My head is everywhere and anywhere but where it should be at any given point.
I like to blame genetics – we never actually listen to what other people are saying in my family. We simply wait to speak. I also blame modern society. Rapid advances in technology and the glorification of a “work hard, play hard” lifestyle don’t exactly promote the idea of “slow living,” even in the Midwest.
I walk fast, talk fast and think fast all the time. I think it’s finally starting to catch up with me.
My morning runs flash by in a stream of work to-do’s and personal problems mulling around in my pre-dawn brain. Unless I intentionally intervene and ask myself forcibly to get out of my head and into the actual world around me, I’ll miss it. Sometimes, this behavior goes unchecked for days, even weeks.
How many times have you asked yourself, “How can it be Monday again?!” It feels like the weeks fly by. I supposed that’s a good thing when everybody’s working for the weekend, but it’s jarring to realize life is leaving us in the dust.
Most of the time, I’m okay with the pace at which the minutes, hours and days flow by. It simply doesn’t phase me. That is, until I step outside of my normal routine and discover that time feels … different. Slower. Interactions are more deeply felt and meaningful. Memories are established and retained for the long haul.
When I return to normal life, I’m totally freaked out by the now apparent contrast of living intentionally versus unintentionally. How can one week in Belize feel so much longer and than one week at home?
We are only given a finite amount of time on this planet. Who knows where we go after, but nothing is guaranteed.
Say we get 100 years to live. It seems like a long time, right? Considering I’m 35 years old, that means I’m 1/3 of the way through my life. If you equate it to a workweek, I’m rounding out Tuesday and staring down Wednesday.
We all know how painfully long and involved Monday and Tuesday can be. But once you’re over the mid-week hump, Friday arrives before you’ve even had a chance to make weekend plans.
And that’s the best-case scenario. The cruel truth is no one knows how long we’ll actually get to be here. When you really sit down and think hard, isn’t it almost a miracle that we manage to keep ourselves alive from day-to-day?
Consider the situations we put ourselves in – like driving a 4,000-pound metal machine at 70 miles per hour next to people who are NOT paying attention to their sole responsibility, which is to NOT aim their death missile at you.
Elevators. Open water swimming. Balconies on high-rise buildings. They all threaten to abbreviate our 100 years.
So what can we do? Nothing. That’s the awful truth. A pessimistic viewpoint says we sit around watching TV and wait for the inevitable to happen. An optimistic viewpoint says we get busy appreciating our time, all the time. Not just on special occasions or trips. Not just two days of the week or two weeks of the year. Let’s start respecting time by giving our full attention to what’s in front of us.
Enough with multi-tasking. Death to divide and conquer! I’m going to start thinking more carefully, walking with purpose and speaking with intention. I will clear the other thoughts from my messy head and start listening to what you’re actually saying. I won’t worry about work when I’m not at work. When I’m running, I will think about running and how it feels and why I do it, which is to get outside, breath deeply and challenge my body.
I will work at work, but not rush around to meet some preconceived notions of what a normal pace is. As a perfectionist, I still intend to ‘kill it.’ I just won’t kill myself in the process.
My friend Ryan likes to pose the question, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” My answer is simple – I’m going to actually be aware that I’m living it and appreciate it to its fullest extent.
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