I am always in a hurry. Usually not in an I’m so busy I couldn’t possibly get everything done sort of way, but more like an anxious to get to the next thing and don’t know why sort of way.
There is no joy in that. I so rarely allow myself to enjoy the moment I’m in, because I’m always looking to the next thing. I posted about something similar here, but lately I’ve realized just how much this hurried mindset has infiltrated my daily life. I thought that maybe I was just anxious for the “big” things to arrive, but I notice it in my every day life more and more. When I’m hungry, I hurry to eat, but when I’m eating, I hurry to be finished. When I’m driving to yoga, I’m hurrying to get there on time, but when I’m in the class, I’m anxious for it to be over so I can get to the next thing on my agenda. And so on, and so forth.
I’ve found that I can ruin perfectly enjoyable activities (see above- two of my favorite things!) by putting unnecessary pressure on myself to hurry through them, thinking that life is an emergency and I’m on the clock.
Shauna Niequist writes about this beautifully in her new book Present Over Perfect, which I am reading with my friend Kate:
“Who wins, then? I handled it all! I showed them! But who is ‘them’? Who cares? Whose voice am I listening to? What am I trying to prove? What would happen, what would be lost, if I stopped, or if I slowed down to a pace that felt less like a high-speed chase all day, every day?”
Slow seems like a negative word to me. I don’t like slowness- not on the interstate, not when I’m making my coffee in the morning, not when I order something on Amazon, not when I’m making dinner, and certainly not when I think of my life in general. But I’m starting to wonder if maybe that’s where the good stuff is. If slowing down would help me notice more, and feel more, and appreciate more. If I slowed down enough to help someone instead of busying myself with my own needs, or if I slowed down enough to ask someone about their day and then actually listen to their response.
This idea of slowness is something I’m experimenting with, and something that does not come easily for me. Somewhere along the way I’ve come to believe that faster is better- more efficient, more valuable, more exciting. On a roller coaster, yes, but not when I want to cultivate deep friendships and explore new parts of the world and actually taste the food that I’m eating. So, here’s to slowness, and to taking the time to enjoy this beautiful life.
“We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You.” -Psalm 39:6-7