Slow it Down

When I was a child my father used to complain about how slow I was. Slow to eat; slow to walk; slow to learn.

As an adult I have tended towards being ultra speedy—perhaps it’s a hangover from those early years. Through my twenties and thirties I was always on the go, rushing to get things done. Trying to pack as much into a 17-hour day as possible.

But lately I have had to slow it down, go back to those unhurried days of childhood.

I have been compelled to stop, look up, and breathe in the moment.

Because in “get things done” mode I was missing out on life.

I wish I could say there was one pivotal moment that changed everything. Those tend to make for great stories—and we all love a good story.

But no. The change for me has been so gradual there have been days where I’ve felt like I’ve inched forward as slowly as a snail.

It has been the process of growing older and taking small bites out of great pieces of wisdom—books, mentors, spirituality—that have contributed to the gradual unraveling of my authentic self. Tweet this

A few weeks ago I turned forty. It took me several years to accept this mid-way point in life would soon be here. I thought I hadn’t achieved enough or even matured enough to reach middle age. And so for a while I panicked.

It was incomprehensible to me that I could have come so far in linear years without really knowing who I was. If you had asked me at the age of 36 about my core desires or values, I wouldn’t have had a clue.

The girl inside—the one I had disconnected from long ago—was a stranger

This realization was depressing. I wasn’t concerned about wrinkles and sagging body parts; I was concerned with the lack of meaning that seemed to frame my life.

And I guess you could say this was the turning point.

In panic mode I began to seek out the path to change. I made an effort to engage in pastimes that weren’t on my “get things done” list, such as journaling, photography, spirituality and reading books on self-growth. All things I believed would connect me to my inner being.

But despite the intention, I found it challenging to commit to the practice. Because I was coming from a place of “I should do this” rather than “I want to do this.”

Don’t get me wrong; I greatly desired to do all of these things. Desperately.

But “shoulding” on myself wasn’t the way to go about it. Trying to make creative time something I slotted into my agenda sent any chance of creativity out the window. I allowed these things to become a chore—just another item to add to the list.

At the beginning of this year, knowing forty would soon be greeting me at the door, I made a commitment to do life in the most wholesome way possible. This has meant a paradigm shift in perspective.

It has meant being kind to myself and easing up on the agenda.

It has meant accepting the reality that taking the time to connect with myself might just be the most important thing I do all day.

I’ve gone from journaling as a forced pastime, which ultimately then rarely happened, to choosing a daily practice of connection with self (journaling, prayer, reading) from my heart’s desire.

And in committing to this practice from a place of want, it has become a place of joy.

One hour in the morning. This has been a game changer for me.

Sometimes a life event, such as the death of a loved one can shock us into change. And sometimes change is a gentle nudge that happens over many seasons. Tweet this

In truth, the dawning of a new decade has come as a much needed blessing for me. An awakening to the fact that life isn’t an eternal road ahead and time is slipping by more quickly than I can keep track.

I have great expectations for my forties.

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Photo credit: Kymberly Janisch via photopin cc

About Claire De Boer

Claire De Boer is a writer, editor and mentor with a passion for how story connects and heals us. She writes and offers one-on-one mentoring at www.thegiftofwriting.com and is a certified Journal to the Self® instructor. Visit her blog to download your free eBook: Why Writing Your Story Could Be The Most Important Thing You Ever Do.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for your entry about slowing down and Happy 40th.

    I am desperately working on the exact same things you write about…at age 61. Many regrets, but slowly and surely I hope to move forward ar a sails pace, which is great!

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