of town. I swear we lingered for a total of about 15 hours that weekend in the tree house and I remember the time fondly. Thank you for reading and your good comment.

Lunchlady: Oh another good linger. Yes, please linger for me today as I'm about to go back to work until 9 tonight. There's no more lingering time for me today. Thanks for reading!
Thoth: Hi Thoth! I will get to your American Dream piece...but as I just said, no more lingering time for me. Thank you for reading and commenting...and understanding. I think you're right about your theory, and I also think that I want to be mindful and self-aware because I'm pretty sure I've done the same thing to others! Grrr...
Cell phones have taken over the world. Just five minutes ago I activated one for my eight year-old daughter against my better judgement. It's one of those limited, pay as you go deals and my husband thought it was a good idea since she will be out of town with relatives for four weeks. The last thing I wanted for her was to be burdened by such a thing at her age, but the family wore me down and made me feel like an old fuddy duddy for not being on board.

Indeed, lingering is a lost art, but I happen to be great at it. In fact you could say I spend most of my time lingering and little time in a hurry about anything. This has it's drawbacks too, but I'd rather be this way than the other.
Great essay. Rushing comes from the myth that success equals being fully integrated into the Machine. When I realized that the Machine had no interest in my participation one way or the other, that I would simply be ground down until I was worn out and then discarded, I began to come increasingly detached from the cogs and the wheels and the gears. I didn't die. Instead, I began to find time to explore inner meanings. I believe that creativity emerges only after we stop running, living, chasing, responding to the demands of others, always others, and begin to listen instead, to the soul.
"Lingering is a lost art." All this resonates with me, Mary. I am SO in your camp! Would linger with you anytime :)
We live in Louisiana -- that's what we *do* around here, linger and ponder and visit.
Yum. Loved this post. I am restless but I love to sit around and have conversation with people who are physically present. I love a good story. I love to see expression on people's faces. There's no substitute for the connection you get in person.
Lingering is one of the keys to a quality life. Thanks for reminding us.
Think my favorite memories of Italy are those long languid dinners when I had to say "Il conto por favore" (the check please) instead of feeling rushed to vacate my 7pm table for the 7:45 reservation.
Always an enjoyable read, Mary. Love lines like " in the early morning when everything looks newborn"
aah, mary t., one of the keys to happiness is lingering. i linger well, have an advanced degree in it. you wrote about it better than i do it, and that's saying a lot. ;)
Wow...MaryTKelly and Lea Lane...two of my favorite lingerers...and together...lingering and talking.

I gotta admit...I ain't a lingerer. I am a talker, but I know when I've met my match...and you two guys are both more than my match.

Lea, Mary & I met in a Chinese Place near Penn Station. Mary, Lea and I met on the Frying Pan.

Talk about talking and lingering!

I used to linger on the phone before call amble and dawdle is to relax......let's get to it.

A 'real' lingerer doesn't even consider the 'value' of lingering. Neither does one 'make time' for lingering. It is just part of one's life. One is infused with it. It is delicious!

Unfortunately too many people confuse lingering with malingering. It's the times we live in. Everything MUST be accomplished yesterday.

It's too bad that we North Americans are so smug about ourselves and our society; we could profit greatly by taking a few lessons from our South American cousins on the value of "mañana." AND "siesta"!!!

I love to linger and I know what you mean. A friend will call me and then cut me off to run somewhere else or answer another call. It borders on insult.
Great topic!
I work in New York City. Lingering is against the law. But I am willing to be a scofflaw.
Professional lingerer here and proud of it!:)
I think lingering is why I like having dinner with friends more than any other activity. We are great after-dinner lingerers. With wine.
I appreciate the things you talk about. It seems that so many times we are inside conversations where we are all trying to run some sort of race. We are all so afraid of boring the other person, racing on with our dialogue (monologue actually), being aware of the weightiness of the listener's eyelids. I find more and more I am avoiding these conversations, and when I am talking, and the listener's is looking over my shoulder at someone or something else, I simply stop...until they notice.

Young adults...this IS a problem some of the time. They want information, but without the background, or reasons why the information is significant...I think we were that way...weren't we?
Lingering is good for the soul, and most folks have not cultivated a capacity for it. It is odd that some people have to be in a constant state of desiring to be somewhere else...anywhere but in the present.
Great post Mare..Thanks!
Once I saw a trailer park named "Linger Longer" and thought that was a good name.
I would be honored to linger longer with you Mary, any time, any place.
I linger. But then I feel so damn guilty.
Ummm...what did you say? I was on the other line and updating my FB account while texting my kids...Oh! Gotta go! The other line is ringing!
I couldn't agree more! When I read Cathy's comment, above mine, I thought my oldest sister had posted it! When we all retire, if we do, will we take the time to linger? I sure hope so!
I can speak as a newlywed now...we definitely linger! It is quite surprising what you learn while lingering!

I am way too busy to comment now. Later... R Love you! hee hee
Excellent! You make a forceful case for the the linger, the gratifying pause, the caesura in the surge of action--the place where wonder often begins. Being as well as doing. The nonchalant stroll rather than the briskly-paced march to a destination. It seems to me the places for lingering are disappearing. One of my favorite lingering places is the capacious front porch, and most of the new homes I've seen lately don't have one. Even mental lingering becomes difficult amid the continual slipstream of information.

I lingered over your bracing polemic for lingering.
You've got to learn to use bullet points--favorite narrative technique of fast-paced business types.
I think you're right that this happens a lot, but I think a lot of it is that we're so assaulted by so many things in the modern world that attending to all the things we care about is just hard to make fit into the day.

It's sort of a variation on or extension of the information explosion. It's what they mean when they say people “want it all.” We're victims of our own success. We used to think having it all was so out of reach there was no point in trying, so we were more calm about not getting there. But the modern world gives at least the illusion that more is in reach, so people try harder. But I'm not sure it works.
That cellphone addiction has got to be really annoying. I've lucked out in having friends who mute it when we're out. It would bug me a lot too if I were out with folks who seem to have one eye on the clock. Can't blame you a bit for these objections to modern life.
I am reminded of Whitman who invites us to loaf and invite our souls. You can linger with us anytime.
Oh I like this post and all that is says and all the things it made me imagine.
Mary, I always enjoy your posts - through sometimes they require some digesting! Thank you! E
Lingering is a lost art, you're right!! Here in South Africa "Tea" is still practiced in the afternoon -- and lingering is encouraged. LOVE the post... and those adult children?? DON'T get me started!!!
That's what I always say, too. Let's loaf and invite our souls.