Have you ever wondered why everyone is in a hurry then realise that you are also rushing? Once I stopped to analyse it, it became clear that I had fallen into the same mode of rushing and being grouchy for no logical reason. Without blaming myself, it’s much easier to blame everything and everyone else for being in the way. Often, I felt like I was rushing through life without taking the time to enjoy it. I have friends who travel around the world without enjoying the beautiful experiences because they are rushing to see all the tourist sites on their to-do lists.
Rushing seems like the norm for many people, but there is no real reason. We are all probably guilty of rushing. We rush to get to work or school, we rush through our lunch breaks, we drag our dogs around on their walk of leisure, we rush to pick up our children from day-care, and then we rush home to spend time with our family or partners while rushing to prepare dinner, do laundry, or answer a few hundred emails. When out and about running errands, I remind myself that picking up a loaf of bread from the local grocery store should not be a rush job. The message to the brain works and you will feel things start to slow down, especially if it’s not urgent.
A good example is when we wake up late, knowing there is a scheduled meeting at work or a medical appointment. Often, I would jump in the car, driving like a mad person screaming at all the other drivers for being in my way who were obviously rushing too. At least my car windows were closed, and no one could hear the angry words that bounced around. Yep, one more thing to be grateful for on most days.
Yesterday, I overslept because I haven’t been able to sleep well in months because of side effects from a medication. Once my eyes opened, I could feel the pressure to jump out of bed, clean myself up, eat something very quickly, and rush out of the house to get to my medical appointment. Once I got to the tram stop, I found myself out of breath and sweating nonstop. The tram was late, and I could feel the stress crawling up my neck as the voices in my head started screaming, “Where is the damn tram, and why is it late?” Once on public transportation, my mind remembered to remind me to chill out and look for a solution. Almost immediately, the voice simply whispered, call the medical centre to let them know you are running late and if it would be a problem. They were happy to hear from me and told me to take my time and NOT to “rush”. Almost instantly, my mind, body, and soul started to relax, so I sat back and enjoyed the beautiful views of the city.
Even as a little boy, I was never in a hurry to go anywhere except when I would hear the music coming from the ice cream truck. As a child project manager, I learned to plan and schedule events. Each day the ice cream truck stopped on my street at 2:00p so I made a mental note of the time so that I wouldn’t have to rush to the streets, but with planning, I would be waiting at 1:55p so I could be the first in line. Soon, my playmates would arrive at our house early so we could play and slowly walk to our designated spot and discuss our flavour for the day. Would it be chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and how many scoops?
Often our minds may push us into rushing to achieve what we want our future to look like. The surprising part is that we often miss living in the present. I can remember literally jumping up and down about being an exchange student in Rome, Italy for 12 months. It was my first time out of America, I was young and naive. Once in Italy the rush addiction kicked in and I would travel every weekend by hitchhiking so I could see as many countries as possible that I could check off my long list of places. Today, my biggest regret was rushing to do things without understanding the reason or taking the time to enjoy all the beauty around me.
While living in Paris I learned a valuable lesson that became a major part of my life and who I am today. One of my best friends living there lectured me on missing out on life because of my desire to push, shove, and rush around his beautiful city. It’s amazing what true friends can say to each other because it comes from a place of genuine love. I would rush to meet other friends for lunch or dinner and would usually be the only one at the designated spot for at least 30 to 60 minutes. It was difficult to hide my anger. Once again, they all lectured me and shared their thoughts about rushing through life. Finally, the light bulb went off in my head while they gathered around to give me a big hug. We are all still the best of friends.
Rushing was an ongoing discussion with work colleagues. Many shared that we rush around because there are too many things on our plates. At the time we all considered the idea of having a serving platter instead of a plate, but soon realised that it would also get crowded, and the issue of rushing would keep growing. We worked together to create a realistic to-do list with realistic start and end dates to keep our team on track. Lessons in life taught me that every good plan should be flexible, allowing for positive feedback, changes, and recommendations to make it even better. Once you try it a few times, it becomes a positive habit to complete tasks to reach your goals.
Quite often I feel compelled to keep up with what my friends and peers are doing. It can be watching the latest television crime series, being aware of the latest fashion, having the latest gadgets, the best jamming sounds, learning more about Chat GPT/AI, or whatever is trending on the internet. The fear of missing out is powerful. Fear of missing out or FOMO is the feeling of apprehension that one is either not in the know about or missing out on information, events, experiences, or life decisions that could make one’s life better.
If we do something enough times, it can become a positive or negative habit. Rushing can become a habit without thinking about how we are being affected. It’s easy to assume when we look around us that rushing is the norm. It takes self-awareness and commitment to ourselves to change our daily routines. The benefit of slowing down has the power to reduce stress, help us to create priorities, and enjoy life to the fullest. It helps to have fun times with friends. Remember, laughter is the best medicine for the soul.