One of the more often lobbed parenting clichés is “it goes by so fast” and, as 2018 races to a close, I could not agree more. I’ve also discovered that most of the common parenting phrases contain a nugget of truth, so, instead of my usual rebuttal and headstrong approach to life in which I believe I am all-knowing and absolutely right, I’m siding with this one. Yes, it goes by so fast. And here’s the thing: Time does not operate like it did before having a child. It morphs into something different and untamable. It’s often messy and doesn’t wait for you to have your first cup of coffee or check all the boxes off the to-do lists. It is here and now, and cares little for how you, as an adult, conditioned yourself and the way you set about going about your life (like no chatter before that first glorious cup of coffee).
I am guilty of trying to bully time and adamant that I can whip it into shape. I think that I’m a master at cramming it all in, perfecting the art of living in a rush. I convince myself that a stressful, jam-packed calendar is the benchmark of success, and that happiness will follow along, eventually. If I just race fast enough to solve one problem at work and then tackle another board meeting, I’ll make it. If I can agree to another project, cause, or pursuit, I can beat time. I can wield it to my own fashioning.
As if. My son and family say: You’re kidding yourself. Take. A. Breath. And, why do you care what anyone else thinks?
I have much more than I likely deserve to be thankful for. And in reflecting on the past year, there were many joyful and exciting moments. I live a life I didn’t think was possible. And I end the year with profound accomplishments including the fulfillment of a lifetime goal of getting my master’s degree in English, but also with an important lesson that I wish to carry into the new year.
I’ve never been good about resolutions, but here’s what I’m going to do, even before the dawn of 2019: I’m going to stop challenging time. I’m going to set aside my desire to race that clock, seeing how fast I can push, go, and push some more. It will not be easy, especially as someone who still harbors those ski-racing instincts to go as fast as possible. That’s fine for charging down the ski hill, but for everything else, it’s time to dial it back. Life with a toddler is fast, messy, and often punctuated by a temper tantrum or seven, but this is one aspect that I don’t want to rush. It happens fast enough all on its own.
From my family to yours: Happy holidays. May it be at the pace that you would like.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.