Slice of Life Challenge day 8 #sol17

Title: “Slowing down”

Gathering up my things, I quickly paced myself through a mental checklist.  My computer. Check.  My notebook. Check.  My favorite blue Pilot pen.  Check.  What about those copies I need? Oh wait, there they are.  Check.  Okay, time to go.  Gripping the now familiar handle of my office door, I heaved it open (it’s a really heavy door) and quick-stepped into the now empty hallway toward my destination.

In my typical high-paced clip, I headed down the gleaming hallway to my meeting. To my right as I passed the exterior door near my office, I could see the sun had begun to shine outside.  Briefly I wondered if it had begun to warm up at all? But no time to think too much about that, gotta get to my meeting.

And then I saw her.  It was Jess, my colleague, someone I pass this way often.  Jess teaches art, and sometimes we take the opportunity to speak of our new babies.  How are they sleeping? Walking yet? They’re only a month or so apart. But we don’t chat very often.  We always just say hello as I race by her room.  And today was no different- for me- as I smiled and delivered my somewhat whirlwind greeting, “Good morning!”

As I blew past her, it registered that she had said something, but I wasn’t sure what it was.  Slowing down, I turned back to face her.  I saw she was standing, her face alit with that radiant smile, but today there was a visibly inquisitive nature to it.  “I’m sorry, what?” I asked.

“You’re always in a hurry,” she re-stated, almost like a question.

In response, I briefly explained, “Oh, right.  I guess I picked that up in New York.”

And that’s when I began to contemplate muscle memory and its many powers.  As a staff developer in New York, I had learned to take my cues from a high-intensity job and a fast-paced city.  I never felt I had the time to discuss new babies, or notice the sun shining or…well, slow down. Ever.

Jess reminded me in her own way that I don’t live in New York City anymore. And so the next day, I tried slowing down a little.  I tried breathing a little more.  I tried not rushing from place to place like a self-absorbed comet.


And guess what? No one noticed. Except me, of course. And the day unfolded just fine.  A good lesson. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that haste, though ostensibly keeping us “on track,” can help obfuscate some of life’s most important simplicities.  Like sunshine.  And talking about babies.




Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Challenge day 8 #sol17”

  1. I’m a fast walker, and a fast talker, who sometimes forgets that personal connections at work are just as important as the work itself. Thanks for the reminder during our harried spring season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I taught in Colombia for three years. Every conversation started with a whole bunch of repetitive personal questions. It drove me nuts. At first. When I finally “got it”, I loved it. Twenty-plus years on, I don’t take it to the extreme we did in Colombia, but I still understand the importance of making those connections.


  3. I did notice! You caught me completely off guard, as you started asking me about writing and my students. I am very accustomed to your fast-paced personality and work ethic and I remember sitting at my desk after our encounter and thinking how nice that brief moment was. You should give yourself more credit, with everything on your plate you have always made the time to chat with Robin and myself. Kudos to you, the king of balancing all life throws at you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lanny, this is such an important reminder. I, too, tend to bolt from place to place. When I first arrived at my school as a new coach, a colleague pointed out to me that here, people always start with the personal before getting to the business. I still have to remind myself to pause and connect before rushing in.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the fast-paced nature of your writing with the checklist at the beginning of this piece, it really mirrors the content. I enjoyed your comparison to the self-absorbed comet. And your last line, too. Babies. Smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is an awesome blog!blog ever!It is just like a book! I loved the way it had the checklist and the description of when he was at home.
    Wow! I bet that he worked really hard on that!


  7. I love this post, Lanny. I think it took me at least two years to realize that I too, was not in NYC anymore! I’m still learning and relearning how not to always go at the crazy pace of my former life. (Though sometimes those NYC/TCRWP work horse superpowers come in VERY handy).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Stop and smell the roses” comes to mind. We have such huge checklists that sometimes the roses get stepped on in our hurry to check more things off. This is a great reminder about what is important.


  9. Oh, I can so relate! Always going … little time to enjoy ourselves in conversation about all that we do love. Like sunshine. I love your self-reflection in the moment. That’s powerful. Enjoy slowing down and noticing all that may be new.


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