Adventure 10/52: Slow i n g d o w n

vacation mode

If only I could be in vacation mode all the time...

So, I haul a$$. There’s just no other way to say it. Doesn’t matter if I have a destination or not, I walk like I needed to be there FIVE MINUTES AGO, people. Outta my way!

If I had to pinpoint where this all started, my guess is college. Far from overprotective parents, I could finally walk places after dark, all by my lonesome. Since I’m five feet tall on a good day, I realized I needed to adopt a don’t-mess-with-me glare and accompanying pace. It also helped me get to my 8 am Calculus class, give or take a few minutes.

A few weeks ago I realized that this mad rush is not limited to my gait … it’s taken over my entire life. It’s not unusual for me to drive 20 miles over the speed limit on my way to work. I practically attack the keyboard when I’m typing emails. I often find myself taking the first chance to end a conversation, in person and on the phone. This is a rather embarrassing discovery for a yogini to make. It’s not like I can’t be mindful and move through life with intention, but it’s sadly just not my default mode.

In an effort to reset my internal speedometer, I spent a few weeks in slow mode. (Because just a few days would be rushing things, right?!) I intentionally picked the slowest grocery line, walked behind the slowest person possible on the path from the parking garage to my office, lingered over a discussion, and drove the speed limit. When I remembered, and when I felt like I could do so without losing my mind.

This was by far the toughest adventure I’ve undertaken, and probably my least successful one in terms of accomplishing my goal. I did make some important observations:

-Because I’m so used to rushing, I place myself in situations that force me to continue in that pattern … I sleep in, I leave my office a few minutes after I should for a meeting, I leave my house later than I should to get somewhere … the list goes on.

-Even so, most of my rushing is habitual rather than necessary. Do I really have to speed-walk to the kitchenette to wash my apple for lunch?

-That pop-up window in Outlook that alerts me to new email is PURE EVIL! The best outcome of this adventure is that I finally took a few minutes to figure out how to turn it off. I still see the little envelope icon when new email comes in, but it’s less distracting.

I’d like to say this adventure has a happy ending, but it’s too early to say. At least I’m more aware of when I’m rushing, and feel a little more inclined to stop myself when it’s unnecessary. I even called in well this morning so I could take a walk with my dog, practice yoga, and sit outside to journal. Maybe there is hope for me.