Many of us lead busier lives than we would like, but it is not enough to simply slow down. We must savor every moment.
The trouble is sometimes life can be bittersweet. It comes with all kinds of twists and turns, moments when we don't know what the point of it all is. During those times, it may be tempting to live in the past or want to push ahead to the future. But those are the times we must cherish the most.
It was during my year on the road as a musician that I started rushing through meals. We were always on our way to the next gig, so where and what we ate was often the lowest priority.
Five- and ten-minute meals were the norm. We got into the habit of scarfing down our food quickly so that we could get back on the road and still stay on schedule.
It's no surprise that I gained weight that year and can remember only a handful of memorable meals I ate. Moving too fast to enjoy any of it, I was more focused on what I was doing than on who I was becoming.
What happens when we rush
This isn't just about food, of course. It started there, but the busyness began to creep into all areas of my life. And the faster I went, the more impatient I became. It got so bad that anytime an inconvenience occurred, I saw it as a personal affront to me.
We can get so caught up in our own pursuits that we start seeing life more as a schedule to keep than a journey to be cherished. Our lives become nothing more than constant task lists, which cause us to move from one thing to the next without really enjoying any of it.
But what is the point of a life like that? As I wrote in The In-Between,
If we reserve our joy only for the experiences of a lifetime, we may miss the life in the experience.
Why we need to slow down
Something is lost when we get so busy and consumed with productivity that we find ourselves speeding through our days instead of savoring them. Busyness robs us of the gift right in front of us (tweet that).
No, it's not easy to slow down and enjoy every breath, every meal, every inconvient interaction. But that is what we must do. Why?
- Because we don't know what tomorrow will bring. Today may be all we have.
- Because life moves fast. We don't want to get to the end of it and wonder where it all went.
- Because sometimes our biggest frustrations turn into our most beautiful moments.
Just this morning, my son decided to wake up an hour before the sunrise. Going through the usual routine of changing him, feeding him, even giving him medicine (he's teething), I eventually had to give upt. None of it worked; he was ready to be up.
This didn't work well for my schedule. Frustrated and offended that a 14-month-old couldn't understand his daddy's schedule, I had to decide: Would I find a way to be okay with this moment right now, to savor it and see the beauty in it; or would I just be mad?
Watching my son crawl across the floor to place a green plastic ball in the trunk of his purple and blue toy elephant, I catch him smiling at me. And I realize that as much as I'd like an extra hour of sleep or to get ahead with work, there aren't many moments better than this one.
Take your time with food today. If you're the one who cooks in your home, spend more than the minimum amount of time preparing the meal. Slowly cut and cook each ingredient, imaginging what they will taste like when blended.
When you eat, chew slowly. Make each bite intentional and deliberate, counting to at least 20 before swallowing. As you do, remember to appreciate and enjoy all the flavors in the food. And above all, remember to smile between bites.
For more about taking your time with life and enjoying every moment, check out my new book, The In-Between, which is a call to savor the less-than-spectacular moments (it's currently 40% off on Amazon).
What do you need to savor more? Share in the comments.