The Finish Line Is Death, So Slow Down

I think we have cultivated extremely unhealthy hurrying habits. 

We race around from task to task without looking up or around at life around us.

We go about our days like: I need to get this done, then I need to get this done, then I need to get this done, then when all of those things get done, I can rest and enjoy life. The problem with that line of thinking is there is always something that needs get done.

What’s worse, is that we encourage this behavior in each other. We race around making ourselves sick and stressed thinking it’s what we are supposed to be doing.

After all, these things need to get done.

Then, we proudly share with each other all the things we got done and all the things we still have to do! We respond by nodding our heads like,“Don’t I know it!”

Stop it!

You will never catch the carrot so stop chasing it. Really, there is no carrot (did that sound like The Matrix?).

The carrot is a mindset. It’s faulty thinking.

The idea of I’ll rest when _________.

OK, we’ve all reached the when and what happens?

POOF another I’ll rest when ______ comes up.

It goes on and on like that if you let it. It feels like avoidance to me. Like, I got to stay busy to have value and worth as a person. When I see someone in traffic losing their mind (hitting the horn and slamming the steering wheel) because the person in front of them did not burn out and race off when the light turned green. It makes me a bit curious.

Who am I if I stop racing around trying to do things? 

I propose a both/and solution to the race to death.

Let’s try this: I’ll enjoy life AND I’ll work towards __________ (insert your daily tasks and long term goals).

I bet you have at least a few things about your life to appreciate right now. 

Why not try to both enjoy your life and get stuff done at the same time?

How is that possible?

Pause, a lot. Yes, pause.

Just a few moments throughout your day.

Look around.

Notice what’s happening in your world.

“It’s a beautiful day”

“It’s a rainy day”

Smile, it will make you happier.

I live in a beautiful part of the world where we have seasons. I love to look out the window at work and notice the changing colors. I know it sounds flighty or silly but it’s not. It’s serious business intentionally enjoying life.

I think it makes me more productive and appreciative of my life when I take moments out of my day to intentionally notice what is happening around me.

For example, when you feel the need to rush, try and slow down. Take a few deep breaths. Appreciate the sound of the world happening around you. Appreciate your cuddles with your dogs and or/cats. Appreciate your children laughing and smiling. Appreciate all the sights and sounds around you. Have a little dance party in your car or at your desk. Why not, even appreciate the challenges.

I promise, life goes so fast there is no sense in rushing, time will move forward anyway.

What makes me super sad is when people spend their lives chasing the “carrot” and then they realize that they missed all of these precious moments with the people they love.

So please, pause. You will get there and you will get it all done and it will be fine.

Love.

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Image from: http://moiradesignstudio.com/paperprints/stop-the-glorification-of-busy-print

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4 thoughts on “The Finish Line Is Death, So Slow Down

  1. That pesky little carrot was something that I chased like my life depended on it. Always rushing from one thing to the next so I didn’t have to deal with the thing that scared me the most….Myself. Over the past few years, I’ve slowly realized that keeping myself busy and rushed is a way to avoid feeling. When I’m running around like a crazy woman and tending to all of the “must do” things on my list, it offers me an escape or distraction from whatever uncomfortable feelings I may need to experience. And I would tell myself exactly what you wrote…”When I finish this project at work, than I’ll be able to relax” or “when I get that degree then I won’t worry so much” but never in my life have I ever found this to be true. Sure I may have a very small window of time where I feel accomplished and feel some validation and self-worth. But this doesn’t last very long and before I know it I’m right back where I started….chasing that damn carrot:)
    I’m coming to accept that life isn’t about trying to get the carrot and that the people who live like this ( I know because it used to be me!) are more than likely trying to run from feelings of inadequacy, shame or lack of self-worth just to name a few. The problem lies in thinking that some external force is going to fix those feelings. That new car or house isn’t going to make you feel more secure in who you are. That new relationship won’t make you feel more deserving of love. Obtaining a higher degree won’t take away that shame and guilt you’ve been carrying around for years. It was kind of crushing when I realized this because for almost thirty years I had been told and had bought in to this lie. What was absolutely terrifying though was when I realized that the solution was to actually FEEL my feelings! And that meant eliminating that mentality that is so ingrained in our culture-“Do the most you can in the least amount of time as possible”. But I’m trying. Every day I make a conscious effort to enjoy and appreciate the things that I once found mundane and boring in my life. I try to take the time to hold the door open for someone or to actually taste what it is that I’m eating rather than scarf it down in order to get to my next appointment. When someone is talking to me I try to give them my full attention and be present for the conversation not somewhere in my mind thinking about what I want to have for dinner. Just this morning I was driving to work and found “the squirrel cage” (my overanyalytic mind) trying to plan my morning in the office based on what I needed to get done today. But I remembered that I wasn’t yet at the office. In this moment I was in the car and when I looked out my life window, I saw the most beautiful pinks and oranges across the sky as the sun was rising. It reminded me that amazing things are happening around me all the time and it’s up to me whether I choose to truly see them. Those every day moments are what make up the majority of our time on this earth and I don’t want to miss them while I’m chasing that carrot.

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    1. Linz, I think you are absolutely right. As long as we’re chasing something we’re distracted from what we might actually be feeling. I think you highlighted why this is such a dangerous way to spend your life. I think we all still find ourselves “chasing the carrot” even if we are intentionally trying to be mindful on a regular basis. I love the idea of the squirrel cage! That’s such an awesome metaphor for our minds. I find the only way I can force myself to live in the moment is to remind myself that it will all end at some point and I don’t want to miss a moment. That might be morbid but it’s my way.

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  2. You are so right about being busy meaning you have value in our culture and bravo for calling it out. I’m not saying I’ve learned how to “be in the moment” enough yet, but your Grandpa helped me with this without even knowing he was doing it. As he grew older and more frail, he was very slow moving and it seemed to take forever to get the simplest things done, like getting in the car! I would often be thinking of all the things I needed to do and how this was taking way to long. Then one day it hit me. I don’t have a lot of time left with this man I love. I need to think about anything we are doing together as our time together and shut the “busyness” out. That thought really helped me relax and enjoy our time together. Thanks for reminding me.

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