Slow Down, You’re Moving Too Fast
I live my life in the fast lane and I’ve done this for more years than I care to remember. I think it started around 1990 when I found myself caring for four children who were five and under, and an elderly aunt who had a stroke that affected her physically and mentally. I lost any opportunity for time for me, apart from one afternoon a week when I got someone from Crossroads to give me a break from the care, when I could then at least focus on the children. It was hard in hindsight but when you’re faced with these things, you just do it – and I learned to squeeze “me” time in by locking the bathroom door when I went to the toilet just so I could read a line or a sentence in a book. The habit of squeezing things in “now” because I didn’t know when I’d got the chance again began – and was honed so well over the years that some friends told me I had 48 hours in my day, or lived in a Time Tardis. I could do it all, and much of it at the same time. I may not have officially belonged to a circus (though it felt like that many a day) but I was a fantastic juggler. Exasperated a colleague sitting near me one day asked, “do you ever just do nothing?”
Me. Do nothing? Alien concept; even more so with an Iphone with it’s various Apps, with the chance to check Facebook, emails, Twitter accounts, read books, check the news on one of 20 sites, play games. So when I said this year was going to be a “year of balance and outrageous joy,” I headed straight into the busiest 12 weeks of my life, and found I could find even more space for “doing,” – but not for balance, and not for being. I’m a doing person, not a being person – and I know now that there needs to be a balance in that as well, and I’m grateful for the friends and family who’ve been frank with me about my schedules, and to the Universe for intervening and enforcing rest through my fractured/bruised ankle. Hey, if you don’t listen, the Universe makes you, and I should know that by now! And not just because I’m reminded often that I’m a “human being not a human doing.”
I needed that time out, to think through what I was going to do next, which of the many hats in front of me I would choose to wear, if any – because there were lotsof hats to choose from. I don’t think I’m ever going to be a person who just does one thing; I’m naturally very curious and therefore also find it harder to focus – and am envious of my friends who focus easily. There is so much I could do – but not all of it will be right for me, and when I got frustrated at the not-knowing, my friend Jane wisely told me to see this period as a time of fallow, to let the earth rest. Soon enough, she said, it would be clear what was going to grow. And she was right; she often is. I can see that there are three clear strands to what I will do, with Hearts Matter focussing on interventions to change behaviours, with Heart of Journaling\Happiness Virus focussing on journaling and happiness (and bringing them both together), and then my regular job which I still love to do. The three hats look quite nice, I’ve just some more figuring out to do.
Taking Time To Figure Things Out
We all need to figure out things or else life just constantly surprises us. My view is that there’s enough that can happen that you haven’t planned for so you should plan what happens next to a degree, with one eye on the fact it call change in a second. A phonecall, a knock on the door – or whatever else life brings to us – can change everything. So while that’s also a reminder to start working on your bucket list rather than looking at it in it’s nice frame, it’s also about being conscious enough of life passing by that we make what we can of it. And what makes each of us happy or fires up our passion is as unique as we all are. It’s taken me many years to start to learn this lesson – some people instintively seem to know that you need to build time into your life to figure things out. Like Max – who’s 8 years old. He’s the autistic cousin of Jan Phillips (and like me, you can follow her Museletter at www.janphillips.com
). At a family reunion last year, when it was time for the kid’s games, he just sat looking at the clouds, so she went to him and said, “”Hey Max, aren’t you gonna get in the races?”
I’m afraid I made too many friends,” he said from up on his rock.
“Too many friends? How’d that happen?” I asked.
“Do you realize every single person has a totally unique personality?” he said.
“Yeah, I know.”
“Well how am I supposed to deal with that if I have too many friends? I have to take a rest for awhile to figure things out.”
Then she says he happily glanced back up toward the clouds to do his figuring. They say it’s little children who lead us – and so I’m off to look at some clouds, – and to spend a little more time just figuring, looking for fun, and feeling groovy.