Thoughts on Slowing Down from Jennifer R. Hubbard (and Me!)
Jennifer R. Hubbard posted here on taking time off, not pushing quite as hard to always be running. As usual, Jenn’s thoughts are clear and on target, and–as often happens–she hit a chord with me.
I’m not sure at what stage, life gets less busy. I’ve watched my parents since they sold their veterinary practice and–if they’re any indicator–it doesn’t happen during retirement. And, like Jenn says, I’m not sure I want to have fewer things going on in my life. I like the things have going. I want to keep them. Or, possibly, trade one in for another, slightly different variant.
It has become crystal clear to me that I can’t keep going at full-speed, like I have for so many years. People told me that, as my son got older, I’d start to feel like time with him at home was fading and precious, and I’m sure that has something to do with it. And, yes, stress is bad for my health; yes, it makes me a less pleasant person to be around; no, it doesn’t help me accomplish more.
Here’s the big thing, though: I don’t like it.
But it’s taken me some years to get here. I had a quiet teenage life, and some pretty dull twenties. Honestly, as much as I love my son and always have, the baby years were not exactly stimulating for me. (Be careful what you ask for: See Teenage Years, PLENTY Stimulating!). And I think, when I had a chance to “come back,” to step into the life I had that I finally wanted, I went with filling up that empty space and time.
As I said, I’m still doing that. I’m writing and editing and marketing and “housekeeping” (Quotes: The way I do it, I don’t think you can call it the real thing!). I just took on a volunteer position that
I hope should to me stepping back into the earning-money work-work world in a year or so. Something I very much want to do.
But, yeah. Things are just going to keep getting busier.
Which, I’m starting to see, means I have to make the slow times happen. I have to let myself actually stop for lunch, with a book (of course). I have to let myself stay with that book for a few minutes after I’m done. I have to remind myself to listen to music and dance (well, sometimes it just happens, okay!). I have to keep doing the yoga and using it to set my state-of-mind to s…l…o…w…e…r for the rest of the day.
Okay, I have to stop using “have to” and remember to switch that to “get to.”
I get to relax.
As Jenn says, it’s a rich life. Let’s enjoy it.
Always a struggle – to embrace life without stressing out! Thanks for the reminder.
i loved the teen years with my kids and yes, I felt like I was losing something precious the whole time. Indeed I was. But I love the empty nest too!
I can definitely see empty-next pluses, but there’s that feeling of maximizing the time before then, yes? Plus, I figure it can’t hurt to learn to take things slower now, for that time–when I’m back working, etc!
Thanks for linking! And I hope you’re able to find your optimal mix of activity and rest.
Working on it! 🙂