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.