Look and Slow Down

There’s been a growing appreciation for motivational speeches and insights about ourselves. It’s funny how we know all these principles and ideas that remind us and ground us yet we’re so surprised when we hear these simple facts. I feel it’s due to the fast-paced world in which we live in now. It’s all about chasing the next thing, looking forward, figuring out plans to come. There doesn’t feel like there’s time to slow down and focus on what’s going on in the present. It’s as if we don’t realize what’s happening within ourselves. We feel like we simply can’t afford to. I would equate this to the dilemma of a race car driver during a race: he knows he should probably stop for a tune-up but resists and may decide to forgo the pit stop because he feels that it is time he cannot afford to spend; the tradeoff doesn’t seem worth it. Instead of pulling over and getting the necessary tune-ups, he continues on in the race in order to not fall behind.

A lot of us are feeling this catch 22 effect of keeping up a pace quick enough to not fall behind in life, to succeed and such: Looking up ahead (the only way to maintain a fast pace without crashing into something unexpected) prevents us from, excuse the redundant phrase, smell[ing] the roses. Sure we anticipate what lies ahead by recognizing the obstacles in our way, where we currently stand and by evaluating how we’ll get from point A to point B. In other words, we know what elements exist in our lives. But the key difference here is that at such a fast pace, we’re only able to get a sense of the outside. We see the physicalities and the space that they take up in our lives, but as far as how they can potentially affect and are affecting us, we have no clue.

But if we did take the time to evaluate ourselves, really take the time to appreciate and enjoy day-to-day life and not just save that outlook and mode of feeling for “someday” or those vacations that are few and far in between, we would perceive that our place in the world has diminished. We would feel like that momentum we had accumulated and the time it took to gather that pace is going to waste. We would then feel we were at a standstill while we stopped to gather the energy and focus to build up the fuel to rev that engine and start moving again. That extra time taken to start up again is not a place we are comfortable being in. We feel that this pace that we strive to maintain is trivial to our success, our security, and in defining who we are.

Basically, the catch 22 we feel: we need to make money in able to enjoy life. But in order to make a living, we need to match and sustain the fast pace in which the world functions. At such a pace, we feel we can’t take the time to enjoy life without feeling inadequate. We fill this void by putting more focus on making money. And thus, the perpetual cycle of emptiness and feeling lost circulates.

[Note: when I speak about the world, I only mean first world countries. You know, the world I live in. I would be arrogant to speak about a world I virtually know nothing about. (I am fed information that would lead me to believe I know about the way third world countries operate, but I feel that I would have to experience it for myself to really know. I don’t believe everything the media tells me to believe. More on that another time.)]

We’re caught up in this paradox the man-made world has inevitably led us to. Unfortunately, there is no way to create more hours in your day. And there is no way you can forgo on sleep and maintain your best optimal abilities. The good news is, God willing, we have a good set amount of time to live. That’s right, to live. That means experiencing the true meaning and purpose of being alive, which I hope you would agree is to enjoy, love, and feel. That catch 22 up there that I mentioned? It’s not ironclad. Notice how I said we feel this catch 22.

Fortunately, we have the ability to experience all that life has to offer while continuing to succeed and make progress in our career goals and endeavors. You can make money and feel secure while simultaneously striving to preserve the real purposes of living. (I stress the importance of the vice versa here as well) We don’t have to feel lost in ourselves. Thankfully, we have these amazing teams of people who spin out messages to us that remind us who we are and to pay attention to and to take care of ourselves. All we have to do is take that time to listen, incorporate that into our mentality, and remember to not forget. That will make all the difference. So let’s cheers to a healthy, successful life full of love, enjoyment, excitement, vibrancy, and above all, awareness. Here’s to feeling whole and knowing we are not alone. We all have each other. Slow down and enjoy the ride together.