Take Life at Your Own Pace – You’ll Enjoy the Ride a Lot More

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

In yesterday’s post, we talked about making the most of our time. Normally, that presents an image of somebody who’s up and running, working from morning till night, cramming something into every minute of their day. And for some people, that works. It suits their personality and gives them energy to do even more. But there are times when we need to slow down and just appreciate the world around us.

The movie Dirty Dancing has been on several times lately. I think the program directors in some of these broadcast stations pick three or four movies for the month and just put them on a loop. During the holidays, there are a few that’ll completely dominate the airwaves. “Hey kid – you’re gonna put “your eye out!” (That was strictly for those of you who love “A Christmas Story.”)

At the end of Dirty Dancing, the owner of an exclusive summer retreat comments that kids don’t want to go to camp with their parents and take foxtrot lessons. “Trips to Europe – 14 countries in three days!” I actually remember a time when travel agencies offered such trips. It sounds like fun until you think about what that means. “Get back on the bus!  We’ve got a schedule to keep!”

When I was in the Navy, we made a port visit to Naples, Italy. I really wanted to see Rome, so I bought a tour ticket. It was only $20 and included everything from the train ride to a full day of sightseeing in one of the world’s oldest cities. I was really looking forward to it.

But at the time, I had a real problem with oversleeping. I couldn’t wake up on time if my life depended on it. And, as luck would have it, I overslept that day. By the time I woke up, the tour had already departed. I was heartsick. I had breakfast and reluctantly decided to go ashore for another day of walking, cheap wine, spaghetti, and negotiating with street vendors for cheesy souvenirs.

But I still had that burn – I wanted to see Rome. So, I went to the USO and asked about getting there. They told me which train to take and suggested taking bus 61 to the USO in Rome, where I could get a map of the city and see the sights on my own. And I had a day I’ll never forget. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted, but I saw most of it.

At the end of the day, as the tour group was on the train headed back to Naples, I was sitting in St. Peter’s Square watching the sun go down. It was the most peaceful moment of my entire life. Sitting at the base of the Vatican Obelisk, a tall spire that likely inspired the Lincoln Memorial, I was captivated by a feeling of complete ease. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

I was on the move most of the day, simply because there were so many things to see. But I got to see them at my own pace, taking time when I wanted and moving on when I was good and ready. Luckily, bus 61 ran past most of them. And as I think of that day, it stands in complete contrast to the stressed bustle of attempting to see 14 countries in three days.

When we talk about making the most of our time, it doesn’t mean we have to be on the move all day. Sure, you make hay while the sun shines, or so it’s been said. But there’s something to be said for quietly enjoying what’s around us as we plan what we want to do next. It’s hard to focus on your dreams when you’re up to your elbows in work. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is slow down.

It’s in those moments of quiet reflection that we’re able to think more clearly and visualize not only what’s right in front of us, but what we want it to be. It’s a lot easier to imagine a life on the ski slopes while you’re relaxing on a beach than in the middle of your best day at work. Find those quiet moments and let your mind take you where you want to be. When you know the destination, you’re already halfway there.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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