Driving isn’t the only place we all have a lead foot
Perhaps you’ve seen them too, those proverbial slaps on the wrist from the large, obnoxious, overbearing signs on the side of the road. They’re kind of like that disapproving aunt who always stood with that stern “don’t fuck with me” stance, while breaking out the heavy artillery naughty-finger wag after doing something you shouldn’t have. (Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about…) Road signs with numbers the size of which can only be surpassed by a politician’s ego, and strobing lights that seem to burrow into your guilty conscience like an over-caffeinated woodpecker. You say you don’t give a shit, but you know deep down your guilt trip is literally falling head first over its own shoe laces.
Watch your speed!
You put that back where you got it from right now, mister!
(Okay, that last one is from that aunt we spoke about. Talking about it gave me flashbacks, I’ll get over it.)
Lately I’ve been realizing these speed reminder signs are the perfect analogy to our lives in general, namely we all need to slow the fuck down. Our tech and consumerism-heavy world not only constantly bombards us at every opportunity that we’ve become incapable of stopping to smell the roses, but has also made us completely impatient. Instead of seeing a wait in a lineup, a parking spot that involves a longer walk to the door, or even a pause in traffic as a potential moment for peace and reflection, we see it as a burden and inconvenience. Too quick we are to pick up our phones, fidget, or even back out of waiting entirely. In a world where we have access to so much at our fingertips, instantaneously, we broker no time for ourselves to stop and appreciate the quiet.
A brief meditation or breathing exercise. Perhaps spin up a friendly conversation with someone else waiting. Pull out a notebook and pen and write down some ideas for your next novel-in-progress, or blog post. Yes, you could type it in your phone, but the process of recording something in analogue with a writing utensil and paper forces you to slow down. It requires you to be intentional, and in its own way is a form of meditation in and of itself.
We’ve been brainwashed to want everything right now, without exception, to the detriment of our truly enjoying many moments as a result. We think too fast, we act too fast, and in some cases we give up too fast if our patience and attention span feels even the slightest bit overwhelmed. In our defence, a global pandemic certainly doesn’t help. However, if anything this is a time when we should be slowing down even more; embrace the tortoise rather than the hare.
Now is the perfect opportunity to wrestle back some control over the speed of our life. To counter the cortisol pumping through our veins like a firehose of stress, by putting out the flames of hyperactivity and impatience. To steal more time for things that make us smile, and devote less time to things that are just bullshit.
If we spend our entire life speeding down the road, we’ll always miss spotting that patch of roses begging to be smelled.
Posted in #SeptemberScrawls - Day 14