Have you ever paid attention to what happens after a plane lands?
Last night when the plane landed in Honolulu, some folks were clapping. Unsurprisingly, there was the instant clanking of the metal belts being unclipped. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a massive wave of urgency to deplane as I’d viscerally felt when I landed at LaGuardia in New York last September. On that plane, everyone had to assert the urgency to get off the plane by standing and getting their suitcases.
Similar to feeling peer pressure to J-walk across the sidewalk, everyone is determined to get somewhere. No matter where it is, people love acting like time is the most precious thing on this earth.
The tortoise wins against the hare in the end after all right?!
Life isn’t about winning though. Sure, urgency can lead to action, but that is a short-term game I am playing. If I zoom out on the time I have realistically, I can be more intentional with the choices I am making. Direction is more important than speed.
So what is all this rushing actually about?!
Time is *the ultimate commodity*.
We only have 24 hours of it today, tomorrow, and until our deathbeds. It’s easy to look at this constraint with scarcity and create a sense of urgency that drives motivation. (aka to get sh*t done.)
BUT this also makes us look at life in fear of death. Or as my brother sarcastically and philosophically stated during aprés ski last week, “Life is just delaying death.” Talk about morbid, I know.
Having a polar opposite mindset of abundance feels reckless and I don’t know if I would ever *not* procrastinate with that mindset. Exhibit A: Twilight saga’s immortal vampire Edward Cullen’s bookcase and music collection. Exhibit B: If I had forever to become a writer, then when would I actually send out these newsletters? In a backward way, death is what forces me to push publish each week to prove my identity as a writer.
SO instead of living in fear, what’s the second-best option? It is to view time more mindfully and live in the present moment. For an overthinker like myself, this is much easier to type out and tell you to do than for me to actually practice.
Think about this hypothetical situation: if I rush the day-to-day of the week to get to my exciting plans on the weekend, then that means that five sevenths (five out of the seven days) of my working life is focused on the future rather than embracing this moment. The time where my feet are right now is the most important.
I’ve been seeing the saying "slow is smooth. smooth is fast." pop up again and again in the productivity bubbles that I find myself swimming in. This is a manipulation of choosing to be slow not to be kinder to myself, but to reverse engineer the process to create results that soar. Example: I type with higher fluency when I slow down to type accurately rather than rushing through.
I typically tend to regret any decision when I make it rushed. With this kernel of insight, I dedicated this past year to patience.
Patience took shape in my life in 2022 in many unique and unplanned ways. None of them had immediate gratification. A handful of them:
- Sending notes by post mail and waiting for them to be received by the recipient
- Quitting caffeine and waiting for my body to wake up before my brain did
- Becoming sober and needing to be in the mood to have fun rather than having an inebriant to prompt it
- Waiting to wax body hair instead of shaving
- Using the sun to wake up instead of an alarm clock
- Spending Wednesday nights meditating for two hours
Patience is what keeps me calm and steadily listening more to my body. With patience, my metaphoric sailboat is at an even keel.
Sure, this makes me more like a grandma to embrace slowness, but I’m a groovy hip grandma. I’m ‘cheersing’ to the others out there with my sparkling cider at sunset so I still have time for my evening routine!
Try it out. Keep patience top of mind and move mindfully throughout the world. Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
Originally published ⏱️ Letter 140: What’s the Rush?!