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  • Writer's picturePat Birnie

I Have A Problem - Maybe You Have a Solution?

For as long as I can remember if have been told to "slow down, stop running, take your time...." you get it, I'm sure. Unless you are on the opposite end of the spectrum, and your loved ones ask you to move it along? There is so much to be done, so much life to live, how can I not rush?


I stayed with a dear aunt and uncle when I was 5, while my mom was in hospital delivering my brother, the 5th and last child in our family. Our house full of kids was noisy and busy. On the other hand Uncle Frank and Aunt Pauline were reserved and quiet, with two children (older than me) who were also reserved and quiet. (How are we even related?!) I suspect my time at their home was like having the tasmanian devil take up residence. (Wait, I just googled that; I was not evil. More of a happy tornado?) Their two story house had a long steep set of stairs, each step capped with an aluminum strip (think 1961) and to fully set the scene, know that there was a cast iron radiator at the bottom of the stairs. My best skill as a kid was to run down stairs so fast that it felt like my feet never touched the steps. I think I may have taken years off dear old auntie's life as it may have sounded like I was being hurled down the stairs with my head aimed for that slab of cast iron. I was finally spoken to very sternly and told to WALK not RUN down the stairs. I tried but it's a little like telling birds not to fly!


Being a fast mover served me well, particularly as a mom of 4 young kids. With everything I had on my plate, the ability to shower, dress, and dry my hair in under 10 minutes came in very handy! Man, could I accomplish a lot in a few short hou

Now as a mostly retired person, living only with my husband, I have to ask myself "what's the rush?" Don't get me wrong, I relax plenty. Since we left home for Mexico on December 31, I have read 17 books, napped most days and done lot of swimming in the ocean. What I have the most trouble with now is freeing up my mind. I need to always be reading or listening to something. I feel that I am not truly savouring the beautiful things in life. Reading, for example. One of my favourite bloggers, Nicole writes about her family, her dog and life in general. She finishes most posts with a few book reviews (which I gobble up and generally reserve said books at the library). This morning she wrote this about a book: "Oh wow, this book! I was mesmerized. I read this very slowly because I needed to absorb every single word, and I reread many pages a few times." That! I wish to savour books rather than hurrying on to the next. (Goal #1)





As I mull over the benefits of being a little more intentional and allowing my mind to wander, I'll share a few of the tools & examples I found.


  • Intentional Pauses -- For example, pause, and think before answering a question. (I have always admired and aspired to this "skill" -- I tend to blurt things out and then think. This I tell you is a work in process!)


  • Disconnect from technology -- I do turn my phone of every night, and avoid screens one hour before bedtime, however I have found that I have to be listening to something (usually a podcast) whenever I, run or even cook. This isn't terrible, but thinking & having our mind free is good for many reasons; creativity, stress reduction and more. Goal # 2 -- allow for some free thinking. (Update! I took a break and went for a walk to a few local markets and didn't bring my phone or ear buds. I hate to admit how difficult this was, but baby steps right?)


  • Take 3 Slow, Deep Breaths and fully exhale. (Goal #3) Once more, something I KNOW is healthy, but yes once again an ongoing goal, a work in progress.


If rushing through life sounds familiar, you may want to read the full article on tips to slow down, here. If you have tips for me or have successfully slowed yourself down I want to hear about it. You know where to reach me!!


I'll get started with just these three goals, because , you know, I don't want to rush things:)


Warmly, Pat xo

patbirnie55@gmail.com

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