Throughout my life, I’ve often taken on too many responsibilities or imposed vast amounts of stress on myself. Whipped in and out of cars on the road, disobeyed various traffic laws and sometimes been an absolute menace. Being further along in my life and not having done those things in some time, I have to ask myself one question: What was I in such a hurry for? To watch my favorite show or play 10 more minutes of that video game? You know, it’s actually obvious to me now that all of that hurrying really contributed to the success I now have. Haha. Who am I kidding? I gained nothing but stress from those experiences. Situations where I had full control over not subjecting myself to the stress but doing so anyway. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t laze about or stroll through life permanently wandering. Despite how cool that would be, I plan my time carefully. I do not like to be late and am therefore, often early. Sometimes I will feel rushed, stressed or overburdened. Running around like a complete madman while accomplishing absolutely nothing. Sound familiar? If not, consider yourself lucky. If so, consider borrowing my mantra.
Slow the fuck down.
One of the statements that I read on a daily basis is “slow the fuck down.” This isn’t usually addressing my physical speed at the time, although it can, but it’s true purpose is to address the speed of my mind and my life.
I don’t have to be married with a child and a car, long-term career or house with a white picket fence by the age of 30. Unless this is something you want then neither do you or anyone else, for that matter. Slow the fuck down. We get so carried away with what other people are doing or expecting. So wrapped up with societal norms that we don’t ask ourselves often enough what it is that we want. My mantra of slow the fuck down gives me a breakaway moment, a sidebar to ask myself “what is it that I want?” Spontaneous decisions are not always the right ones even though they might feel that way. A lot of times I have to think for a minute because the first answer isn’t always what I actually want, it’s what I want at that moment. Much of the time I want to do, be and have everything right this instant. It’s crazy. It can’t be that way but I try and juggle everything despite having this knowledge. Slow the fuck down is my answer to this problem for myself and hopefully it can be an answer for some of you.
Do I want to order a pizza tonight or eat a sandwich?
First thought is pizza (duh).
Pause for a moment.
What is it that I really want? In the back of mind there is a goal or an image of that.
Take the money for the pizza I didn’t order and stash it while eating my sandwich.
If I can afford to spend it on pizza, I can afford to put it away for something far more satisfying.
Some of you might be wondering why the “fuck” has to be in there. Because it does and I’ll tell you why. I have a theory about profanity being some type of weird power words because they stand out in your mind. Expressions of profanity have been known to subside pain (saw it on mythbusters). You can tell yourself or other people can tell you to slow down all day and you’ll hear it for a moment or you won’t. However, because of all the negative connotations and associations with profanity, society has actually trained your ears to hear those words and react to them. When someone tells you to “slow the fuck down” as opposed to “slow down” you’re more liable to hear them because of that “fuck” placed in there. All of this being said, I have no scientific evidence to prove this to you. Just experience from growing up in a house with 6 kids and knowing that if profanity was thrown, someone was in major trouble. Plus, military experience gives you the impression that to be profane is to be taken seriously. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way but it’s what I’ve noticed from my perspective.
Perhaps all of this is because I also work an “off” schedule. So I see people rush to work, lay into their horns, scream and yell at strangers stuck in the same exact traffic jam as they are to the point that they’re going to have a heart attack Monday morning before they even hit the office. Stressing to the point that by the time they get home these people want to just shut down and not engage with their spouse or children. That is no way to live your life. If you’re stuck in traffic, be stuck in traffic. No amount of screaming, yelling or whipping in and out of lanes is going to get you where you want to be that much faster. You’re saving 10 minutes at best and for what? To spend those minutes calming down once you reach your destination? Or to have 10 minutes of being shitty to your co-workers or spouse because YOU decided to rush home and add that stress to your life? Find a good music station or an audiobook and be there, be stuck in traffic. Slow the fuck down.
When was the last time you watched a sunset? Slow the fuck down.
When was the last time you had family dinner away from the TV? Slow the fuck down.
Slow the fuck down. Take time to appreciate the things in your life that actually matter. You’ll be happier for doing so.