Have you ever heard the expression “slow down and enjoy what life has to offer?” Many of us are on the fast track in life. We are often filled with stresses and deadlines that have to be met. The world doesn’t stop for anyone, yet we are expected to slow down and enjoy our lives. What’s difficult is determining when it’s okay to slow down and when we have to go full throttle. Work has many of us going at an accelerated rate. We are plagued with meetings and deadlines, phone calls, interviews, and more.
I have a friend who works in a doctor’s office. She recently had a battle with COVID and thought she was going to die. She spoke of how the illness drained her and her husband and how they had never been so miserable in their lives. If there was any blessing to be had, it was that they were able to recover. The illness gave them a new appreciation for what they had not only with each other but in their lives. It’s ironic how something awful makes us appreciate the little things in life. When we’re going at a high-speed rate, we can’t see what life is offering. All we can see is the finish line.
The older I get, I’m beginning to understand what others mean about catching up to life and slowing down. It isn’t easy to appreciate the little things. We find that we are empowered to make changes in our lives and helpless when it comes to things beyond our control.
There’s another friend from my past that I haven’t seen in decades. She lost her sister to a drunk driver, and her life spiraled into an out of control vortex. We were six years old when that accident happened. It’s hard to believe that was forty-four years ago. My friend has been married multiple times and dealt with survivor’s guilt. She’s been forced to slow down while she’s sped through life, dueling her emotions at an exorbitant rate. I heard from another friend of ours that life had not been kind to her. She’s lost her job due to the pandemic and is homeschooling her children. Her father died a few years back, and he’d been her anchor just like my dad had been mine.
When I went through my divorce, I coasted along for a few years. I was numb. I felt like a failure and felt like I was stuck in neutral. He was happy as a lark, and I didn’t know what to feel. I was running from my life. I was numb, but I ran away from how I felt, responsibility, friendships, relationships, and faith. I didn’t know how to slow down because I was going at such a fast rate that I dropped when my exhaustion level set in. There was no nice way to put things. The one-man I loved with all my heart I was too afraid to go after. I wanted him to pursue me. I had pursued other relationships in my life and been let down. All I needed was faith in myself, and when things were almost too late, I did the only thing I knew to do. I took a chance. I took the time to gather my thoughts and appreciate what I had. It became clear that I didn’t need him. What I needed was to be okay with myself and appreciate life.
I can’t speak for him. What I can tell you is sometimes putting ourselves out there is the only way we can slow down enough to understand what we have. It doesn’t have to be in relationships. Sometimes putting yourself out there means to tell your story or to show the world what you are feeling or dealing with.
When we blink, seconds pass. Those seconds turn into minutes, the minutes turn into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, and over time, those years become decades.
As I’ve slowed down, I’ve learned when to speed up. I’ve learned that every day is precious, and the people in our lives are only in it for a spell. The only positive thing that this virus has done is slowing the world down to all appreciate what we have in our lives—the lives it has taken breaks my heart.
The science community has been living life on a fast track. They have been working around the clock to ensure a vaccine that will help save lives. As this virus gets contained, I hope that those scientists can have a little bit of time to catch their breath. Science is a demanding occupation, and it’s constantly evolving. Our medical professionals from every walk of life have been working tirelessly to help us stay healthy. Many people have been working harder than ever. It’s important to recognize that we need to charge our batteries. Batteries eventually die. People do too. That’s why it’s important to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls. Take the time to see things that you might otherwise overlook. Each day brings us something new. We just need to be able to slow down enough to appreciate it. Have a great day, everyone!