I will admit it. I have a hard time slowing down. Being in a constant “GO!” mode has not been something I just picked up last week or something I grabbed onto once I became an adult.
No, I have always been someone who moves.
Someone who moves quickly.
Someone who moves a lot.
Growing up, I was involved in a lot of sports and was able to manage a 25 hour a week work schedule, tacking Honors classes while maintaining a 3.8 GPA, and playing three sports. But even before I through work into my life, I was still busy. Mostly involving sports – if it was softball season, I played softball. If it was soccer season, I played soccer. If it was basketball season, I played basketball.
Having a hectic schedule in high school prepared me for the busiest job ever – motherhood.
At one time, my husband and I had three boys under the age of six years old, with two of them within 13 months of each other. (That wasn’t part of the plan.)
For eight years, I was a stay-at-home-mom: dropping off and picking up from school, taking the boys to a practice of some sort, volunteering in their classrooms once they were all old enough to go to school, and taking care of the house.
On occasion, my husband would travel for several weeks at a time and when he would come home, I would still be in “GO!” mode, as I rattled off everything he needed to know.
But never did I ask for his help. That would mean I couldn’t do it all and that was not something this self-proclaimed Wonder Woman was willing to do. Not then.
Never did I slow down.
I know I didn’t stop.
There was too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it.
With as much running around I did then (and still do), I didn’t understand how I could still have so much more to do!
I never took time for myself. Honestly, I didn’t have time.
Even when I started running six years ago, I arranged it at a time when it wouldn’t interfere with anything else I needed to get done…at 5am.
As the boys got older, my schedule seemed to get busier. Even when they could drive themselves, I still found myself attending their events and supporting them just like every other parent. One year, I remember looking at the calendar (which was and still is colored coded by each family member’s events, appointments, work schedules, etc.), and adding up how many baseball games all three of the boys had scheduled in a total of 4 months. It was more than a Major League Baseball team has in a regular season!
Half the time, I didn’t know if I was coming or going and we lived on Gatorade and sunflower seeds.
Then, one day, the dust settled a bit.
I could see things a little bit better.
With the oldest living on his own and the other two off to college, things started to slow down. My husband and I could go out to dinner when we wanted. We could do fun things like see what The Taste of Omaha was all about and enjoy walking around by the Riverfront and try some different food. We would listen to the music and check out all of the vendors too. We also wanted to see what the Nebraska Wine and Balloon Festival was all about so we were there last August and enjoyed taking some much needed “us” time.
I will admit – things are much slower than they have been for about 25 years, but if there was one thing I wish I could change it would be to tell myself to slow down…
To appreciate the small things and remember the moments and not be in such a hurry to get from one place to the next without even taking my foot off the gas pedal.
To be still and quiet and not get so wrapped up in the “hustle and bustle” of planning and instead, cherish the moments and memories.
Right now, they all seem like a blur.
I blinked and 25 years was gone.
Maybe I’ve learned a few things these last few years. Maybe it has something to do with my age.
Don’t get me wrong – I still am in “GOI!” mode, but I recognize when I need to take time for myself and then I take it!
Sometimes, that could mean taking a nap at 7pm. It could mean tending to my vegetable garden. It could mean spending some time with my friends. It could mean sitting out on my patio reading a book. It could mean going on a mini-vacation with my husband.
The biggest thing I’ve adopted into my life: accepting that I can do so much more when I give to myself when I need to and not feel guilty about it.
Slow down. Add fun things into your life that don’t include a task to complete. Go to a movie with your family. Have margaritas with your best friend on a Sunday afternoon. Order dessert before your meal. Become an observer and notice the smallest of moments. Let the words people share with you connect to your soul and give you a sense of belonging. Give unconditionally and be present and engaged when surrounded by your favorite people. Don’t miss a chance to say “I love you” to the people who make your life amazing.
Life will move as fast as it will…why are we in such a hurry to help it move even faster?