We've all heard the story of the tortoise and the hare, right? The two are racing, and the hare thinks he can win because he runs faster than the tortoise, but when he stops to rest because he's so far ahead, he falls asleep and ends up finishing after the tortoise, who slowly ambled his way through the whole race. The tortoise had consistency on his side. He was persistent and moved at a pace he knew he could sustain.
Despite the fact that we heard this story as kids, many of us live like the hare, not the tortoise (I know I do!). We plow through life like it's a competition to see who can cross the finish line first.
LIFE IN THE FAST LANE
Our lives weren't meant to be lived in hyperdrive. We weren't made to be running at full speed all the time.
But we do. We work full-time, volunteer or commit to groups and clubs, try to tackle our mountains of house projects, bills, and other tasks, and still somehow see our friends and families. We work, work, work on one thing or another from morning till night day after day, never feeling like we have enough time to do everything we want or need to do.
That kind of living just isn't sustainable. It inevitably leads to burnout, like the hare's need to nap in the middle of his race.
When I was in high school, I went to school both at my local high school and my local community college, and I worked 3-4 days a week, participated in church activities 3-4 days a week, and somehow managed to get all of my schoolwork done. My closest friends expressed concern for my health and sanity during that season (it wasn't the whole of my high school career, but a large chunk of it), and looking back, I still don't know how I made it. I do know I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have because I was so overwhelmed with the number of things on my plate.
And I don't want to live like that anymore! Who's with me?
RETHINKING HOW WE LIVE
What if we chose to live more like the tortoise? What if we made a conscious decision to slow down, focus on the here-and-now, and not rush forward toward tomorrow?
What would our lives look like if we committed to a more sustainable pace?
Maybe we'd cherish more small, daily moments with our families. Maybe we'd say "hi" to our neighbors instead of rushing into our houses when we get home. Maybe we'd put our phones away and focus more on the world around us than the online world that so often distracts us. Maybe we'd commit to fewer things, get more sleep, and have more lazy Saturdays to read a book, go for a stroll, or spontaneously grab coffee with a friend.
Perhaps everything would change. Perhaps nothing major would. But it's worth a shot, isn't it?
Of course, some seasons are busier than others, demanding more of our time. And responsibility requires that we prepare for the future. But that doesn't mean we don't have to hasten its arrival.
So here's to slowing down as much as it depends upon us, taking our lives one step at a time instead of rushing ahead, seeking lives that are less complicated and more joyful, and committing to enjoying the adventure!