My father would get a great laugh out this, if he could read it… Or maybe he wouldn’t, since he laughs about very little these days but when I was younger, I used to comment to him about how we needed to do more stuff and be more active. Although he didn’t disagree, he often told me that sometimes ones just needs to slow down and appreciate the calmness of life as opposed to constantly burning energy trying to hammer through one’s day. Even though I didn’t agree with him at the time, I have to admit that the old man was on to something and it’s a lesson I am now trying to impart on my own children.
I used to be a slave of the rat race; waking at extreme early hours and usually lacking sleep, hammering through a day and doing more than my fair share just to be considered as “doing my job,” only to return home at night, exhausted and spent with no energy to enjoy the down time that I was earning money to live. My perspective has changed significantly in recent years, especially with time and age beginning to take hold.
For the most part and even once we moved to Regina and I took an administrative role within the RCMP, I would wake at the crack of dawn, prepare lunches for myself and Nathan, shave, shower and bolt out the door in order to get to work early so I could enjoy that first coffee and get through my emails uninterrupted. Then, I would work whatever assigned duties I had for the day. If I was lucky, I would head home at the end of the day. If I had work books or reports to complete, I wouldn’t allow myself to leave until I did so. I would get home in time to shower once again, if I hadn’t done so at work, before letting my head hit the pillow and doing it all over again the next day.
Bearing in mind that this didn’t even include the karate classes I was attending a few nights a week, Sure, I had weekends off but I would usually be so spent and cranky that I would barely get enough rest to be recovered before having to face the follow week and going through all of it again. Not exactly conducive to family life either. Considering I had my children a bit later in life, finding the energy to keep up with them is challenging at the best of times. Trying to do so when exhausted from a full work week is even worse.
Nowadays, my perception of how my day starts has been changed, mainly through personal choices. I still wake at about 6 am but I don’t rush out of bed like a fool. I walk to the kitchen, grab that first gulp of caffeine and diligently prepare Nathan’s lunch. Then, I’ll look through the fridge for leftovers that I can use for my own lunch and prepare that. If she’s up, I’ll say good morning to my wife and we may chat about a thing or two. If I didn’t do so the night before, I’ll grab a hot shower and get dressed for the day. This still sounds like a routine but the difference is I do it over a much longer period of time than I would have before. And that’s okay.
I still get to work somewhat early, but I don’t stress over doing so. If I get there early, great. If not, I don’t worry about it as long as I start my day on time, which I always do. I put in an honest day’s work for the salary I draw, then I go home. Unlike most people, I reserve my evenings and down time for myself, my wife and children. I focus on my fitness and I allow myself to go to bed when I want to sleep as opposed to fighting to stay awake due to some clouded opinion that there isn’t enough time in the day.
The result of these changes has been a calmer self, lower blood pressure and a better overall control of my Diabetes. Life won’t slow down. We all know that. But YOU can still slow yourself down. Take time to stop and smell the flowers. You’ve done yourself and your family a disservice if you die of a heart attack trying to keep up with everything. Or like Ferris Bueller said on his infamous day off, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Food for thought…☯️