October 24, 2016

There’s No Shame in Slowing Down.

sitting alone still legs feet

I’m on my way to meet a couple of friends for a hike.

Google Maps drones over the fuzzy radio. Plenty of people are out, but cars aren’t crunched together in a way that makes them look like colorful, plastic blocks when you squint.

Out of seemingly nowhere, an angry driver roars past me and shouts something I can’t hear; I assume it’s about how slow I drive. Perhaps to his embarrassment, we continue to meet side-by-side at red lights all along the stretch of freeway before us.

In the midst of this mayhem, I find a life lesson: I’m okay going slowly.

I’m okay with braking when I want to rest, stopping for a snack when I’m hungry, or driving a few miles under the speed limit if that’s what feels comfortable for me. This is no longer about that frantic driver and me. It’s about my life. It’s about me.

It’s third grade. My teacher says Dad’s sick. She uses big words I can’t understand like cardiac arrest and double bypass. I’m a petite brunette with a mop of hair and a penchant for pink, frilly dresses. The only concept I grasp is the fact that a gentle, kindhearted woman will take care of me for a few days.

I’m 25. I work a desk job in Boston. There’s a view of downtown to my left, and a mug of coffee just right of a keyboard where a collection of succulents reside. I’m not good at my job. In fact, I think I’m horrible at it.

I can’t say I need to slow down because that would make me weak. I can’t say I’m a mess because that would make me a failure.

Unable to admit my shortcomings, I eventually quit and a sense of defeat—something writers know too well—looms.

These events seem unrelated, but they are very much intertwined. Many of the times I think I’m strong and resilient, when I refuse to slow down or accept reality, I’m not serving my highest self. Opportunities speed by like a hairy rat zipping across a restaurant floor, careening for the nearest hole in the wall to avoid its obsolesce.

I can see the impatient driver ahead in the distance.

It might seem like someone is passing us by, that life is passing us by, and sometimes it is. Some people are ahead.

What matters is taking a moment to absorb the space around you. Only when you slow down can you see we’re all going to the same place, and we all get there eventually.


Author: Irene W. Yukash

Image: zenjazzygeek/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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