Letting time do its thing has never been more difficult.
I don’t just mean that personally, I mean that across the board, we’re becoming more impatient. t’s all about quick and easy – easy love, easy sex, easy money, easy careers, easy everything. In fact, we get so lost in chasing what’s easy we completely forget why we started saying that “the best things take time” in the first place.
Not a pleasant thing to realize about oneself, I’ll be the first to admit.
There are things that are worth doing sooner rather than later, of course. Health checks. Taxes. Assignments for school (those ones get more difficult the closer you are to the deadline when starting). But when it comes to long-term planning, slow and steady wins the race. Why? Well, for one thing, you’re less likely to make a fool of yourself if you stop and tie your shoelaces.
Here’s the thing about rushing – it relies a little too heavily on chance and magical thinking. Maybe I will stumble into my true love. Maybe my career will improve overnight. Maybe I’ll have sex with this person and they won’t mind if I leave them without so much as a text.
Sure, sure, keep dreaming, boo.
To be clear, I’m not discounting the role that chance has in our lives. A lot of stuff is just luck of the draw, and sometimes shit happens. But there are a lot of things we can control, and we only start to appreciate them when we slow alllll the wayyyyyy down. When we consciously take the long route to something, when we stop putting pressure on ourselves to get it Right This Minute, we get to appreciate all the things that we do have control over, and we get to come into our own superpowers more.
Here’s what slowing down could mean:
It could mean getting to know a person before you get invested in them. Seeing not just what they are on the outside, but how they behave around others, how they treat people who are less fortunate to them, how they react to a setback. Do they behave like an adult when things don’t go their way, or do they look to dump the blame on something/somebody else? That’s the sort of character you see over time.
Slowing down could mean doing some work that you are overqualified for until you get your feet under you. That one’s hard, because family can be its own set of hasty when it comes to those. (No, aunt Mildred, this job isn’t beneath me.) One thing that might help is remembering that, in this economy, it is more likely than not you will be overqualified for some of the jobs you do. But another thing is that even the most glamorous and exciting job in the world has boring bits in it. The people who are where you want to be aren’t magically exempt from it – they just found better ways of dealing with it.
Slowing down could mean not sleeping with everyone who mildly tickles your fancy on a night out. You know… on the off-chance their feelings actually get hurt when you treat them like a one-night stand.
Slowing down could mean looking at yourself to figure out the things that you are scared of, or over-sensitive about – not because you’re a special snowflake that needs the gentlest of attention, but because you’re a human being with anxieties and idiosyncrasies and phobias and baggage that can occasionally spill over in places where it really needs not be spilt. Part of being an adult is naming the pain you’re carrying and having healthy relationships in spite of it.
Slowing down could also mean understanding the people around you can be imperfect too. Slowing down could mean acknowledging that everyone is doing their best. Slowing down could mean forgiving them when their best isn’t enough, and forgiving yourself for not being what you want to be just yet.
You’ll get there. You just need more time.
So do we all.