Slow it Down

Tick, tick, tick. I am a slave to the clock. I call it productivity. I say I am proud and feel accomplished when I get things done. And I am. Yet, I am still a slave to the clock.

I’d like to blame my mother. No, I am not in therapy. But it is true, Dr. Freud. My mother is crazed about getting things done and says the same things about her sister and her mother. I would add my brothers to this list as well. So, I guess you could say it runs in my family. I was brought up on this concept.

I wish I could stop it. There are repercussions you know.

I check the clock 50 times a day. When I was younger, I used to stare at the clock. I decided some numbers were happy numbers and some were sad. For example, the five was happy because the bottom curl looked like a smile. Now, I think the five laughs at me as I curse it every morning when it makes me up. But that’s another story.

I walk fast enough to consider entering the speed walking competition in the Olympics. This is not a good date trait. My wife rarely holds my hand. She doesn’t like feeling pulled. She goes for the arm in arm. I think it’s to slow me down.

This Thanksgiving was different. No, I don’t mean the abundant food and houseguests.

I slowed down. And I liked it.

I was speaking to a friend of mine at 11:15 on Sunday morning. He excused himself. He had to get off the phone as he and his family were eating together.

“What are you eating? Breakfast?”

“Yes.”

“At 11:15?”

“We are taking it easy today. Everybody slept in.”

“Okay.” I hung up slightly confused.

And jealous.

Why can’t I be that at ease? I would feel guilty that the day is half over, and I have accomplished little.

Well, I thought I had been taking it easy over the weekend. However, my friend’s actions inspired me to slow down more.

It was a struggle. But a worthwhile struggle.

I go back to wondering. Why am I in such a rush? Yes, I know I said it is genetic thing, but there has to be more to it.

I am going to psychoanalyze myself for a moment here. You know that bumper sticker, the one who dies with the most toys wins? I disagree with that completely. I think it is stupid.

No. It’s as if I am trying to prove something. Often the hardest person to prove things to is oneself. If I keep busy, I will accomplish. If I accomplish, I will find fulfillment. Fulfillment – isn’t that what life is about?

I don’t have all the answers. I just know it felt good to slow down. It’s something I need to do more often. In fact, I may eat breakfast at 11:00 next weekend and then go for a stroll with my wife – hand in hand. Okay, we may have to run after the kids, but I am not going to be happy about it. For me, that’s an accomplishment.

 

74 thoughts on “Slow it Down

  1. LOL I am so that way. I guess it goes back to Mary and Martha. I am not task oriented. Well I am but only on whatever I happen to be hyper focused on at the time. I love writing so I am super focused on that but everything else? Ahh who cares. I won’t go to my death bed wishing I had cleaned something or woke up at 8 am everyday.

  2. Moving from California to Virginia was a big change for me. The saying goes that the further east you move, the more upbeat and faster paced lifestyle emerges. It’s funny when I go back to the West Coast only to have my friends tell me that I need to slow down when I’m talking so they can understand me. Between work, the baby and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s good to take a day off for yourself. It’s easy to get lost in the fast paced world. One thing that the Navy has taught me not to take for granted anymore is sleep.

  3. like that “friends” way of doing things – but sometimes you do need to speed up – and then some times you just need to take life a little slower to enjoy the smaller moments cause the larger ones are killers!

  4. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to accomplish stuff and keep your days full! Equally, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to kick back. Recently we’ve spent our weekends not actually doing very much at all but just letting the day flow and ebb as it needs to, and it’s been pleasant and relaxing and fun. And then once in a while I’ll be like a tightly-wound spring and we’ll need to all get out of the house. But when you’re in that zone of really not doing very much at all, and no longer feeling guilty about it, it’s great.

  5. Oh dear…you sound like the male version of me. I spend a lot of time planning and working too.

    I once developed a death bed test – when I am on my death bed, will I be glad that I spent a lot of time on this, or will I rather I had focused on other things? Now, just making use of that test – there’s the challenge!

  6. Preaching to the choir! I get it from my mom, too, the constant go-go-go. One day my dad told me, “just cause you’re not doing anything doesn’t mean you have wasted the time”. I’ve tried to incorporate that into my life to help me remember that it’s okay to do nothing.

      • oh, there is friction between my parents over the difference in how they operate. Dad wants mom to slow down and enjoy things more – and mom wants dad to speed up and enjoy things with her at her pace.
        But, the advice my dad gave me helped tremendously. Being just like mom, I felt that if i wasn’t doing and going that I was wasting time – it’s been nice (although few and far between) to be able to spend time doing nothing and not feel it was wasted. The time doing nothing has actually helped me become more centered and balanced. Just a bit, I’m still an insane type A control freak that lives by the calendar and clock. But, I’m an insane type A control freak that has learned to be flexible and roll with most of the flow!

        • Well, that’s progress. I could learn from your dad too.
          I can just imagine it would be tough for two people who are on the opposite sides of the spectrum. There are times when I get annoyed at people for moving so slowly.

  7. It is so nice to slow down sometimes! I hope you’re able to relax a lot more after seeing some value in it. Just think, if you relax more, you’ll be more productive when you do work, so getting nothing done can really help you get things done! 🙂

  8. Slowing down is brilliant. Before I had Elisabeth I used to have days where I would do everything at half my normal speed, it’s so relaxing! Can’t do it every day though, wouldn’t get anything done 🙂

  9. I wear (and look at) my watch all the time, even in the age of computer and cell phone digital time. I think I only take it off at night because I couldn’t see it in the dark. Have done this as long as I can remember. Once, in my 20s, when I was traveling through northern Europe and my watch stopped, I started carrying my travel alarm in my purse. Just because I had to know what time it was. But sometimes I can decompress and you had the right idea. Thanksgiving weekend is a perfect time to start.

  10. I totally understand this. I have a slight touch of OCD which just adds to it. Some days I’m not so fun to be around when I’m on my schedule but damn, I can power through it and get stuff done.

      • Yep — it comes out even more when I’m stressed. It’s a control thing for me. When I’m losing control of a situation, I find myself doing these OCD routines to create something I can control. I have certain routines I follow every day but it gets worse when I’m stressed.

        And I think my son has a slight touch of it too, probably passed down by me.

  11. oh no! sorry to hear you had a fever, hope you get lots of rest, with fever you really need to rest. I just got sick myself and I didn’t stop, I’m still in front of my laptop because everyone is asleep, really need to go to sleep now! I should take my own advice 🙂 hope you get better soon! 🙂 (don’t know why I couldn’t reply to your comment?) 🙂

  12. I can so relate with you on this! I have the same problem, although I’ve gotten immensely better at slowing down and enjoying things…thanks to my husband. But yes…that need to complete tasks and fill every moment, I found it exhausted me. At the end of the day yes I’d done a lot, but how much had I enjoyed? Sometimes we do need to be efficient with our time, but we also need to balance that with slowing down and just enjoying the moment. Good for you!

  13. Hi,
    I so agree with this. Even though I am busy, I am learning to begin the week slowly. Therefore, I don’t start in the office until 10 AM on Monday morning, and I sleep in on Wednesday mornings and take my time starting my day. It usually starts around 9 AM. Believe me, it doesn’t sound like much but in comparison to my getting up at five every morning, that is a big change. What I treasure most, at the moment, is my nap time. I slip away for two or three hours and chill out or sleep. I may read or go to a coffee shop, but mostly I find me a quiet place and enjoy the feeling of being alone with my own thoughts.
    It has taken some patience to get used to it, but I have. So, I know if you decide to do slow it down you will enjoy life more. Life is too short to rush through it. Good luck.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

  14. I left the teaching profession, which I love, to get a degree in something that would allow me part time of flexible employment. The clock and calendar ruled our family. My husband is teacher and part-time dairy farmer until just 5 years ago we sold the dairy. We are still learning how to slow down and rest, even with me working part time. Great post.

    • Firstly, I am glad you liked the post. Thanks for your comments.
      Clock and calendar – uggh. I will always be learning to slow it down. Fighting my natural self.
      What is your new employment? What does your husband teach?

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