Life in the fast lane feels like those last few moments before a big trip. You've known about the trip you're about to embark on, but despite knowing you were going to be leaving three months prior, it's the night before your 6am flight and you're running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get your shit together. You haven't packed. You haven't done laundry. You haven't looked at the forecast and you sure as shit haven't checked in online yet. You have everything to do and all the time that you could have been preparing has come and gone. And now that you think about it, you haven't eaten anything all day because you've be so preoccupied with everything that you should have been doing but weren't, and now you're hangry AF.
I realize this sounds dramatic, but I'll be completely honest when I say that this is how I feel at least 6/7 days of the week. This kind of lifestyle lends itself to the there's-always-something-to-be-done-but-never-enough-time mindset and to be quite frank, I'm really sick of it.
Man, I get so caught up in living that fast life and thinking about time and ‘how little’ or ‘how much’ I have of it. It seems like no matter what I do, there’s always an excess or a shortage and when I have one, I long for the other. Oy. And then I get so flustered and frazzled thinking about how little or much time I have, all of the sudden I’ve missed the moment and I find myself smack dab in the middle of another one. So, what gives?
We all know the saying “time flies when you’re having fun”. Yeah, yeah. Sometimes I think that holds true. Most of the time though, I just feel like that phrase was coined by a sixth-year college student who didn’t want to give up binge drinking more nights (and days, if we’re being realistic) of the week than not, mingling with the coeds, sleeping in and skipping class. I digress.
I’ll get to the point eventually….promise.
Some context for you: I have been thinking a whole lot about time lately, and I have been actively working to change my relationship with it. This looks like limiting my Netflix binges and making time for reading, mono-tasking (apparently it’s a thing, who knew?), attempting to and mostly failing at cutting back on working and checking social media all day erryday, and continuing to ixnay words from my vocabulary like “busy” or “not enough” when it relates to time. Guys. I am so very emotionally exhausted. Do you know how hard it is to try and break free from old habits? Oh, I know you know. It’s just too damn easy to get home after a 10+ hour day and literally hurl myself onto the couch and flip the switch on my brain off. It’s usually all I can handle.
Okay, so the other night I hopped into bed earlier than usual so I could get a good start on my shiny new book before I inevitably fell asleep mid-read. But before I did, some interesting things transpired.
After what felt three hours, I reached over to check what time it was. It had been 22 minutes. Only 22! That meant I had, I don’t know, like at least 30 more minutes in me before I’d pass out. So I read on. After what felt like another 3 hours had passed, I looked over to check my phone again and make sure I haven’t stayed up past my bedtime. Now only 15 more minutes had passed. I continued to read. I probably repeated this three or four more times, each time getting more and more excited about how little time had passed. And eventually, I was out like a lightbulb. Sawing logs. Drooling all over my shiny new book. Can’t you just picture it?
So, if you’re thinking W-T-F was that the only interesting thing that transpired? Kind of, yeah. Sorry….I had to get you to keep reading somehow. But stay with me people.
When I accidentally (imagine air me doing air quotes and the use of accidentally makes more sense) serial watch a show on Netflix, I get eight episodes deep in what it feels like only two. I’m always left wanting more, I never feel satisfied, and I always feel robbed of time. This is probably because I am on my computer toggling between online shopping and writing emails, while scrolling Instagram on my phone, and watching (imagine more air quotes around watching) the series. But I think this is also in part due to how my time is being spent. I guess time really flies when you're attempting to do fifteen things at once. And I mean I love me some Parks & Rec re-runs and laughing out loud during Grace & Frankie, but at the end of the day TV just isn’t something that recharges me or brings me joy. Happiness, sure. But not joy. For the record: multi-tasking brings me neither happiness nor joy, only stress eating, anxiety headaches and bags beneath my eyes.
Have you ever tried to keep track of time when you’re with someone who makes your heart happy? Or when you’re hiking up a mountain? Or laying in the grass staring up at the stars? Obviously this list is different for you, but just think about it. Man, time just drags, and I mean that in only the best way. It feels like time is infinite and that nothing else exists outside of that exact moment. Except if you're checking your emails or seeing who posted what on Instagram every twenty minutes, that is. Oh boy, that's when time really gets away from ya.
I have discovered, while reading my book and obsessively and incessantly checking the time, that time slows down in those moments and periods of time when I am devoting my time and full attention to the people, places, and passions that make me happy to be alive.These are the moments when time is the closest it will ever get to standing still, and I am alllllll about filling my life full with more of them.
I've always looked at time as the enemy, but as it turns out, that's just me being an asshole and either being too distracted (squirrel) or fearful to look at what I'm doing and could be doing, or not doing, differently. Ugh, it's so much easier to put the blame on someone or something else, isn't it? But it's also so freeing realizing that I have so much more control over my life than I sometimes choose to acknowledge. Life feels fast, but as it turns out it doesn't have to.
My permission slip for today, and many days to come: slow the fuck down and prioritize the things that feel like warm fuzzies.