Stop the Race

When you look around you, what do you see? Usually lots of people racing around trying to get somewhere, or get something done. How often do you see people leisurely strolling along? How often do you get to travel an empty road?

The mall parking lot is full. The shops are crowded. Streets have an endless stream of cars hurrying somewhere. City sidewalks are a throng of people heading somewhere. At work, people are walking determinately through the hallways. 

Last weekend, I drove into the city to pick up our daughter. In this part of town, streets built decades ago were not meant to hold so many cars. One car garages meant one car, not three per house. Navigating them meant pulling over to let others through. 

People were rushing all over to do their chores, jaywalking between cars. Cars lined up in the street to get into parking lots. Left turns were only for the fearless. 

The grocery store was built up instead of out. The five story attached parking garage is confusing to navigate. The store itself has an elevator. Want frozen items or canned goods? Put your cart in the elevator and go up to the second floor. I still shudder at the thought of actually having to get groceries that way. The constant buzz of people was not relaxing by any means.

All the way down the main street, buildings are going up, up so high they block the sun from the neighbor’s yards. All to accommodate the expansion of commerce, the crowds of people and cars - all rushing to get to the next thing. Have you ever felt relaxed in a crowd of people? I usually have not. 

Time is of our making. We determine how much we have to do during our time. We can also choose what to do during our time.

After returning home, I purposely sat outside on the patio. First I just sat. Then I tried ever so hard to leisurely relax. My mind kept trying to jump to something I had to do. I still felt the constraints of time. I put them on myself. 

What if you had a list of things to do, versus a to-do list? The former gives you options, and choices, and the sense of time. The later is pressure, stress, and the need to race to the next item. 

After sitting for awhile, I made a list of things I can do. I noticed weeds in the raspberry plants. Perfect time to pull them is now before the thorns get stronger, so I did. The sun came out and the thought of biking intrigued me, so I went. When I returned home I had choices - do some sewing or read a book? 

Yes, I did have to make dinner. People do get hungry. And yes, I had to fold the towels and put them away, it’s best to have clean clothes and linens periodically :) But I looked at them as things I can do and I felt much better. In fact, one day maybe I can even try to enjoy doing them - novel thought!

Working on my wellness goal to reduce stress, I need to have that mind shift from things I can do, instead of my to-list. I also want to avoid the “race” of life and slow down. Both will hopefully help me feel like I have more time and less stress.

If you look at the time you have in the day, do you feel like you are racing through it?