Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit, so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.
Walter Hagen was a very busy man. Known as the father of professional golf, he won 11 major tournaments in the early 20th century, placing him third on the all time list behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
He was a bon vivant, who enjoyed life, living it to its fullest. I suspect, based on the quote above, he was also someone who took things in stride, was even-keeled, and didn’t get too stressed about things, despite the constant demands on his time and energy.
I admire folks like that … and, unfortunately, that’s just not who I am … or at least who I’ve become.
There’s a recurrent theme in my life. Push, push, push. Focus on conquering the next mountain, completing the next project, starting yet another project, checking off the next item on my to do list, all the while thinking I’ll never have enough time to do everything that needs to be done, much less actually slow down and rest … truly rest.
And I know I’m not alone. What I’ve just described is a remarkably common syndrome.
At some point in the cycle, I realize I’ve done it again. I’m stretched thin. I’m overwhelmed. I’m stressed, and I’m not enjoying life.
At that point, I teeter between wanting to stop to re-center myself and deciding to just gut it out with the thought that once I’m through this particularly tough period, I’ll re-examine my life and take things a little slower.
Can you relate?
Yup, I’ll stop and smell those roses once everything calms down.
And when exactly will that be? If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say, realistically, somewhere around the 12th of never.
So, am I choosing to be stressed?
I picked up a book recently that really made me think seriously about this question. Am I choosing this hectic state and asking for this degree of overwhelm?
Stress Is A Choice … by David Zerfoss.
Mercifully, it’s very short. Good thing, because, did I mention, I have a lot to do! ? (Just shows you how strong a grip this pattern of behavior can have.)
Something in this book made me pause. It wasn’t new news by any stretch, but for some reason it landed hard this time.
Zerfoss’s central point is that life is made up of a series of choices.
I can choose to do those things and load my calendar with work that will inevitably result in stress. Or I can choose another path.
I can choose to be stressed … or not.
Not that you can ever eliminate stress completely. That’s a pipe dream, but you get the idea.
But just understanding the choice involved isn’t going to fix what’s become a habit, a way of living.
To simplify and de-stress our lives, the first step we need to take is to slow down enough to see through the clutter and figure out what we actually want our lives to look like vs. defaulting to the go-go-go, always-on way of being.
And then, we need to put some practices in place that give us the freedom to not worry, not hurry, and smell the roses … today.
There’s nothing earthshattering in this advice. No blazing insight here. Just a reminder that this is it … this is what we get … life in the here and now. It’s not a dress rehearsal. You either enjoy it in real time or it’s gone and a big sign pops up … GAME OVER.
Will I even be a laid-back type B person? No … probably not, absent a lobotomy. It’s just not in my DNA. But what I can do is move towards a cadence of life that’s maybe just a bit slower than the speed of light … one that allows for more laughter, appreciation, deep breaths, fun, sleep! … and the simple enjoyment of life’s roses.