In Judith Viorst’s book, How Did I get to be Forty & Other Atrocities she has a poem entitled, Self-Improvement Program.
In these lines Judith Viorst recites all the new activities she has taken on in an effort to become successful—needlework, guitar lessons, advanced Chinese cooking, primal scream therapy—and dozens of other things.
And then with a sigh she concludes,
“And I am working all day and I am working all night
to be good looking,
healthy and wise and adored
and a marvellous hostess
fantastic in bed,
and then she cries out,
‘Won’t someone please stop me?’”
It is good to take time to slow down, stop and be still.
This does not happen immediately especially if we have been running at a great pace.
This does not happen easily as society often grades us on the basis of what we do, how much we achieve and according to key performance indicators.
Stillness is valuable for the rest and freedom it offers but also for the time and space it creates to gain a new perspective on our cluttered lives and drivenness.
Reflecting on the title of Judith Viorst’s poem, improvement is ultimately not achieved by oneself but by drawing on the resources of God and of others.
Source of the poem:
Judith Viorst, How Did I get to be Forty & Other Atrocities (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973), 40.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: ‘Won’t someone please stop me?’
A modification of this article has been posted as a reflection on the first day of Ramadan at Experiencing the Emirates.