3 Ways to Slow Down
and Enjoy Life
The BMW shot across the double yellow lines and sped past us. Whatever the speed limit on Slifer Valley Road, I’m pretty sure it’s not 70. “Why’s that car going so fast?” our 5 year old son Leo wondered from the back.
I debated what to answer. Because it felt thrilling? The driver was late? A too busy schedule?
“I don’t know, Leo,” I answered, offering up all three options. Picturing him behind the wheel in 12 years, I threw in some possible consequences too.
Leo thought about this. “That was dangerous,” he finally decided. Out of the mouths of babes, I thought. May he remember this a decade from now.
My Own Glass House
Not that I’m one to judge. I’ve done my own share of dangerous racing. Being one of those people who gets white knuckled passing someone legally, mine just doesn’t happen in a car.
I’ve raced through life instead. Over the years, I’ve packed my schedule way fuller than is good for me – or for the people in my life. Sometimes I felt more of a human doing than a human being.
There were legitimate excuses. People in need, things to be taken care of, money to be made, expectations to be met – and always, not enough time.
Checking things off the list didn’t resolve things. It just made me push the pedal to the metal even harder.
I’d still be doing too much, too fast, if two things hadn’t happened. One, I ran out of fuel. And two, my husband and I had a child.
My family needed me to be available, and I wanted to be. It was time to change my ways.
Live Life to the Fullest by Making Each Day Count
Mine’s a common story in this busy day and age. If, like me, you’ve struggled with doing too much, these three suggestions might help. I use them every day to help me slow down and enjoy life.
- Stay in the present. Easier said than done, I know. Daily practices are your best friend here. They’ll help you live in the moment if you put your mind and heart into them. Some of the best are mindfulness meditation, practicing gratitude, acts of caring for yourself and others, physical activity (e.g. yoga, going for a walk) and spending time in nature.
- Make connecting with others a priority. People can become inconvenient interruptions in our efforts to achieve. Remember the old saying “no-one on their death bed wishes they’d spent more time at the office?” Apply this wisdom now. Spend time with your loved ones. Ask yourself: What would I do, and with whom would I do it, if I only had 6 months to live? Then go do at least some of it. None of us knows how long we have.
- Avoid perfectionism. This is especially important for all you competent people out there. Just because you can get lots done, doesn’t mean it’s always good for you – especially if you do it compulsively or continuously. Balance the drive to achieve with an awareness of what taking it to the extreme costs you and others.
All change starts with a choice. For me, slowing down and enjoying life was a life-enhancing decision. Days seem richer and longer. I’m more aware, more alive and more connected with people I care about.
How about you? Even if you’re not a busy Bea like I was, why not try some of these tips – and let me know how it goes for you! I’d love to hear from you.
Also, check out “Slow Down and Enjoy Life,” the free 15 minute guided meditation I created to help you relax your pace and enjoy life more fully. Click below to play it: