As we approach what I hope and believe is the light at the end of the COVID tunnel, I’m struck by two things: an enormous sense of hope, and another sense perhaps smaller but still there – a sense of loss.
“What am I afraid of losing?” I wondered. And then, I realized… it’s time.
During COVID, my weekends were mostly free. I literally couldn’t overschedule my kids with playdates, extracurriculars, and family events because they weren’t happening.
My commute for evening speaking events dropped to 1 minute — the time it takes to walk from my kitchen to my office.
There are so many things I look forward to picking up again post-COVID. But one thing I don’t want to pick up is the pace.
What’s the rush, anyway? Why do I tend to try so hard to do and be more, faster? I’m looking out at the finish line and wondering what’s there, anyway, and is it so much better than what’s right here now.
In middle school, I was part of an experimental, accelerated math program that taught geometry in 8th grade when normally it would be taught in 9th. My parents were so proud. I felt smart and proud too.
The accelerated program meant that I could take calculus, the highest math level offered in my high school, during 11th grade. But then, come Senior year, there was no more math for me to take. I’d crossed the finish line early but to what end?
It’s true that I had earned AP calculus credit for college, but by the time I got there, I’d forgotten everything I learned my junior year of high school and had to re-take the class anyway.
A parent who recently completed my Peaceful Parents, Cooperative Kids series told me that one of the greatest takeaways he got from the class was simply a reminder to slow down.
Because when we move so quickly and expect our children to meet our fast pace, the result is that we lose patience, compassion, and connection. We get irritated that they’re messing up our plans (even lives?). And we react in ways we might later regret.
Another parent in my class once asked me, “Marcilie, are you saying that I need to think before I speak to my kids?”
“Shoot!” I said. “Yes, that’s what I’m saying.”
It’s hard to think first when you’re always in a rush.
Slowing down could be as simple as taking a few more seconds to ask a question (“Which shoes do you want to wear?”) rather than make demands (“Get your shoes on right now!”), or moving to where your child is rather than yelling from across the house.
(Read more about these two simple tools, asking vs telling here, and getting eye-to-eye here.)
As we turn the page on COVID, I hope to be able to maintain a slower pace. I want to have space in my days to feel more calm, connected, and conscious. I’d like to give things and people the time they need and deserve rather than rush them along.
To some, moving quickly and constantly is about survival and it’s real. But for many of us, we’re simply looking around to make sure we’re still in the lead, or at least not falling behind too fast.
I’m excited to reconnect with friends and extended family live and in person. I want my children to get out there and do the same. I want them to participate in sports and other activities they enjoy. I do want to make a meaningful contribution to my clients and my communities.
And, I want to do all of this at a slower pace. After all, what’s the rush?
“As things slowly open up again, and as we resume some semblance of normalcy, all of us do well to consciously decide which activities enrich our lives and which ones just contribute to our sense of agitation and being overwhelmed.” — Growing Child, 10/8/2020
How do you want to consciously slow down, if at all? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
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I can totally relate to this, thank you for the reminder that doing more doesn’t mean doing better.
Thanks for your comment, Lidia!