Posts Tagged ‘mindful aging’

Slowing Down to the Speed of Life

We have sped through our lives. We’ve tried to “fast forward” ourselves. As a child we couldn’t wait to be older than we were. When my grandson, Alex, turned 5, he told me, “All my life I’ve been waiting to be 5!”

We’ve wished away years of our lives by holding out for different conditions in order to be happy:
-“When I graduate and get a job, then I’ll be happy.”
-“When I find the perfect mate, then I’ll be happy.”
-“When I lose ___ pounds, then I’ll be happy.”
The assumption is that in the intervening time, we will have no choice except to be unhappy.

At some mysterious point, most of us begin to say, “Whoa! Wait a minute. I’m getting older. Maybe it’s not so great and wonderful to be turning 27” (or whatever age it might be). Just as we change our minds and decide we don’t really want to race ahead, we really begin to notice that every year seems to be speeding by at an ever increasing pace.

Everything seems to be a blur. There’s never enough time to get things done at home or at work.

And then at some even later point in life, we find ourselves saying another “Whoa! Maybe there really isn’t going to be time to get everything done in this lifetime!”

This can be a real turning point that invites us to become more discerning about what is truly important to us. Do we really need to keep up with all the Joneses in our lives or do we say, ” I have enough things.”

Perhaps quality time with those we love takes on new significance. We know how short life is because more and more family members and friends are dying way too early. We want to do things that are meaningful for us:

Perhaps we go out of our way to smile more.
Perhaps we really stop to smell the roses.
Perhaps we try to extend kindness to strangers.
Perhaps we find ways to volunteer our time or give our money to
those who have less than we.
Perhaps we just allow ourselves to totally soak in the joy of
being with our grandchildren.

Try this:

Slow yourself down by taking a few deep breaths. Invite any areas of tension in your body to relax and let go.
(Notice that everything slows down when you bring yourself into the present moment in this way.)
When you relax and slow down you can think more clearly.
Ask yourself, “At this point in my life, what do I would I like to be of utmost importance to me? What do I no longer need to be doing? How can I make this happen?

You might need to come back to these questions every so often to revise the answers.