And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling "this is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!"
And each day, it's up to you to yak your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what's important."
- Iain Thomas
There are many motivational and inspirational sentiments (words) that encourage us to live every day 'like it was your last'. To squeeze every bit out. That life is short so play hard. Or even (as preeched by yours truly) to embrace the good stuff. All of which have influenced me at some point & I largely agree with them.
Yet, I think underlying these particular quotes there is a sense that time is running out. That you need to hurry up and get on board with the squeezing. Once I was on the other side of a cancer diagnosis, my internal voice of motivation increased to a shout. A mantra was born. I started a blog with the theme of embracing the good stuff.
Sure time is finite, it just is. But, you have to admit, that rushing through it, only serves to speed it up. To take you away from being mindfully in the present moment. To check a list of all that you have accomplished or experienced instead of thoroughly enjoying & savoring every bit of it.
After a summer spent at pace, travelling, beaching, yoga'ing, working, socializing, roof toping, basically doing a hell of a lot of 'ing, I got sick. Really sick. With strep throat. It was fast and furious but it was truly tough although short. While I was ill I had a realization. I've been doing too much, too fast. Not getting enough sleep. Following my own 'embrace the good stuff' advice but to my own detriment. I made myself sick.
Do you ever find yourself so busy trying to have an amazing life that you get in your own way? Do you sacrifice sleep or rest because you don't want to miss out on something good? We all have FOMO to a degree, but are you somebody that takes it to an extreme level?
If you are you're not alone. I'm in the club too. Killing myself with good times. This is our wake up call. Truth is, it doesn't require taking every single opportunity that comes your way to have a good or happy life. In fact, slowing down and thoroughly enjoying the experiences you choose is highly likely more rewarding.
I'm a rusher. I eat fast. I drink fast. I walk fast. I even do yoga fast. This behaviour is so ingrained in my psyche I don't expect it's a switch I can fick onto a different setting. But, this awareness that snuck up on me over the past week is at least interesting - at best, it's life changing. I want it to be the later.
Life is short, but it is also sweet. Instead of rushing through or even ahead of it, let's join together, take a deep breath and slow down. Say no sometimes. Prioritize sleep. Think about self care more often. Be fully present. Experiment with a change of pace. Go on, I dare US.
Starting today, choose one thing to take more slowly, to notice and be present for. It could be something small like washing your hands thoroughly every time you're in the bathroom. Or brushing your teeth for three full minutes. If you are feeling particularly brave, spend your commute in a slow state of curiosity - take your earphones out, don't look at your phone, pay attention. Challenge yourself. It's high time we stopped and smelled the flowers along the way.
As the Simon and Garfunkel tune goes - slow down, you move too fast, you've got to make the moment last.
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