I’ve been having an interesting time, lately, just going through the motions of my everyday. I’ve started noticing how loooong it takes me to do things that I used to just breeze through. Some might say it’s because I’m getting older. Others might say it’s because of my processing speed taking too many hits (literally). There’s one other factor, however – how I choose to go about my daily life.
See, here’s the thing — I’ve slowed down. A lot. And by choice. Time was, I used to jump out of bed in the morning, careen through my morning, race off to work, race through my work, hurry home, and spend the evening zipping around the t.v. channels like there was no tomorrow. I had a truckload of projects in the works — all the time — and every time I finished one thing, something else came up for me to do. It was all very exciting. It was all a big blur. It was a pretty mindless way to go through life.
I made plenty of money, I guess, and it felt like I was accomplishing something. But all the while, I was so busy getting from Point A to Point B to Point C as quickly as humanly possible, months and years flew by without me feeling like I had much of a connection to any of it.
I suppose it’s the classic story of a mid-life crisis in the making. The story’s been told a hundred thousand times before – and more. I hate to think of myself as a cliche, but I was on a very similar path to a lot of other folks around me. I wasn’t alone in my madness. In fact, I had plenty of people around me to validate my “choice” to live like that. ‘Cause everybody was doing it.
But with me, there was an added edge. It was the edge of that constant restlessness that comes with TBI… The agitation that both comes from and contributes to fatigue. It was the anxiety that was caused by and contributed to my frantic-ness, my constant chasing after some relief, some easing of the sharp edges of my life. Jagged. I was constantly jagged. And constantly getting snagged on the rough edges of my frayed nerves and brain.
What a way to live.
NOT a way to live.
Thinking back on those years when I was churning faster and faster, like some crazy-ass washing machine that’s been loaded wrong… rattling and bumping and creaking and groaning and threatening to come apart at the seams… I was on a high-speed collision course with everything and everyone around me. I was on a high-speed collision course with myself. Everything freaked me out. Everything pissed me off. Everything had to be done yesterday, or it wasn’t worth doing at all.
Then things changed.
How and when they started to change, I’m not sure. Maybe it was being forced to admit I was having trouble with really basic stuff – like being civil to my closest friends and family, like getting up and dressed and out the door to work each day. Like cooking a meal and paying my bills. Maybe it was being forced to slow the hell down and quit racing through everything, thinking I could fudge it and then dodge any possible consequences by moving quickly on to the next thing before I realized how screwed up the first thing was.
Maybe it was just taking a really close look at how I was living my life and realizing tha for all the “speed” of my activities, there was a tremendous amount of waste taking place, and when all was said and done, that waste was exhausting me and getting me nowhere.
If anything, it was setting me back.
Whatever the cause, whenever the time, the fact of the matter is, I have slowed down considerably, over the past few years. And it’s not a bad thing. I no longer have seven different activities going on every weekend. If I have two, it’s a lot. And I no longer have 25 different projects going on at the same time. If I have three, it feels like too many.
This is a huge departure for me, and I have to say it is not always that comfortable. Part of me likes to be sailing along at a brisk clip, checking off items from my list in no time flat. Taking things slowly, deliberately, feels “wrong” to me, somhow. It feels foreign. Ungainly. And I don’t want to do it. I look around me at my life, and I think, “Surely, you should have accomplished more by now!” Other people have said that to me, too.
But now that I’ve developed this habit of being intently mindful of what I do — and I’m not screwing up nearly as much as I used to — and the more deeply I get into my mindfulness, the better I feel about the things I do with my life. The more intently I focus on what I’m experiencing, the less I actually want to cram into my days… The less I actually want to “do”.
And that’s nothing short of incredible.
Well, speaking of being intently mindful of what I do, I’m realizing how tired I am. Time to go to bed. Time to rest. I’ll get there. It just takes time.
2 thoughts on “Taking time to get there”
i just ran across your blog-not sure how but i am enjoying it/relating to it.i’m actually too tired right now to even get back to the beginning to see who you are/what your history is but i don’t care. i am 55 and have had 13 life-time concussions. i may not find your blog again but wanted you to know that it has helped me tonight.
Thanks – I hope you enjoy it and find what you need.