Three little words – Not So Fast!

November 19, 2014

I posted a series based upon what I described as three little words that can change your life. I did a whole bunch of posts using three word phrases that can have great meaning in one’s life. Pastor Jack Freed, the retired pastor of my church and the author of the Jack’s Winning Words blog, often supplies the inspiration for my posts in his blog. He also sent me a whole bunch of three word phrases to think about, many of them very challenging. Today’s post – Not So Fast – is one of his suggestions.

The phrase “not so fast” is used quite often is a disciplinary way, as a warning to slow down. It may man rushingbe that the advice being given is not to jump to conclusions about things or people. It may be advising that a task or pursuit be slowed down, so as not to make a mistake. For teens it’s often an admonishment not to get to serious too quickly, usually with a sexual connotation. For children it’s often quite literally an attempt to get them to slow down, before they hurt themselves. Not so fast!

For all of us the phrase, “not so fast.” Might just be good advice on living our lives. We all tend to get caught up in the rapid pace of modern life and sometimes need to be slowed down a bit. “What’s the hurry?” is a phrase that my wife uses with me a lot. She’s right; of course, there really isn’t any need to hurry most of the time. It’s just that I’ve gotten so used to getting on to the next thing that I sometimes don’t take the time to enjoy the thing that I’m doing at the moment. Not so fast!

Sometimes she’ll say, “What else have we got to do today?” Usually there isn’t anything else that is women looking at watchall that pressing, it’s just me trying to get to whatever the unknown next thing is for the day. So, maybe it’s time for me, and perhaps some of you, too, to say “not so fast.” Maybe it’s time to slow down and enjoy what we are doing now and enjoy the people that we are doing it with; rather than always looking ahead to the next thing and hurrying to get there. Not so Fast!

There are things that we can do that almost force us to slow down. Going to a baseball game is one. Baseball just isn’t a hurry up type game. There’s no shot-clock in baseball or any hurry-up, two-minute offense. There are efforts to speed up the game a bit, so as to shorten the length of games; but who really wants to cut short a day in the stand when the sun is shining, the weather is nice and there are hot dogs to be consumed. Not so fast!

multitaskerElsewhere in life there are endless examples of things that we enjoy more when we take the time to give them our full attention and time. Even in our work lives the rush to get something done in a hurry often leads to more mistakes than good. We fool ourselves into believing that we can “multi-task”, when all we are really doing is screwing up multiple things at one time. In our personal relationships, one of the biggest reasons, I believe, that so many marriages end in divorce is that there was a rush to the altar before the relationship had been given time to mature beyond the physical ardor and into true affection, understanding and love. Not so fast!

In our daily lives we hear terms like “getting a rush on” or “being on the fast track” or “getting up to speed” and “full speed ahead” to describe success, or the path to success. We have speed dating,chasing brass ring because we need to make quick decisions and get on to the next candidate. We have Fast Food places with drive-through windows so that we can eat in our cars or carry the meal home. Many of us are now connected 24 X 7 through our ever present devices and constantly temped to take a quick peek to see if we are missing anything. We spend more time seeing that we are not missing anything else than actually doing what we might be currently engage in. Not so fast!

I have slowed my pace a bit (though not enough for my wife, yet) as I get older and I try a bit harder to focus upon the moment and not worry about the future or what else I might be missing. I still check my phone way too often to see if there are new messages; although, I do note that most man relaxingnew messages are n no importance and just get deleted right away. I wasn’t missing anything anyway. I’m trying to take my wife’s advice and slow down to enjoy the moment. In other words, I’m trying to live my life – Not so fast!

What about you? Are you still on life’s treadmill with it set for an uphill run? Are you looking past the moment to see if there’s anything else to do? Are you enjoying the people you are with now or constantly looking for someone else. Here are three little words that can change your life – Not so fast!

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For fast relief…

August 4, 2014

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”  (Lily Tomlin) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Mary Jean “Lily” Tomlin is a Detroit-born American actress, comedian, writer, and producer. She has been a major force in American comedy since the late 1960s, when she began a career as a stand-up comedian and became a featured performer on television’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. She went on to appears in many movies and on several TV shows. For a person as busy as Lily was and is still, I suspect that the insight that she shared in today’s quote was important to maintaining her balance in life.

It is obvious to all that we live in a much faster-paced world today than existed just a couple of decades ago. We are ubiquitously “connected” almost all of the time and for some that constant since of urgency to react and respond has only added to the pace. For many our need to service our devices seems to have taken over life. The constant need to share the information “where are you?” and “what are you doing?” has actually become more important to some than the reality of where reading newspaperthey are and what they are supposed to be doing (and with whom).

Many older means of communication or information sharing, like letter writing or reading a newspaper have been supplanted by faster, electronic versions, many of them summarized down to a sound bite or a paragraph or two. The music industry was turned on its ear by the rise of music file sharing on our devices, with the result that release and sales of traditional albums is almost dead. Sales of physical musical products, like CDs, have plummeted and many performers eschew agents and recording deals altogether and release their songs directly to the public on-line. All of these things have added to the sense of urgency and speed in put everyday lives and caused us all to become a little overwhelmed by the perceived need to keep up.

I’ve written before about one little respite that I find helps me and that is slowing down and sitting on my front porch for a while. Porch sitting is a lost art for most, mainly because large front porches that one could sit on fell out of favor with builders. I happen to live in a historic home that has a very large, wrap-around front porch that is screened in. I can sit out there without being bothered by bugs and watch as people walk by (I was tempted to use the term “stroll by”, but no one seems to have the time to just stroll anymore either). Admittedly a nice glass of wine makes the experience all the more enjoyable.  That is my way of slowing down and getting fast relief.

So, what do you do to find a break from the pace of life? If you don’t have a big front porch to sit on, maybe you have a deck or patio or maybe just a quiet room somewhere in your house that you can “retreat” to. You need to have a refuge somewhere. You need to be able to put down the phone for a nap at workwhile and kick back and just relax. Turning off the phone is even better, but that causes anxiety for many.  For some a nap in the middle of the day may be the answer. That is certainly one sure way to slow down for  a few moments. I’ve done that occasionally and even a short nap of 10-15 minutes is very refreshing. Surprisingly, the world seemed able to function and go on without me for that time.

One must at some point choose just how fast they are going to try to live their life and how much effort to put into “keeping up” with everything that might be going on around them. One could do well to heed the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, – “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” He might well have gone on to say that her reward is longevity.

So, have a great day, but take a few moments, maybe several times during the day, hop off the treadmill of life to slow down and be at peace. The world will go on and you can hop back on at the next stop.