I was walking down the street one evening after work, when I caught myself. I was walking at a brisk pace.
What’s wrong with walking at a brisk pace? Nothing if you are running late or have a long list of things to do and only a little time to accomplish them.
But I wasn’t late nor did I have a long list of things to do. But I was still on autopilot, at a pace more typical of “The Busy People’s Walk”. The brisk pace seems to be the norm these days, even when there’s no reason for it.
While it might be great for my cardio, it’s not exactly conducive to stopping and smelling the roses along the way.
I laughed to myself and thought, “Slow down! Enjoy the moment!” At the same time, it evoked childhood memories from when my Dad used to tell me (in French) “T’es pas au feu”, meaning “You’re not on fire”, whenever I was unnecessarily rushing through something.
Funny enough, even after consciously slowing myself down, somehow my walking speed started creeping up again and I had to remind myself that I am, in fact, not on fire and could enjoy a more leisurely pace. I slowed myself down again.
The question is… why? Has my auto-pilot always been stuck in rush mode?
Maybe it’s because I’m only 5 foot 5 and I often walk with taller friends that I have become used to walking at a faster pace to keep up with the long-legged friends with the long-legged stride.
Or is it because I have conditioned myself to get multiple things done in short timelines, that it is having a spillover effect?
Or is it from years of “doing more with less” at work that my switch is stuck in “hurry up” mode?
Maybe it is a little bit of everything.
But as I get older I realize that there’s nothing wrong with reminding myself to slow down, take a deep breath, and to enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine, the birds singing, the changing seasons and the many beautiful sights along the way.
I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with rushing through some of the mundane things that don’t need to be burned into our subconscious. But at the same time, when we have the opportunity, why shouldn’t we slow down and recognize the moment, the freedom and the privilege to take a leisurely walk and enjoy it to its fullest. We shouldn’t take such a simple pleasure for granted.
Maybe that’s why nature photography has become a new favourite hobby… pictures can get awfully blurry when taken in the middle of a brisk walk. Photography reminded me (and forced me) to slow down and to truly be in the moment, in order to properly capture it.
It’s those times when my errand list is not overflowing and that I don’t have to be somewhere for a certain time that I love to notice and acknowledge that I don’t have to rush. I grant myself permission to slow down. It’s a moment of sheer joy and luxury!
We spend so much of our life rushing around. Isn’t it nice when we don’t have to and we can enjoy the journey and to just be in the moment?
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