Saturday, May 9, 2009

Slow Down

It may be me, but is everyone in a rush? Perhaps the pressures of work and social obligations have placed me in an environment where the quicker I work, eat and get to sleep the better off I am. And even funnier is the fact it is always someone else’s fault. Despite the reason that I must work and rest to survive, I deem it appropriate to blame it on mitigating circumstances that I am overworked and always in a hurry.
For some reason that I cannot see, I am always moving to quickly. The only time I don’t feel the need for hurrying is in the shower when I first get up. Yet from the moment that my big toe hits the cold tile floor, I am in sprint mode.
Breakfast consists of a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Drive-Thru too long, no problem, I’ll go inside. Of course I will leave the car running, because it would take too long to insert the keys and turn the ignition.
Increase speed through all of the yellow lights; that way I can get to work that much faster. And when I am at work, what do I do? I rush to get copies made, plans written, meetings set, teach… until lunch. Then, I take the time to run across the street, grab a burger and come back chewing along the way. Sitting down takes too long.
After lunch, I engage in more of the same. Plans, meetings, conferences. What time is it? Wow is it really that late! I’ve got to get home. Rush---through the yellow lights…. about to turn red, no problem, floor it and I will make it through.
Home sweet home. Rest? Enjoy my family time? Why? I need to set the table, assist in the chores: dust, vacuum, help with all of the housework, which my wife does tons of by the way, eat, bathe the kids and read them a story.
Television? Read the paper? Heck no! Why bother? I have work to do. I can clean up from supper, grade papers, call parents and go to sleep. I’ve got to get ready for the next day.
Ready for the weekend? Food shopping, cut the lawn, paint the shutters, clean the gutters, and wash the windows. STOP! What is my son doing singing a song and coloring? Is he taking his time and selecting his colors very carefully? Doesn’t he know if he does not move quickly he won’t finish his picture and be able to play Candyland or Chutes and Ladders? Doesn’t he care? There is not enough time son, get going, you’ll never get it all in before bath time. Where is my daughter? Since when did she start standing up by herself? And those teeth, when did they come in? And did she just say ‘kitty cat?” Where have I been?
Life is too short. We spend so much time saving money for the grand carousel that we forget to go enjoy the ride when we finally get on. Spinning. Our minds are filled with brain algorithms; Where am I? How much time do I have? How many spins until I can get off and get back to the important things?
Wait a second. The important things. Did I just say the important things? The important things are sitting next to me. My children. They are laughing and giggling. My wife. She is taking pictures of all of us…giggling….getting my kids to say, “Daddy has stinky feet,” making them grin from ear to ear. The important things are humming Mother’s Day songs, and coloring outside the lines without rushing. The vital things in life are noticing that your daughter is standing, your son is about to start kindergarten and that your wife is a wonderful mother. These are the significant things. In essence it is important to work…but from observing my children leisure is equally important.
My mentor once told me, “Work to live, but don’t live to work. It took me forty years to realize this. Don’t let that happen to you.” This carousel ride only lasts so long. It would be a shame not to enjoy the ride.

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