It was a beautiful, sunny Thursday afternoon.  The kind where you roll the windows down and blast your favorite summer tunes.  I had just gotten a massage and needed to stop at the local grocery store for the last few items I needed to make dinner that night for my partner and I.  

I parked my car, opened up the door, and darted into the market. From the moment my feet touched the epoxy floors, I was in “go” mode.

I sped walked through every aisle, quickly grabbing the items I needed all the while dashing between customers, carts, and food displays.

I rushed to the nearest self-checkout kiosk and briskly rang up each of my groceries.  Not wanting to spend the time bagging my items, I crumpled the receipt in my hand and haphazardly shoved every grocery into my arms.

I gave a brief have-a-good-day head nod to the market manager and breezed out of the store.

It wasn’t until I stopped outside of the store’s entrance to check for cars before crossing into the parking lot that I realized just how quickly I had done my shopping.  I had moved so fast that my heart was beating noticeably harder within my chest and I was taking shorter, shallower breaths.

I paused, took a long deep breath, and laughed as I sank into the reality of that moment.

I just ran through the grocery store like a mad man just to go home and do absolutely nothing.

I didn’t have work to tend to, chores to do, or any activities planned.  My partner was still at work and I wasn’t set to meet up with any friends or family members.  I didn’t even have a TV show queued up to watch upon my return.

I was rushing to go nowhere.

This seemingly small recognition has affected me deeply in the days to follow.

How many times have I breezed through one moment of life just to get to the next?

How often have I created a false sense of urgency within myself?

Why is it that I am always rushing?

It has been a little less than a week since “the grocery store incident” and almost everyday I have caught myself wanting to rush.

Some examples (if I am being brutally honest with y’all):

~Sitting at a coffee shop with my partner playing a game of chess and wanting to rush onto the next thing on our agenda: a trip to the bookstore

~Going out on my evening walk and wanting to speed through it so I could get the miles in quicker (even though I had no plans for the rest of the night)

~Laying in a hammock in the park trying to enjoy the gorgeous day, yet still wanting to mentally plan every trip I am going on in the next year

~Sitting down at my laptop to do some work and wanting to type at the speed of light to get everyone the answers they needed (even though it was a weekend and no one was working)

My desire to unnecessarily rush stems from a decade-long habit of mindlessly rushing.  It is a normal state of being for me: to move, think, and act quickly.

But how has this served me?

Do I really get more done because I am doing things more quickly?

Sure doesn’t feel like it because the to-do list never dies.

Do I feel more accomplished and fulfilled at the end of the day?

Definite no on this one.

Do I have more free time because I was able to rush through my day’s tasks in 3 hours instead of 4?

Nope, because my brain just moves on to tomorrow’s to-do list to try to “get ahead.”  Doesn’t matter if I finished today’s work because I am already rushing into tomorrow’s.

This “go, go, go” mentality hasn’t served me even in the slightest and, still, I never realized that this was a habit I had until now.

This habit of rushing has been engrained into the very way I exist as a human on this Earth.  I have been doing it for so long that I never once recognized how negatively it has been affecting my life.

I don’t want to always be on the move.

I don’t want to miss out on making beautiful memories with the people I love because my mind is already moving onto the next.

I don’t want to be incapable of having restorative leisure time.

Instead, I want to enjoy the slow, quiet moments of life.

I want to be fully present with the people that mean the most to me.

I want to feel settled, relaxed, and in awe of life.

I want to savor my experiences and surrender to stillness when it is time to rest.

And so I will.

This past week, I have made a conscious effort to slow down and appreciate more.  I have continuously questioned my need to rush.  I have given myself permission to take more time to move through my work.  I have delegated where necessary.  I have felt more alive and more joyful than I have in a long time because I am finally immersed in the true essence of my life.

Some questions for you to reflect upon daily if you, too, find yourself moving through life too quickly:

~Why am I rushing?  Is it truly necessary?

~Does this really need to be done today or can it wait?

~Am I paying attention?  Am I actually present in this moment?

~Can I move even slower?  Can I enjoy this even more?

We live in a world that praises and encourages speed: speedy work, speedy service, speedy experiences.  But is this supporting how we want to feel within our lives?  Is it true to the desires of our hearts?

If you are craving a more intentional, rejuvenating, and spacious existence, consider this your permission slip to step into it.  Allow the rushing to dissolve into a daily practice of presence.  You can choose differently for your life…always.

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