I used to wish for time to speed up. Now life seems to fly by faster than I can keep up with. It's been awhile since I last wrote and I can't get over that it's been as long as it has. Starting a new year always makes me reflect on the previous one and this past year seems to have gone faster than ever before.
If you've followed along with my posts this past year, you'll know one of the things I've tried to change in my life is to be more in the moment as it's happening. It's something I've gotten much better at, but something I also need to work on more. Life gets busy and work gets busy and all of a sudden I feel the familiar lull of putting on autopilot just to get myself through the day.
Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, it's good to check out and disconnect for your own sanity, but I have this bad habit of making it a regular thing. Some people disconnect from social media temporarily. Others park themselves on the couch and watch marathons of their favorite television shows. I'm sure you do it, too. After a busy day, you just need a few moments (or hours) where you can turn your brain off. I'm sure for most people, that's a good thing.
I'm still working out whether it is for me. There are days where I feel like I'm sleepwalking through the day. My body is physically here, but my mind is blank. I don't remember conversations I've had. I don't remember doing things around the house or how I got somewhere. Do you ever experience that? You get to where you're going only to realize that you don't remember half of the car ride? It's like your body took over while your mind was elsewhere. It's terrifying at times. I think it's a side effect of trying to do too much and having too much on your mind. It's amazing when you think about it — that our body can perform an action as if fully capable even though our minds are not experiencing it.
I'm guilty of doing this more and more recently and I feel like it makes the minutes, hours, days and weeks fly by. It's like that Adam Sandler movie where he uses a remote to fast forward parts of his life only to find out that physically going through moments and actually experiencing them and engaging with the people around you are completely different things. The latter is much more rewarding in the long run.
So I started hitting the pause button. When I'm in a moment I want to slow down and remember, I silently tell myself, "Pause." I take a moment to describe to myself what I'm experiencing as if I'm writing it for someone that isn't there.
I see the vibrant blue of the sky and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin as it shines through the window. I hear the laughter of the people around me. I smell the lemonade candle sitting on the table in front of me.
I try to hold on to each of these things and make a mental note of it that I can go back to. It helps me better experience the moments I enjoy. It helps me enjoy little moments that I may not have taken notice of before. It also helps me in moments that I'm struggling.
Pause and take a deep breath before you respond. Pause and think about what is bothering you in this moment and what is it that you are actually feeling. Pause and really, truly listen to what the other person has to say. Pause and straighten yourself up because you can do this.
I've been hitting pause more and more. I feel like Zach from Saved by the Bell. If only we could all make the letter "T" with our hands, yell "timeout!" and freeze time like he did. It would be easier to take in moments that way. It would be possible to slow down time so we don't feel as though it's passing us by too quickly. Since we can't, hitting the pause button will just have to work for me for now.
In the moments where life seems to by flying by because of everything that is going on at once, I think it's important to pause, take in the world around you and truly experience your life.