Slow It Down - Again
This time of year is just crazy. It’s absolutely nuts. We’re so busy going back and forth, in and out, up and down, round and round, have to buy this and get that, have to finish this project, have to work some overtime, have to see the boyfriend/spouse/family. Oi, it makes my head spin just thinking about it. What happened to the quiet, lovely, lazy days of yore? Ok, what happened to five minutes ago? We live in an age where everything is speeding up, faster and faster; it’s almost seems like we’re going to break the sound barrier or get to warp 9 any minute, we’re so focused on what comes next and instant gratification that we are forgetting, yes, I include myself in this, to...just...be...in...the...moment.
I’ve always, always, always, for as long as I can remember, been focused on the future. I’ve always wanted to know what was going to happen. I think, in part, it has to do with my Dad dying when I was 7 and having that comforting future torn away from me. When I’m dating, in the back of my head, I keep thinking, could he be the one? The family, the house, the dog, the car etc. I’ve been so focused on what I want to have in the future, that I sometimes forget to live in the now. I’m working on it; it’s hard, especially when you have a lifetime habit of doing it.
On the train, on the way into my City job this morning, I was listening to my iPod, I’m not really a morning person and it’s best if the bear isn’t poked aka my space isn’t invaded, anyway, Katy Perry’s song “This Moment” came on and I actually listened to the lyrics and it talks about, you guessed it, living in the moment. It’s a super cheesetastic song but it’s true. It’s so true. The world is moving so fast, we are killing ourselves to try and keep up with it. My mom would say, “just because Jane’s doing it doesn’t mean you have to. Would you jump off a bridge if everyone else did? “. That’s such a famous parenting line but again, it’s true. When I get to work, I immediately feel this pressure, this overwhelming push to GET THINGS DONE. The work is constantly being pushed and we are constantly being told that we need to work faster and get our production numbers up (aka get more files finished), so we are constantly feeling stress and looking at our work and thinking “how can I get this done?!”. It’s sad. It’s sad that our work has come to this. It’s sad that I sometimes feel like I should be asking if my clients “want fries with that”.
A couple of weeks ago, I witnessed a beautiful thing. A friend I work with was waiting in line at our local coffee shop and was chatting up a guy in line. They were laughing and flirting a little and having a great time. My friend is called up next but doesn’t hear it because she’s so focused and so in the moment chatting with this guy, that another customer has to tap her on the shoulder to let her know she’s up. She excuses herself and heads over to the till for her coffee order. As she’s waiting for her order, the person who’d tapped her on the shoulder is finished ordering his coffee and has stepped aside to wait for it to get made. My lovely friend starts to chat with this guy now and his friend. I was flabbergasted because that never happens to me – 3 guys chatting her up at the coffee shop! Later that morning, I go up to her desk and say what an amazing thing it was to witness and you know what she told me? She said she wants people to feel and know that their presence has been acknowledged by another human being. She wants people to know that someone cares. She doesn’t have life altering conversations with these people but she is in the moment with them. She is focused and there and it’s amazing to watch. She asked me to do it too. She asked me if I would be willing to get out of my comfort zone and be in the moment and be present for someone else. She asked me to take the time to say hi. And I said yes. And I have. And it’s...amazing. It’s also hard because I’m a “watch’n’see what happens” kind of girl but I know if I don’t get out of my comfort zone and be in the present moment with myself and others, life will pass me by.
Today, while talking with another friend, the issue of time came up again. She said she’s too busy. She can’t do it all. She’s been working overtime and is seeing someone and is trying to be there for a friend in need and...and...and...she’s burning out. She’s can’t keep up to the demands of her life and she’s the type of friend who would run into a burning building for you or would karate kick the bad guy for you. She doesn’t want to have to say no to anyone because her heart is just so big; she wants to help everyone she can. She’s amazing and I’m very lucky to have her in my life.
All of this has made me think. It’s made me want to slam on the fucking brakes of this spinning ball of life!! It’s becoming TOO MUCH. I struggle with making sure that I take the time to just be in the moment and knowing when to say no and when to say yes. My coping mechanism to all of this hurry up and go is TV. When I come home from work (my City job), I turn on the tube and just let my mind be washed over with crap; it’s like novocaine, it’s mind-numbing and I don’t have to think but it also means that I’m not present and I’m not in the moment. I am conscious of it but I still do it. I’m not likely to stop watching TV either because I do like it but I know I have to be more aware of what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. TV seems like the answer because it makes you think, “ya, I’m good, I’m relaxing, I’m here” but then 2 hours will go by and you won’t even notice.
I know that being in the moment can be very hard and it can be a lot of work but it’s worth it. Taking the time to acknowledge another person is beautiful. Picking up the phone to call someone is precious, what happened to that? I can remember being on the phone in my room for hours with my girlfriends. We don’t do that anymore. We text or we facebook or we tweet, and yes, I realize the contradiction because I’m posting this on my facebook wall and my twitter feed, but my point is that we don’t actually communicate anymore. We aren’t actually in the moment with another person because we have computer screens and technology between us. We are distracted by iphones and ipads and tablets and TV and texting. We think we are connecting to each other with these things but we aren’t. We think we’re taking the time to acknowledge someone by “liking” or “reposting” their status but it’s just another easy out. It’s another way for us to think we’ve connected when really, it’s just the click of a mouse.
If you’ve read this and it’s struck a chord with you, I challenge you to be present and to acknowledge another human being, in person. I challenge you all to slow down. I challenge you to spend time with friends and family without using your phones or your computers or TV. Be with each other. Remember that connection to someone and being present is what really propels us forward. Be love.
Thanks for reading.