I remember someone once telling me to slow down. Though I can’t remember much of the conversation and can wax poetic on almost any subject, it’s important to note this happened over thirty years ago. While you might just laugh me off as another pontificating Baby Boomer, I still hope you read the rest of my post. And while I can’t promise to save your life, maybe you’ll get something out of this that can help.
Back when I was proud of doing more things before ten in the morning than most people did in a week. Back when I zoomed through yellow lights and drove hundreds of miles a day while beating back deadlines in pursuit of the dollar. Back when I had to look great, smell great and carry a briefcase to impress others who were probably not that impressed. Back when I attempted to build a career that came tumbling down when a family member got sick. Back when I tried patching the pain with dinner parties, shopping and travel. Back when funerals made me bury what was left of my heart, putting myself even deeper into work and raising my blood pressure to sky-high proportions. Back when the doctor said, stop immediately or die. (This actually happened twice, with two doctors first in 1996 and again in 2005. They both said the same thing, except one of them said it with an accent.)
Stop. Immediately? Were these doctors insane? I couldn’t just stop. Wouldn’t I naturally slow down from age anyway? But here’s the kicker: What’s old to you and your family is not always old to others and yes, some folks are working their awesome genes right into their nineties. Contributing to society sounds better than waiting for the next shuffleboard tournament and besides, I have definite objectives for my future too. These are adjusted goals with room to breathe and healthy doses of exercise and sun.
We all have bills and family obligations and trust me when I say I’ve spent years trying to slow down. This beautiful summer morning as the sun crept under the shades and the puppies whined about getting their kibble, I listened to the freeway noise and thought about everyone hurrying around like busy little ants. I thought about that horrid feeling when the weight of the world is on your shoulder and instead of stepping aside and letting someone else call a tow truck, you continue to plow along pushing yourself into exhaustion. Sometimes there is no truck; no pulleys, not even trap doors leading to an escape. Brave and daring you hurry along facing the future like a dynamo, a superhero, an iron-man or woman. But today, if you get a chance to smell those flowers or decide on eating something healthier than fast food, remember today won’t come back. Enjoy the day and try to slow down. How many doctors will have to tell you to stop?