The Ten Year Rule

Some things take time, even if they shouldn’t.

The passage of minutes, hours and, all too often, years, has permitted me to discover that, more than

making the “choices” that are supposed to define our lives,

taking chances, as if someone just put danger in front of us and dared us to ignore it

doing the “hard work” claimed by those who flaunt success,

finding a need and filling it,

the acquisition of what other people believe to be an education;

praying, begging, or blowing out candles on birthday cakes in one breath so that a wish just may come true because, if you leave one candle lit, whoever grants wishes thinks you’re unworthy,

reading the instruction manual before use,

finding the right ingredients and doing as little as possible to them in order to honor their origin and the integrity of their producer,

mowing your lawn regularly and clearing snow from the sidewalk as soon as it stops falling, or, in my case, paying someone to do it because once you have a heart attack people assume that performing essential tasks that define suburban masculinity will kill you,

spending the extra bucks to have the dealer do things to your car that you’re not sure should be done, and maybe weren’t done, even if the guy wearing the tie offers to show you the old parts,

buying lemonade from the kid with the stand, even though you won’t drink it–

all this may change the world, make a difference, save you from a breakdown, make your parents happy and look good on your resume


after ten years, you notice that people in your neighborhood say hello to you and talk about the weather, or anything that doesn’t really matter in the long run.

Such inconsequential activity that you thought was boring, conformist or a waste of time when you were younger, becomes

pleasant, oddly affecting. What doesn’t matter, begins to matter, in a way so small that you wouldn’t notice until

You realize, suddenly and quietly, that

You belong.



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