Fast or Slow, This is Life

I read and sighed and groaned with interest this morning, “The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up” by Hands Free Mama.

Her words resonated with me and stabbed me like a fork in the heart.

I know I hurry my kids too much.

I hurry through life too much.

And I know I don’t deserve an award for the fact that I hurry them a lot less now than I used to.

Or that I hurry life a lot less since I moved to the country.

But maybe I do deserve a pat on the back.

Just a little one.

Because there are certain people that have a really, really hard time slowing down.

They have a hard time sitting still.

They have a hard time being far away from action, from access, from information.

Because action and access and information make those particular people feel as if they have control over their very fast-moving, often frightening and sometimes frustrating lives.

I am one of these people.

Our busy, busy world of  24/7 cellphones, emails and carpools only accelerates my in-born madness.

I was born running.

Running my mouth.

Running my head.

Running the world the way I want it to run.

Running away from scary ideas or circumstances.

Running towards change, adventure.

For people like me, slowing down is infuriating and unnatural.

Until we do it.

And reap the very quiet rewards.

It’s still unnatural, but we can be trained to understand how slowing down sometimes works better and faster than running.

= = = =

I sometimes fantasize about the End Days — the day after the solar grid is taken down by a Coronal Mass Ejection and we’re all forced to live Frontier House style.

I’m sure I’d still be running in the End Days, but less like a lower paid, less inspiring Sheryl Sandberg. and more like a nicer Mrs. Olesen

Little House Mrs Oleson

I have this fantasy that if the world was forced to slow down, I would slow down too.

Because I want to experience life.

And I realize that running past or through life, blurs the experience.

But I also accept (with bitterness) that not all of my real life (the one I chose, and built, and need to maintain) can operate on slow, as much as I do appreciate what Hands Free Mama illustrates as the benefits of slow living.

My challenge — above and beyond trying to live slower — is to acknowledge that THIS is life.

Fast or slow

THIS is life.

This making-the-lunches

This sitting-with-my-daughter-for-ten-minutes-at-preschool-before-heading-to-work

This watching-my-son’s-school-performance

This taking-the-car-to-the-shop

This scheduling-the-parent-teacher-conference

This waiting-for-bloodwork

This wrapping-the-present-for-my-daughter’s-friend

This making-sure-all-three-kids-brushed-their-teeth

This listening-to-my-husband’s-day-at-work

This showing-up-for-book-club

This calling-the-plumber

This schlepping-the-kids-to-that-experience-we-really-want-them-to-have

Sure — I can and most definitely should– SLOW DOWN.

Because the slower I live life, the better I process it.

The deeper I experience it.

And the more vividly I remember it.

Slow works wonders.

I, too, have found that living life slower   (…and taking pictures with my camera or my mind)

MAKES LIFE LAST LONGER.

pee wee

But slow is hard.

And there are days I simply wish I could wind the world backwards the way Superman does

and there are days I wish I could simply freeze everyone and everything in it like Piper Halilwell.

Because that’s the only way I can imagine slowing down.

But then, there are days — moments of unexpected presence and awareness and awe — when I fully realize that THIS is life.

Fast or slow

This wanting

This noticing

This fixing

This laughing

This burping

This farting

This regretting

This missing

This needing

This freezing

This sweating

This balancing act

This being alive in this very awkward, too short, not-exactly-as-I-planned-it moment

THIS is life.

= = = =

Handsfree Mama, in her poignant and beautiful post, writes “pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live”

YES!

But this begs a question in my mind: how do we move through the less than simple (but required), the less than joyful (and often scary) parts of life?

May we move through those moments quickly?

Is “fast”, not “slow” what these moments call for?

Or do they also call for slow?

Dealing with the rotten eggs life sometimes throws me is where I tend to struggle the most

I want to run past those moments as quickly as I can

I want fast. not slow

= = = =

Will I one day, on my deathbed, understand that

THIS

too

is

life.

Those moments I ran through?

Will I suddenly smell the sweet smell hidden deep inside the rotten eggs of life and will it smell like cookies baking?

I don’t know.

Born a runner

I am trying to stop running

I am trying not to wish myself out of this moment.

I am trying not to judge this moment either.

THIS life.

Which is easy when you are in the middle of something magical, but not so easy when you are moving through something hard.

Fast or slow,

rotten or sweet

THIS is life.

Born a runner, I am trying to say those words

slowly

with a smile

with conviction

THIS is life.

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2 thoughts on “Fast or Slow, This is Life

  1. Great post Jen. Patience is a virtue. Mindfulness is necessity. Everything is part of this life and one moment cannot really be judged better than another. The rotten eggs lead us to the store where we are able to witness the kindness of a stranger buying an old woman her groceries. It is easy for me to label things as good and bad. I am drawn towards cherishing the good and, like you, rushing through the bad. That attitude only leads to classifying only the best moments as good and everything else as sub-par. And then it is gone.

    Plus one for Pee Wee Herman reference. 🙂

    Like

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