by Analyn May
Here in the good old US of A, we’ll literally kill ourselves before we slow down.
I started thinking about this a few days ago when I was talking with my mom and she swallowed some water the wrong way, causing her to choke. You’d think the first priority when you lose the ability to breathe would be breathing, right? Wrong. Instead, my mom struggled through her sentences, trying to continue her end of the conversation (and apologize for choking) WHILE still coughing trying to get more oxygen. My anxiety kicked in and I begged her to stop talking while she regained her breath.
Obviously, my mom is fine, and the whole ordeal couldn’t have lasted longer than a minute or two. But the unsettling occurrence stuck with me. So rarely do we take a look at our own culture’s obsession with speed and productivity as something dangerous and despicable. We drive above the speed limit because we might be late to work, causing thousands of fatal crashes each year. We take phone calls on vacation because “it might be an emergency” and check our phones in the middle of the night, disrupting our sleeping patterns for fear of missing something. We cut in line, we strain relationships by working late; we dig ourselves into trenches of debt by borrowing money to “buy it NOW!”
Stop. Breathe. We’ve heard it before, but we all need to be reminded— frequently. Mute your notifications. Turn the phone off before bed. Drive safely even if it means arriving five minutes late. (If it happens every day, wake up earlier.) Take Saturday off and make dinner with your spouse or a friend. Eat your food slowly and don’t multitask while doing it. Let yourself breathe.
Do I struggle with this? Absolutely. And being a part of the techno-age makes it immensely difficult to remember that I don’t always have to be doing something, 100 percent of the time, at 100 percent speed. In fact, I tend to be more productive when I’m not.
So I’ll say it again, one more time: don’t let the American culture force you to sprint through the marathon of life. Slow down for a second, let your body rest, and heck, look out at the scenery. You aren’t racing anybody and there’s no rush to get to the finish line; you may as well enjoy where you’re at.
But as always, that’s just my POV. Until next time, this is Analyn May, signing off.