“Time. It goes by so fast. SO FAST.”
I distinctly remember these words that my Grandma Ruby spoke often throughout my childhood and even early adulthood.
Looking upon her head of snow-white hair, I always thought that she looked not only prestigious, but wise. After raising nine children and losing her husband, my grandfather, at a young age, she possessed a knowledge about life that I had yet to learn. In hindsight, her intimate knowledge about life and the passage of time was one of those lessons she had learned and was discreetly trying to pass onto me.
Like many young people, I wanted time to speed everything up. In junior high, I anxiously awaited its passing so I could head to high school. Of course, in the throes on high school, all I wanted was for time to fast-forward so that I could get to college. Unsurprisingly, once I found myself there, I was again not content with where I was, and I studied and worked hard to close that gap of time spent in college so that I could graduate early and enter the workforce.
Marriage, kids, career changes, relocation.
Maybe time flew by so quickly because we’ve been in the thick of it, the years of life that are overflowing with change and growth, new life and new experiences, but in these past few years, there’s been a seismic shift in my being. The girl who wanted to hit fast-forward and was always looking ahead on the horizon for the next big life change, the next transition, is suddenly trying to pull the emergency break on time.
I realize now, of course, just how right my grandmother was. Time does, indeed, go by so fast. But as I reflect upon the speed with which it flies, I also recognize that we’re living in an age where everything seems to be happening at warp speed. News travels around the world in a moment’s notice. Our communication with people is just one keyboard click away, shortening the distance of the message and the time it takes to connect. Don’t get me wrong…I love technology. I love connecting with people around the world and how it allows me to share God’s message. And I’ll be honest….there’s something almost magical about placing my grocery order online and scheduling a time to pick it up curbside. The introvert in me loves being able to shop online and never step foot in a store. Yet…..
As the world continues to move faster and faster, I find myself wanting to slow down more and more. Not just in terms of time itself, but just plain, old, slow down.
To throw down my phone and play with my children. To look at them, truly look at them without my attention being pulled by a text or phone call. To see the entire movie that we’re watching, with undivided attention. To sit face to face with a friend and hear them. Laugh together. Undisturbed. Maybe this is what my grandmother was referring to all along. Knowing how quickly time flies, we need to appreciate the time we have with those we love. Cherish moments. Focus on what’s truly important.
Our fast-paced world challenges us to keep up. To match it in stride. (Of course, there’s the science of how technology has rewired our brains that drives some of this, but that’s a whole other post).
Some days are a struggle, but I’m making a deliberate effort each day to slow down. I refuse to fall in step with our world that keeps spinning faster, and enjoy the people I love, the people I encounter, the place I reside, the places I visit.
I may not be able to slow down the steady march of time, but I can control how I respond to it, how I utilize technology, where my focus truly lies.
Technology will always be a valuable tool in my life, but like any good tool, it has a place and a time. I will continue to use it to enhance my life and work, but use it strategically so that it doesn’t siphon out the precious time I’m given each day.
Putting down my phone and picking up a book, not replying immediately to non-emergent messages, keeping the streaming TV off, experiencing moments and savoring them, rather than posting them on social media, being fully present in my children’s lives and the lives of others, the list could go on and on about how I’ve been trying my hand at slowing down in our hurry up world.
And I like it.
What about you? Have you tried slowing down in our fast-paced world? How’s it working out for you? What lessons have you learned about yourself? If you haven’t yet started the process, what’s one thing you could do today to fall out of step in our world that’s on fast-forward?