Photo: Bernardo Ricci Armani
You don’t realize how fast life is moving until you slow down. This thought came to me on a morning jog as I crossed a freeway overpass, where vehicles rushed past beneath me.
When you’re in one of those vehicles on the freeway, it doesn’t feel like you’re going all that fast. You’re just keeping up with traffic. But if you get a flat tire and have to pull off to the shoulder, you definitely notice the speed of the vehicles whizzing by.
I found the same to be true when I got stuck on a little island while tubing down a river once. The rope tying a water jug to my tube snagged a branch, stopping my tube cold. Water rushed through the tube and around my ankles as I struggled to free my jug. When I failed at that, I worked to untie the jug from my tube and left the jug clinging to the branch. Fighting the current wore me out. I had to get free.
Ironically, while going with the flow in that situation, I felt relaxed. It was only when I stood still and fought the current that it affected me. In that instance, going with the current was a good thing.
I’m not convinced, though, that the busyness of life is a good thing. Sometimes I need a break from it.
My husband has always been a big proponent of taking an annual vacation. He knows the importance of slowing down. Earlier this year, we had the privilege of taking a transatlantic cruise that afforded us six consecutive days at sea, disconnected from the internet. It was a time of unwinding. We experienced things out of the ordinary and freed our minds. Disengaging from social media and other distractions made us focus on other things.
After that trip, it took us a good two days or more to get back up to speed with our normal busy lives. Today, we’re back with the flow, but we have renewed energy and fresh perspectives, thanks to the time away.
Occasionally slowing down can be very beneficial to your psyche. Initiating such an endeavor can be difficult, but I haven’t met anyone who regretted doing so.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"