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Slow Down!

Spoiler Alert…there is no prize at the end! This journey you’re on, called life, does not have a pot of gold waiting for you at the end. Life is the journey. The ups, the downs and everything in between. That is where life happens. But when you’re rushing through it, you miss it. Slow Down! Stop rushing and enjoy it.

As children, we couldn’t wait to grow up. “When I am big, I’ll get to do this…” Why did we rush our childhood away? The days with no responsibilities and when all our basic needs were met. Then adulthood comes and we all say, “When I retire, I’ll slow down and enjoy life. I’ll have the time to do the things I love.” Except, those golden years are not promised. Why not enjoy the things you love now? I am sure you can find many more examples of times and events in your life when the present moment was rushed in favor of the future. A future unknown but for some reason valued more than the present. We all do this, but in doing so, we are rushing the days of our lives away.  

We are obsessed with immediate results. Ever hear the term, instant gratification? Yep, all of us have! We are fixated with rushing, cramming, and accomplishing all things at the speed of light. We prioritize quantity over quality. The more things on our to-do list we can cross off, the bigger our ego. Our society wears the label “multitasker” like a badge of honor. But we shouldn’t. Being unfocused and rushing leads to mistakes or poor decisions and adds unnecessary stress and anxiety to our lives. As a collective, we are too hurried to take notice of the steps making up the journey. We view them has speedbumps rather than catalysts.

It’s easy to get consumed and lose focus. But if we stop the hurrying, take time to see everything being presented to us in each moment, see the value of it, and be grateful for it, we see how it is contributing to our journey. It is in that moment, the rush ends, and we become present. We stopped to acknowledge and enjoy the moment rather than rushing through it.

The trick to slowing down is to become present. Do all things with intent and purpose. Keep your focus on what you are doing in the moment, not on the outcome. So often after an age is reached or goal or milestone is accomplished, the immediate reaction is, “Ok, what’s next?” We rush from one thing to the next, trying to get to the end. But what I’m trying to say is, there is no end. The journey will always continue. There will always been another candle on your birthday cake, goal to set, or milestone to meet. And that’s perfect! That’s how it’s intended to be.

The present moment is all we have. Life is now. And it is in the now we need to be living (and enjoying). We think when we get to the end (whatever your individual “end” may be), then we’ll have it (whatever your individual “it” may be). We believe there is some sort of prize waiting for us once we reach a certain age, accomplish a set goal, or meet a society-imposed milestone…you get my point. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s not how life plays out. The prize lies in the steps you experience. It’s all the small things along the way that matter.

When you slow down, you enjoy life more. Your senses are clearer, your interactions more meaningful and your results better. Life is also easier in a slowed down pace. And when life is easier, you are happier. And who doesn’t want to be happier?

Looking back, can you find times when slowing down likely would have yielded more productive, meaningful, or better results? The next time you are rushing, ask yourself, Where’s the pot of gold, why am I rushing to this or though that? In that very moment, you will become present and slow down.