Day 155. Slow Down

Why are we so driven? Why are we in such a hurry to get a promotion? A bigger office? The corner office? Before we even know how to do the job. Why is it, we’re no sooner back from one holiday, we’reroses already booking the next? Before we’re even over the jet lag.

Why aren’t we ever satisfied? Content, to rest a while.

Why is it, after playing a great game of golf on Saturday, we hit buckets and buckets and buckets of balls, so we can play a better game on Sunday? Without taking a minute to enjoy the round we had. Why are we so anxious to get to the top of the mountain, we don’t even notice the beautiful scenery along the way.

It reminds me of those tours. You know the ones. See 14 cities in 10 days. The minute your plane lands, you get herded into a bus, along with 40 other tourists, with name tags, baseball caps and cameras slung around their necks. You whiz by all the standard tourist attractions, with barely enough time to point and click, through the window. It’s just one, constant blur.

No time for any exploring. No time to mingle with locals. The only time you get out of the bus, is when it’s time to go to bed.

Or when a stop for gas leaves you time to either stretch your legs for a minute, or have a quick bio break. Thank God, because one more cobblestone street and your bladder would surely explode.

But theoretically, when you’d come home, you’d be able to impress your friends as you ticked off, on your fingers, all the places you’d ‘seen’. Even though you would have ‘seen’ more if you’d stayed home and read a Frommer’s guide book. Or watched the National Geographic Channel.

We’re rushing our lives away. We’re speed living. We’re in constant motion. We’re in fast forward.

Hell! What fun is that? When are we going to figure out, it’s not about how much you can cram into a lifetime. It’s about how we enjoyed it. Whether or not we took the time to savour each experience. Each moment.

We don’t guzzle wine. Why are we ‘guzzling’ when it comes to our lives?

Yesterday I was reading a blog. It’s written by a young woman. A thrill seeker. A true adventurer. She has done things I wouldn’t have the courage to even think about, let alone try. She lives for these experiences. And she participates with gusto.

But hers is an unquenchable thirst.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been following her blog. It’s several months, at least. Maybe as much as five or six. And she’s been on the go for most of it. Traveling, and trying everything from swimming with sharks to flying an airplane. And anything and everything else you can, and can’t, imagine. In her latest post she talked about how all the ‘burning of candles on both ends’ had finally worn her down. But not enough to stop her from another escapade. Another ‘fix’.

Knowing she wasn’t feeling well, she went for it anyway. Except she never got to finish it. She was just too sick. “So what was the point?” I asked myself.

But she’s good with it. No recriminations. Says she’d do the same thing all over again.

Okay. It’s her life. Her choice. But reading her story made me think. About myself. The life I’ve lived. The life still to come. The choices I’ve made. My ‘style’ of living. My philosophy. And what I observe around me.

And I think we need to lighten up on the gas pedal. We should hit the ‘pause’ button more often than we do. We should slow down, long enough to enjoy where we’ve been, where we are, and anticipate, with pleasure, where we’re going. I know what I’m about to say is a cliche, but it’s true; and I can’t think of a better way of expressing the thought, so forgive me.

Life isn’t just about the destination. It’s also about the journey. Relish both. Stop, for a moment, and smell the roses.

25 thoughts on “Day 155. Slow Down

  1. I think our society has become one of instant gratification and once we accomplish one thing we “need” to do another. Maybe we are bored and need mental and physical stimulation. Maybe people fear getting old and not being able to do things. I for one have always taken it slow, I want to capture all the moments of my kids and my husband’s time together and I also don’t want to wear my body out before it’s time, that will come soon enough on it’s own.
    As always-fantastic and rewarding reading Fransi.

    • Thank you. I think you’ve hit on something. Maybe our need for ‘instant gratification’ is what’s driving us. And we’ve become so used to multi-tasking, maybe taking life at a normal pace is boring. It’s a shame, though. Because I think we miss out on a lot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s always interesting to hear how others feel.

  2. Once again, you’re correct. The reason I decided to start gardening last year was to slow things down. I can’t really make plants grow faster or do what I want. There are too many variables (weather, water, predators, George) that are out of my control. And so, I must slow down. Focus on nothing but pulling weeds, hand picking each lettuce leaf, ,sprinkling a few seeds and silently mouthing “grow!”. My job isn’t like that and it’s a great mind/energy shift that I desperately needed.

    • It’s a great idea! Life does move at warp speed and we all need something that forces us to slow down. Gardening is the perfect solution. Plus you get the ‘rush’ out of seeing things grow and flourish — because of you.

  3. After 40+ years of rush here rush there do someone elses bidding 5/7 I was told retirement will be a real shock to the system – but hey acclimatising only took a whole 24hrs – get up, leisurely breakfast, constitutional with wife & dog regardless of weather potter around house, having time to ones self to read, write, compose great exercise to shake up the saw dust – but then again it does not suit everyone bue sure is worth a try.
    Great post as usual, must figure out how to award a blog award, do I have name it myself or is there a section I should visit? I guess you are the person most qualified to ask on this subject Fransi.

    • HaHa. Can’t help you there. I’ve never initiated an award. I’ve only ‘shared the wealth’ when I’ve received one, as we are supposed to do. Sounds like you’re really enjoying retirement, as well you should. And it sounds like you keep very busy, which is the key I think. Freelance work is almost as good. I have plenty of time to take my time and enjoy life. It’s a win-win.

  4. Hi Fransi, I agree with you completely! As a reformed Type A personality, I am doing this so much more myself — appreciating the journey, that is, rather than rushing off to the next thing. I’m also trying to teach my children to live their lives in this way, but I am finding that even in elementary school they are already being programmed to live a fast-paced never-satisfied kind of life. Thank you for making me feel as though I’m not alone in seeing the value of slowing down. πŸ™‚

    • You’re right. I’ve never thought about it from kids’ perspective before. But when I think about it, some kids don’t have 5 minutes to think about anything. They go to school and then have a myriad of activities every day after school. They play hockey and soccer and basketball. They skate and swim and have piano and drama and the school or church choir and that’s just for starters. There’s science club and this club and that club. Then they have homework to do. And then they have to go to bed. What a shame. It’s just one big rush, even for children.

  5. Well said! I just worry about those that are at the other extreme as well. Those who take life slow, a little too slowly that they begin to grow moss on their feet. They think they are smelling the roses but don’t realize the roses have died while they stood there. I hope, when I am on my death bed (if I get a chance to reflect) that I can say I had a little of both. Adventure and ease.

    • Which brings us to a whole other subject. Balance. Which is what I think is the ideal. Harder to achieve than we think, though. But what we should all strive for.

  6. Pingback: Day 157. Just Right | Three Hundred Sixty-Five

  7. Are you talking about Lesley’s blog? I read it the other day too πŸ™‚

    I definitely think it’s still good to strive for bigger and better things. I think that want/need to achieve more is not a bad thing but I do agree with the concept of slowing down. It’s something I’m still trying to learn as I struggle with it myself. I was so proud of myself this holiday season since I just stayed home and spent time with family and friends instead of booking back-to-back trips. I’m definitely trying to enjoy what I have and experience as it comes more instead of not appreciating what I currently have.

    • Yeah :). Didn’t mention the name of it because I didn’t want her to think I was making her a bad example or anything. Which I wasn’t, but you never know how people ‘take’ things. I agree with you. I also think we should never stop striving. But sometimes we get so caught up in our desire/need to want everything, to go everywhere, to experience it all that we don’t really pause long enough to enjoy it. Or even acknowledge the sugnifigance of what we’ve done. It’s just another something to tick off a list. It becomes a contest, not a life.

      • Oops! Sorry!!

        I don’t think you’re doing that at all. I think she knows that she needs to listen to her body more and slow down a bit but it’s in her nature to want to strive to do more. That’s true about how people take things but she seems like a level-headed logical person πŸ™‚

        I completely agree. I think that’s why I personally don’t have a bucket list. I think that’s awesome that people have them but lists just make me antsy. To me it’s not fun, it’s a chore. I HAVE to complete it. Versus me writing it down randomly and then spontaneously planning a trip because I wanted to, not because I wanted another check mark. I know how competitive I can be, even with myself, that’s why I hold back from those things πŸ™‚

      • No worries. Again I completely agree with you. The list thing makes me antsy to. It does make it seem like a chore or an obligation. I just want to have fun. To do things. To have interesting experiences. And I try to make them happen.

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