Slow Down, Chick

Know anyone who doesn’t seem to get the message, no matter how often the Universe tries to send it? Gently at first, then a little harder. Then wham! Got it now?

Yeah, apparently I’m one of those slow learners.

After a band concert, I was rushing to clean up from fundraisers I had helped run. Was it all up to me? Of course not. Still, moving at my usual 90 miles an hour, I came winging around the corner and headed down the hall.

“Hey, where’s the fire?” one of my favorite recent grads asked. “Slow down!” He gave me that “slow down” hand gesture.

I stopped in my tracks. He was right, and I told him so.

I walked at a normal pace, but it got me thinking. I did. I did need to slow down. Why did I rush like that? Did I think I didn’t contribute if I wasn’t going as fast as possible to cover as many bases as possible? Probably, since that thought popped into my head when I asked myself why.

Was that the end? Oh, no, too easy.

I caught myself rushing unnecessarily over the next month or so. I’d remind myself what he’d said and slow down—for a bit. But did I get it? Apparently not.

I’m sitting here typing this with my feet up because of a broken toe. The top of my foot is black and blue, and I’m in a crazy amount of pain. Why? Yep, I was rushing. I had just gotten home from hot yoga (oh, the irony) and was hurrying to get into the shower. Almost no shower is better than one after hot yoga, and I did have things to do, but still. The thing I plowed into—had it moved? Did I know it was there? No, and yes. It was right where it had been for two and a half years.

I meditate every morning. I know how to be still and calm. I truly love those moments. But I’m afraid I only give lip-service to living in the moment. I’ve read about it, studied it, worked with a wonderful life coach on it. And I’ve tried. Still today, though, I’m moving too fast.

“Patience, grasshoppa,” someone said to me just an hour ago. I replied that it wasn’t my strong suit, with an LOL, of course. Still. Still. How many messages does one woman need? And are we even going to discuss my recent spate of speeding tickets after not getting any in over 20 years? Suddenly, bottom of the hill, speed traps everywhere—and I’m racking them up. Or was. That lesson I learned. I use cruise control all the time now and really watch it.

However, I know there’s more to this whole thing than just the cost of tickets. And I don’t really want to put my whole life on cruise control.

What would life be like if I truly savored the moments? If I breathed them in? Fully, deeply, feeling it? The thought scares me a little, I admit. I don’t want to be any less passionate and engaged in the things I do. I don’t want to give any less. I have to still come straight from the heart.

What makes me think that only I can contribute, that I have to do it all, at the fastest possible pace? The reality is that it doesn’t add value. It doesn’t make it better for me or anyone else. It makes me miss out. I know of moments I’ve missed. I can think of things I’ve wanted badly, that I realize I missed the cues on because I was already mentally jumping ahead.

Pause. Stop. Shut up. Breathe. Pay attention. Just slow down.

Let’s see, after I’m able to be fully mobile again, if this chick finally gets it.    

About the Author | Jacquelin Pinilla

Jacquelin is a retired Navy wife; a mother of three; and a woman trying to find her place again. With a sophomore in college, a junior in high school, and a middle schooler, she thinks it's time to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up! Since settling back in Virginia after 20 years of moving, she's found herself on a whole different journey—a journey to, and from, her heart. She has to say that even with all the traveling she's done, this has been the best trip yet! And it's nowhere near over.

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