“Whoa, you’ve got to slow down,” a friend told me over lunch one day. The comment took me back, I did not want to hear that, and besides, who is he to give me advice? My “proverbial plate” has a lot on it. My goals and ambitions are lofty.
“So, what makes you say that?” was my speedy reply.
“Well you are frustrated with drivers who drive too slow, for one thing, he said. Your comment, “What shade of green are you waiting for anyway?” because they don’t accelerate to my liking from the green light. He is right, I then get perturbed waiting for people making a left turn in front of me or taking too long to complete a right turn.
“Now here you are in this restaurant complaining that your beverage isn’t here quick enough. The food took too long to get here, and I bet when we are ready to leave you’re going to be upset with the server taking too long to bring our check.”
And you know what, my dear friend is right. I cannot help but wonder, and frankly, I believe, that many others fall into this same trap. I watch my grandson, he lives only in the present. There is no future and no discussion of the past. When watching him, I find myself saying that I must do this and need to finish that, and should be working on a new project.
Why do so many of us put ourselves under such stress? Why are we in such a hurry? We continue to rush wildly forward what becomes a spiral of which we find no way to escape. Mahatma Gandhi says it so well, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
Stress kills. I urge everyone to read and even re-read the article, How Smart People Handle Difficult People posted by Dr. Travis Bradberry, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Stress damages neurons affecting the ability to create, to think, and work efficiently.
Arthur Schopenhauer, a German philosopher, said “Those who strive and hope and live only in the future, always looking ahead and impatiently anticipating what is coming, as something that will make them happy when they get it, are, in spite of their very clever airs, exactly like those donkeys one sees in Italy, whose pace may be hurried by fixing a stick on their heads with a wisp of hay at the end of it; this is always just in front of them, and they keep trying to get it. Such people are in a constant state of illusion as to their whole existence; they go on living ad interim until at last, they die.”
Reiteration on life is right, we all need to hear it. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Enjoyment then is not intended to be a destination, a final stop, or a long struggle. Satisfaction in life and work is to be integrated into our lives, much like a beautifully woven textile enjoying its texture and pattern, ultimately becoming a quality suit. It is living in the present and enjoying one’s pursuits along the way.