“Why are you rushing through life? Are you in a hurry to get to the end?”
When I started my own business 18 years ago, I put that saying up on the wall of my home office. After burning myself out in my career, I needed a reminder to slow down. I certainly was not in a hurry to get to the end of my life. I wanted to enjoy my business and not suffer burnout again. After all, I’d already done that to myself twice in the previous 13 years.
I took the sign down years ago, thinking I had learned the lesson.
And yet, here I am today, writing about it again. At a time in my life when I really have no reason to rush. No little kids to take care of. No job to get to by 8:30am. No work that has to get done by any specific deadline. I’m the boss. I set my work hours. I set the deadlines. That’s been the case for the past 18 years. So why I continue to feel rushed baffles me.
I don’t set many deadlines these days.
I prefer to do things as I’m inspired to do them.
I don’t write on a schedule.
Even though some writing coaches advise writing 1000 words a day or writing for a specific amount of time every day, that doesn’t work for me. The words that come out when I write like that feel forced. Conversely, when I feel inspired to write I often feel like the words are flowing through me. I read them back and often find myself thinking, “wow, did I write that?” It’s a pretty awesome feeling.
I don’t have specific measurable goals.
Goals get me in trouble. As an overachiever I chase goals. As a competitive person I want to accomplish them as soon as I can. I find it very difficult to pace myself when I set goals. It almost feels do or die to me. It has also caused me a lot of anguish in the past because I was taught by more than one success coach to set big audacious goals.
“You may not reach them but you’ll get a lot farther than if you set safe goals.”
Problem is, I about killed myself trying to reach those ginormous goals. Nope, no more SMART goals for me. I choose to set intentions instead. No timeframe and no measurement involved. Just a pretty good idea of the direction I’d like to head. I’m finding I end up some pretty interesting places this way. Very often better than anything I could dream up in a SMART goal.
I don’t have deadlines.
Unless it’s someone else’s. And in those cases I give myself plenty of time to get my part done so I can still do the work when I feel inspired. Yes, I put things on my calendar in somewhat of a to-do list. But if I don’t feel inspired to do something that day, I just move it to another day. And I move stuff a lot! But you know what, things always get done when they need to get done. Funny how that works out.
Still, I find myself rushing, almost daily.
I’ll be out walking my dogs in the morning and instead of enjoying their company and the quiet morning and beautiful surroundings, I will find myself saying “hurry up, we need to keep moving.”
Whether I’m in a hurry to get back home so I can go on a run by myself before it gets too hot, or I have to be somewhere, it seems I often feel a sense of urgency to complete the walk quickly. And truthfully, I usually have plenty of time. For some reason I just feel the need to get it done. To get that task checked off my list. Ugh. Not how I want to live at this stage in my life!
I suppose it may just be a hard habit to break.
I rushed through life for so many years. I was never one to sit still very well. I always had to be busy, doing something, accomplishing something. Why? Honestly I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just how I’m wired. But I’m working on changing that faulty wiring!
Hope is helping.
Hope is my golden retriever, and I walk her and my other golden, Faith, every morning. Faith, who is still a puppy, is always in a hurry. Funny, as I write this I imagine that’s how I must seem to Hope!
Hope prefers to mosey.
I often call the walks when I let Hope set the pace, Sniffabouts. Because she’s constantly stopping to smell everything. Sadly, more mornings than not, I find myself hurrying Hope along. Pulling on her leash when she stops to sniff, or look around, or just meander. I’m realizing this pretty little golden retriever has a lot to teach me. If I would only pay attention. Plus I know there’s scientific proof that dogs are calming and can even reduce blood pressure. They’re good for your health. I’ve seen it first hand in the pet provided therapy work Hope and I do.
They say patience is a virtue.
I think it’s also a learned trait for many people, particularly those of us who are Type A personality.
I’m glad I have Hope in my life. I need to get better at following her lead. It’s time to take a cue from that old Simon and Garfunkel song:
“Slow down you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.”
There’s plenty of time to get it all done. And ultimately I believe everything happens in perfect timing anyway.
Time to slow down and let life’s path find me.
That doesn’t mean I’ll be sitting around waiting for something to happen. I will keep doing my part, taking inspired action, and trusting. I know in my heart it’s what works. That that’s what is going to help me find the meaning at midlife I’m searching for. I guess I just need to keep reminding my head!