Yesterday at a stop light, I had a moment that was so completely insignificant in the greater scheme of the world - but it weirdly, deeply resonated with me. I was at the light, kind of humming to myself, and the light turned green so I could turn left. Only I didn't turn left right away, I noticed the light about 2 seconds after it turned, and I noticed it because the guy behind me (in a truck bigger than anyone needs a truck to be) honked his horn twice rapidly and yelled out the window "let's go!" I quickly hustled in gear and turned and was on my merry way... the guy behind me still wasn't so merry, though, and my tiny car felt like a bug beneath his foot as he tailed me all the way down the road. It was just a blip in time, a nothing moment really, but then it got me thinking...
...what are we all in such a hurry for?
We all fall prey to it. I go through the drive-through to get my coffee and then get upset when it takes too long... I hate waiting on hold for more than a few minutes... I get angry at myself when I feel like I'm taking too long to complete a task -- all for the sake of moving on to the next moment in time. With smart phones, and the ability to do so much on something so little, we are a community of people who desire rapid, smooth transitions from one thing to the next. And our brains seem to need as many of those transitions as possible. Sometimes at the end of the day, when I stop and just sit at home, I find myself feeling like a movie that has buffered and frozen -- quickly fast-forwarding to get to real time. I can literally feel myself slowing down... and it's usually a really great feeling, but I can oftentimes feel like I'm wasting time.
But I have to stop and ask myself, how am I wasting time? Why so speedy, everyone? What are we hustling for, really... And I'm not saying this as part of a "what's the point" and "what does it all mean, man?" agenda -- I'm saying this because I constantly find myself remarking on how time has flown by. When school started again, it was "I can't believe it's September and another school year!" Soon it will be "wow, it's Christmas already??" or "another new year?" And I will find myself uttering a phrase that I have uttered countless times as I've grown older:
5 words. 5 words that we say as we see kids grow up, as we reunite with old friends, as we think back to memories short or long passed....
And yet we fly through life. We hurry to get from one place to another, to move on to the next and the next and the next. We are consumed with saving time, and not just for efficiency of life. I understand the urge to pack in as much in as possible, to live every moment to its fullest, and to not look back and say that we wish we had done this and that. But I am starting to realize, as I really think about it, that I feel like it's better to savor and enjoy the moments that we have so that we are not looking back and wondering where the time all went...
This is not a revolutionary thought, and I am not proposing a monumental lifestyle shift. I know that these things are hard to do. And time is a tricky thing, that can mess with our minds, and toy with our hearts as it ticks by. There are things that I want right this moment, and I feel myself rushing to try to obtain. But I know that I need to wait. If I just wait, things will be so much better and so much smoother. And I know that I will look back and not think "where has the time gone?" I will think to myself how lovely it was to wait, and to enjoy the time as it moved like what felt like molasses... because in the end, it was so much more than I had ever dreamed.
Let's slow down. Let's all slow down together, even just a step or two, and see what happens. Maybe we will still feel pulled to rush. Maybe we will still pack as much in as we can. But maybe, just maybe, when we find ourselves thinking "where has the time gone?," we can recall exactly where, and with exactly who. We can pinpoint the moments in time that we were able to afford, and to savor, because we took that extra pause, and marched a beat slower than usual.
And before we rush off to the next thing, or grow inpatient when something slows down a fraction of a second, we can treat ourselves to a breath of fresh air and know that we may not remember this exact moment in time a year or five down the road, but we will be better for taking it for ourselves.