Between over and next

On the Fourth of July my husband and I were driving home to Santa Rosa from a four-day backpacking trip in the Yosemite Valley.

While Ron drove, I was busy in the passenger seat stewing in my anxiety about the fact that we would be getting home a lot later than we had planned and what that meant for everything else that had to happen after we got there–laundry, and packing lunches for kids, and getting ready for work the next day. And those thoughts were just a gateway into anxiety about the rest of the summer where two surgeries, a move, and another vacation awaited us. And then it would be the first week of school, and on and on it went.

My beloved on the other hand was having no such thoughts. He was listening to “wait wait…don’t tell me!”, an NPR quiz show. The guest was Norman Lear, a 93-year old television writer and producer. You may know him from All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude.

Just as I was tuning in, the host, Peter Sagal, asked Norman Lear if he had any tips for those of us who would like to arrive at 93 as spry and happy as he is, and this is what Mr. Lear said:

“What occurs to me first are two simple words…over and next…When something is over it is over and we are on to next and if there was a hammock in the middle between over and next that would be what is meant by living in the moment.” 

And just like that, I realized that our backpacking trip was over and what was next would come later. The bit in the middle was the right now; 5 hours of alone time with my sweet husband, drinking my Starbucks, and staring out the window where I could see firework displays for three different cities all simultaneously, in a country that is free.

“Between over and next” was first published on




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