Maybe it’s because I get to see the sunrise in the morning now. Maybe the fact that I have more control over my days has something to do with it. I’ve always been grateful for so many good fortunes in my life, but lately that gratitude can bring me to tears. Look away – I’m a mess!
You know how a song can bring on such emotion? Or a smell. If I catch a whiff of burning leaves, I’m back in high school and attending Junior Farmer dances and bush parties, filled with the giddy anticipation only teenagers experience.
Songs of the 1970s and 1980s make up most of my most-powerful playlist. You never forget the music that came out during your formative years. Living in such close proximity to Michigan, we pick up a ton of radio stations. AM stations abound and FMs run the gamut. I’m hearing a lot of music no one else plays anymore. It’s the 70s stuff that’s my go-to when I remember simpler times. Just the opening bars of one of those songs puts me right back into childhood: Running across the lawn in Grimsby the summer my Mom bought me the interchangeable red and blue short-sets. I don’t think I wore anything else that summer than a combination of those four pieces. If they were all in the wash, I waited for them. We were out until the streetlights came on. Other Moms called our Mom to see if we could stay for dinner. We followed rules and were polite. We swam like fishes and ended our summers bronzed and fit. And Mac Davis was a superstar.
Back in the mid-70s, Stop and Smell the Roses was a middle-of-the-road pop song with a catchy chorus. Now it’s a life goal.
Hey Mister, where you going in such a hurry
Don’t you think it’s time you realized
There’s a whole lot more to life than work and worry
The sweetest things in life are free
And they’re right before your eyes.
Davis wrote the tune after inspiration from The Tonight Show bandleader and trumpet master Doc Severinson, who gave Davis the idea from a phrase he had heard from a physician. In the cut-throat world of music, Davis could have kept the song credits for himself but he wasn’t – and apparently isn’t – that kind of guy.
I’m not about to become a “shiftless layabout” as my husband likes to call me, jokingly, comparing this way of life to my previous one. I work. But I also choose to do that work for a couple of hours and then go for a walk before getting back to it. Or slowly make a nice dinner from scratch. Or scratch the cat’s belly until she falls asleep. I don’t keep 9 to 5 hours but I also don’t have children to chase around. I chose to get off the corporate merry-go-round, at least for now, in favour of self-employment and we made several sacrifices so that could happen. Gratitude is my watchword.
It’s a different phase of life. There comes a time, and my time has come. I’m getting lots of advice. “Move back to London!” “Become a public speaker!” “Write more books!” “Keep dying your hair!!” It’s easier to filter the messages right now. And hey, will you look at that beautiful sunrise?