Savour the nuggets of joy that add up to a good life
"It is five days, nine hours and four minutes to the end of my Leaving Cert and the start of my summer holidays."
So my student daughter told me as she lifted a pale face from her books to glance at the stopwatch on her phone counting down the time to the end of this nightmare. Over the last few months I've been somewhat perplexed by people's reaction when they hear I have child doing the Leaving. Many would grab my arm, look into my eyes and say: "Oh my God, you have a Leaving Cert in the house; how is she, and how are you?"
I was beginning to get worried that I should be more worried and that perhaps my young student should be equally bothered. Was there something we were doing right or wrong in the face of this infernal life-defining test?
I must admit that in the last few weeks, as the time for the starting pistol approached, vulnerability and fragility wore a path between 'the room', the stairs and the kitchen while the churning nervous stomach could only be calmed with pounds of chocolate and jellies.
It is an awful time, the sheer terror of the experience is almost as mind altering as a dose of LSD, not that I would know anything about that.
While it is hard to blame Leaving Cert students for hoping time will pass swiftly, in general the practice of wishing time away is one of life's great pities.
In my current trade, where the deadline is the absolute lord and master, wishing tomorrow would come is an occupational hazard; 'life will be great once this edition is put to bed'. Likewise for farmers - 'if only I can get the silage out of the way, I can relax', ' I can't wait for the harvest to be over and everything will be fine'.
But is it ever fine? Do we ever relax, isn't there always something else? The buzz word these days is mindfulness, living in the moment, making the most of right now.