The lesson I learned…
Rush, rush, rush. Get it done ASAP. The faster, the better. Tick-tock. Time is a-wastin'.
I am a highly efficient person.
An attribute I always highlighted.
A trait considered valuable by some.
The quicker I could complete something, check it off my to-do list, and move on, the better.
It applied to everything.
Like a one-woman production line, set to high-speed.
I powered through tasks, meals, assignments, chores, conversations, events.
You name it; I bulldozed through it.
Each action was viewed as something to get done, and once checked off; it was time to move on to the next.
If I thought something would take too long, I skipped it (if I could).
The line is too long; never mind.
This is going to take forever; I don’t need to do it.
We will be here for hours; let’s go.
It’s going to take me an eternity to complete this; I’m not going to bother.
I don't have the time to waste.
In reality, I had the time to spend, just not the inclination.
I sacrificed for the sake of efficiency.
The problem with efficiency is that you miss out on the experience.
No time to take it all in, to immerse yourself fully.
No appreciation for the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, feelings.
No moments for contemplation.
No pause for reflection.
No going with the natural flow.
No enjoyment, just infinite duties to perform.
Or skipping things altogether.
Overcoming the lesson…
Have you ever taken your time doing something routine, like eating, brushing your teeth, or taking a shower?
Instead of scarfing down your food while working, scrolling, or watching, just eating.
Making the effort to consume something nourishing and not what is quick and easy so you can get back to it.
Setting time aside to savor every bite.
Appreciating the tastes and textures.
Instead of vigorously brushing your teeth while thinking about what’s next, taking your time.
Feeling the bristles against your teeth and gums.
Slowly moving to each area of your mouth.
The minty flavor of your toothpaste.
Smiling in the mirror when you're done to see those beautiful teeth you've just taken good care of.
In the shower, feeling the hot water hit your head and cascade down to your feet.
The scent of your shampoo and body wash.
The feeling of your sudsy loofah against your skin.
Standing under the water for just a few extra moments for no other reason than to feel the water hit your body and ease any tension before hopping out to move on with your day.
We don't seem to give ourselves enough time and mental space these days.
Time and space allow our thoughts to wander; our creative thoughts to emerge.
Instead, we multi-task, insist on productivity every minute of every day, scroll, listen, watch, and talk.
How can our beautiful thoughts emerge from inside if our minds are constantly focused on something else?
Have you noticed that the more dedicated time you spend on something, the more your creativity flows, the more thoughtful you are, the more aware you become, the better the outcome?
Maybe you are someone who never takes your time, like the old me.
I lost my creativity.
It has only recently come back to me - when I stopped rushing and started valuing experiences.
The moments when you are taking it all in are the moments that open you up.
Those moments are the unexpected benefits of living life.
They propel you forward.
They add the “joyful” to your experiences.
They make it all worthwhile.
You can be doing the most amazing thing in the world, but if you’re rushing through it and not taking it in, how can you possibly enjoy it?
I noticed this new thing I’ve been doing lately while reading books like memoirs.
As I read, I pause, quite frequently, sometimes after each paragraph, and really take in what I have just read.
I allow what I’ve read time to connect to me.
To find the meaning for me.
The earlier version of me never remembered the endings of books.
I would get so into reaching the end that I would power-read through the final chapters.
If you asked me a month later how the book ended, I couldn’t tell you.
I rushed through the experience and missed out on the experience.
I was a highly efficient person, getting a lot done but not getting a lot out of what I was doing.
I try to take my time now.
Cleaning my house, making dinner, drinking my morning coffee, spending time with my family, writing, reading, walking, working...
I will even stop mid-run to take in a pretty view (without pausing my watch!).
You might think, “it must be nice to have the time to slow down, but I certainly don’t have that kind of time.
I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.”
I get it; believe me, I do.
But, let me ask you, do you have the time not to slow down?
To miss out on the joys in life.
We are here for a limited time.
Do you want to get to the end and realize that you rushed through everything?
That you put efficiency ahead of experience?
That you got a whole lot done, but you’re not quite sure what or even why?
Until next time...