Time chasing, slow living, memory carving, to each his own.
During my childhood both my parents worked full time, by shifts. I used to attend private schools until I was twelve, and I would leave home at 7 a.m. and only go back by 9 or 10 p.m., when one or both of my parents came back from work. It wasn't fun. It wasn't good. Did I resent them? I dunno, I never had much of a relation with either of them, perhaps because I only ever saw them on weekends and they would be far too busy with housechores for us to hold a conversation, or for them to even play with me. It was as it was, and most families were like that, and probably still are.
I spent most of my youth saying I didn't want to have kids, as I could not afford to give them the kind of life I wanted them to have. See, I wasn't talking about money, though most people thought I was. I was always greeted with reactions and comments that I would change my mind as I got older, and that I must then strive to get a well paid job so I could give my children the life I thought they deserved. I would merely shrug, after some time, as people seemed not to understand what I was talking about. I was refering to time and attention, they could only think of money.
Because, you see, I was never rich, growing up. We certainly did not have a lot of money. On our neighbourhood we were always the last family to have certain things: the coloured tv set, the new car, the vcr, the tape recorder, the dream vacation. My parents both worked long hours, seemingly in my mind for nothing, because by the end of the day they had next to nothing to show for their hard work. I couldn't afford to buy a book whenever I wanted to and I was only allowed a pair of shoes per season. So to my puerile head it made no sense that they would spend so much time away from me and my sister, never having time to really be with us in order to work so hard and so many hours, and having nothing to show for it. I can count by my hands the times we went away on holidays as a family. There just wasn't enough to go every year. But was it money that we did not have enough of? Nowadays, as a grown woman, I wonder. And whenever I talk to my sister about it, she wonders too.
But the truth is, that despite whatever real reason there was for things to be like they were inside my family life, my mind associated work - as in professional work of whatever kind - as something that would take up a huge place in anyone's life. Not from nine to five but from day to night, seven days a week, twenty foru hours days. I got tired just by thinking about it, and I believe that is why I mostly went for part time jobs, lowsy part time jobs, whenever I was job hunting. To me a part time job was something akin to eight hours work a day. So when I thought of having kids, I just couldn't see how to fit a child into a hectic schedule as the one my parents had. How was I ever going to spend time with my child? I didn't care much for making money, lots of it, I didn't care much for the idea of showering my child with the best and most expensive stuff money could buy, I cared only with being there for that child. And if it was to raise my kid the way my parents had chosen to raise me, I wasn't gonna do it. My child deserved better.
Then one day I changed my mind, mostly because we were in a good place financially, we both had jobs that although didn't make us filthy rich, at least payed enough for us to lead an honest, good life, I was working six to seven hours days, and we felt we could afford to raise a kid as we saw fit, was we both wanted to. So we went for it, and I go pregnant. Suffice to say that tax rates went sky high for people buying their homes, suffice to say I lost my job as soon as I got pregnant, suffice to say that life got so hard we lost all our savings in the first few years of our son's life. But through the midst of it all, I was raising him just the way I wanted to, just how I felt he deserved. I was there. I stayed home with him for a whole year, after he was born. I picked him up from school at half past three pm everyday. I played with him, took him to the park, sang songs together, went to the public library to play games and read stories. I don't remember my parents ever doing these things with us. I didn't want my son to feel the same when he grew up, so I did things differently. Maybe they were right and I am wrong, only time will tell.
But I do remember when my parents got a yogurt maker. I remember the ritual of making those yogurts at night, after dinner, after my mother had done the dishes, and I stood there, wide eyed and amazed at it all, with her mixing up the ingredients and pouring them into every glass pot, very carefully, adding flavours, drizzle of this, spoonful of that. I remember being very eager for the next day to arrive so I could have a yogurt for my afternoon snack, and oh how they tasted good, how they tasted great, so creamy and sweet, but tart at the same time, thick and moist and milky and wonderful. I remember that very well, and it is something I have wanted my son to experience. Now that he has evolved from the plain, natural yogurt into a more refined taste, we have started playing along with jams and coulis on our yogurts. And a handful of cherries going overripe was the best excuse for us to come up with these cherry jammy yogurts.
Time. The essence of time. What it all means. When we look around, suddenly, Time has passed and moved on, and we have lost this or that moment. When we look around, Time has passed us by, while we were wasting time chasing Time. We live pressed for time, and we chase around trying to catch up with it all the time. We should all live slower lives, at slower speeds. The sun will still rise and set tomorrow, but we may not be there to see it. Think about it. We should all stop and look around and savour time. Making homemade yogurts is time consuming, yes. Just as homemade bread, and homemade jams and compotes. It is so much quicker to pop into the store and buy ready made, innit? Do think about it: the time you spend inside your car or a public transportation to get you to the store; the time you spend searching alley after alley for the stuff you want, pushing your cart ahead of you, trying to negotiate that small space in between two carts, the store full of people running around from one counter to the other, buying, shopping, grabbing; the time you spend locked in a line of people in order to pay for those items you chose to buy; the time you spend on the journey back home. Does making a batch of homemade yogurt take more time than buying a pack of them? I dunno.
Maybe the world needs to change, maybe people need to change, minds need to change. Or maybe not and I am just one in a million. But I do believe I will go on like this, trying to live on a slower pace, and trying to buy less and make more. You can find a base recipe for homemade yogurts right here. You can make a simple cherry coulis just by pitting a handful of them and letting them simmer in two tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of water. You can do that by yourself, or with your kids, your spouse, a friend, a sibling. You can carve memories out of those moments, pieces of ife that will bring smiles to the faces of those who shared those moments with you, like warm blankets over a cold body on a snowy afternoon. Or you can go ahead and buy yogurts at the store, whatever tickles your fancy. Who's to say a trip to the spuermarket cannot be something that will translate into a memory filled with love and warmth in the days to come? As long as you're living by your own set of rules, those that make you happy, who's to say you're wrong? (well, now, don't go breaking the law and all, you know what I mean, right?) To each his own.