Monday, October 7, 2013

The Rush

I had a dream the other night.

I’m driving on the freeway. For some reason that’s faded away I have my seatbelt off. Suddenly I stop. I see a mess of cars behind me not stopping. There is an impact. I fly up, no glass breaking, just up. I know death is imminent. My cell phone appeared in my hand. I looked. No more phone contacts, it said. This somehow confirmed my death. Then I, in my now my soul form, am on the side of the road. I see three people carefully moving my body. It looks awkward and limp. Odd. Very weekend at Bernie without the sunglasses and without humor. My eyes won’t close. They look milky. “They won’t close because she wants to see them one last time,” one of them said. And I know she’s right. That’s why they won’t close. I need to see Love Monster and Smirker one last time, but I can’t.

I woke up feeling disturbed. But I also knew exactly what it meant.

“Hurry up!”

I am sick of saying this.

Hurry up. Be quick. Be faster. Faster. Faster!

I am sick of feeling this. In this constant state of hurry. I’m sick of seeing the anxiousness of my girls’ faces because they feel my urgency. Not a day goes by that don’t say “Hurry up” to my kids… numerous times.

I am of sick of this being my baseline.

For as long as I’ve remembered I’ve had a very fast internal clock. And sometimes that’s served me very well. You need somebody to get something done; I’m your gal. I get shit done. But I’ve finally realized it’s also a disservice. Because that clock still runs when I’m playing with the kids or giving them a bath or on a lazy Sunday morning. That “hurry up” voice stirs me. And I tense up. I have a short fuse. I feel like a bomb is going to go off if I don’t get the kids out the door by 7:25 on a school day. Backpacks on! Shoes on! Lunches! One last smell of your guys (Don’t ask. It just their thing.) and out the door! Faster! Faster! The intensity of the “hurry up” is as if I am living in a James Bond film.

But in reality, for the most part, two minutes makes no difference.

We live in a “hurry up” culture. Get out of my way. I don’t have time! Faster. Come on!!! And why? Yeah sometimes we actually have somewhere, but really why? We rush down freeways cursing anyone who is not driving as fast as we are. We rush strangers for not crossing the street fast enough. We rush our kids when they are taking a bath because it’s nearly their bedtime and God forbid they don’t make it exactly in time. I don’t want to wait for a wake up call; a car accident or finding years went by and realizing I rushed through moments with loved ones just to get to the next one.

Maybe not all of you deal with this. For those of you, I’m glad you don’t. But if you do the good news is, there is hope!

I did an experiment. I would not say the words “hurry up” or any variation of that for one month. I failed miserably the first few days. “Hurry up!” would fall out of my mouth before I could stop myself. But I became crazy aware of it. I took a tally one day. I thought or said some variation of “hurry up” 29 times.

When I started the experiment. I didn’t do it for me. I did for my girls. I didn’t like the stress I passed onto them when I rushed them. I could see it. And I didn’t like it. I wanted to break the cycle of impatience. “Do what I say not as I do” does not work as we all know. But when I started implementing my challenge I discovered something. Calm would wash over me when I made the decision in the moment to stop the rush and my short temper all but disappeared. I honestly hadn’t connected the two, the fast internal clock and my short fuse, but they are deeply connected. I am doing this for the girls. We have more quality moments and they feel less stressed. But I am doing it for me too. I feel like I discovered a secret. More often then not these moments I stop the rush, I find a little magic. Even if it’s for a moment. An extra second of connection with my girls. A smile from a stranger. Or even if it’s just a release of anxiety. It’s worth it. When you rush other people you pass your stress onto them like a virus. I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say you minimize their worth. The same goes for ourselves.

I know some of you might be thinking, YOU might be able to do that, but not me. I can’t do that. I don’t have time. (There’s that phrase again.) I work full time, write a blog, write kid’s books, I’m a mom, help at the kids school, I’m part of a fantastic women’s group and try to be a great fiancé. I’m not bragging, I would actually like to have less to do. I’m just saying if I can do it, you can do it. You might say to yourself, I’ll do it. I’ll do it later, when I have time.

Do it now. (Yes I’m being bossy.)

I notoriously have ZERO patience. None. I ripped my sunglasses in half, hulk- style, when I got in a bad traffic jam on the way to work one day. That happened. People have laughed at my lack of composure at times. It’s a staple of my personality I’ve decided to ax. And I can. It’s not easy and I slip up. Often. But I’m much better then I was. The awareness is almost enough. Bottom line is that I thought my patience would bring others more happiness when it’s also brought me more of my own.

The dream. At first I thought it was about how I hurry while I’m driving. But it’s more then that. I’m more afraid of missing moments because of the usual everyday hurry. I refuse to do it anymore.

Hurry or you’ll miss it. I used to tell myself. When you hurry, you miss it anyway. You just trick yourself into thinking you didn’t.

Check out my That Girl Speaks Video: Slow down. 

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