Over the past six months or so, a reoccurring theme has been generating in front of me. Maybe you’ve had a similar thing happen, where you receive a series of messages that have to do with a related idea or subject.
This particular one started in line at the grocery store where I was no doubt in a hurry to get in and out of the store in the shortest amount of time possible. An older gentleman and I arrived at the checkout space at the same time, each of us with just a few items. We had the awkward moment where we were deciding who was going first and then the man said, “Go ahead, I stopped being in a hurry a long time ago”. Bam. Instant realization that there was a lesson coming from experience and wisdom. I liked it and resolved to hang on to the teaching, but it got blurred by the time I walked out the door.
A few months later I was at the gym on one of the weight machines. I was attempting to get in a full workout within a limited window of time, when suddenly an older guy I’d never seen at the gym before said, “Slow down!” He took me by surprise and I couldn’t answer by the time he repeated it again, “Slow down.” He had probably noticed I was pressed for time and trying to have a speedy workout. I laughed and said, “Yes, trying to get a quick workout in.” But that didn’t satisfy him, so he pressed on, “Slow down, you’ll get more out of it!” Instantly the recognition of wisdom of how to not only maximize use of the weight machine, but wisdom about life.
“Slow down, you’ll get the most out of it.” Yeah, that one needed to stay and become a part of me. Properly living and savoring moments, experiences, and life.
Shortly after the gym incident, I was speed walking through a parking lot from my vehicle to a store. With my head down I was stopped again by an older man who was passing by and said, “Slow down son……and smile.” I looked up and did exactly that while thanking him for the sage advice. Boom. There it was again. Slow. Down.
One of these incidents on it’s own is a good reminder, but three of them within a short period of time is a message. I got it. Message received. There were also other smaller incidents that revolved around the same theme. Now I have to remind myself to slow down, create enough time and space to not be in a hurry, and manage my time better so I won’t be pressed for it. Imagine the stress that would take off and the peace it could give.
I found it interesting that each of these messages were delivered by older gentlemen in their 70’s and 80’s. How many times in my life had I received advice from someone older only to realize many years later that they were absolutely correct, and wishing I would have heeded their advice sooner? Many times.
This lesson has to be taken in, practiced, and lived out. While I’m not going to be driving my car 35 in a 50 (let’s not get crazy!), I can take steps to leave earlier so I don’t have to be in hurry. To arrive at appointments earlier. To enjoy the moment and the day while not being consumed about the hours and days ahead. To take the time to look around and enjoy the scenery. To savor life and live it more to the full. Continue to work hard and efficiently of course, but with a more purposeful pace.
Our culture will tell us just the opposite, but by slowing down, I believe we can truly get more out of this life. And as a result, be in a better position to enhance the life of others.