The realization didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. It was more like a slow boil that started to bubble over day in and day out. I have a new view of the world. And, now I can never go back. I’ve shed my old skin. I’ve gone through a metamorphous. It was a pretty simple realization, really. It goes like this “We can do better.”
I’m calling it my mid-life crisis. Some people who go through a mid-life crisis yearn for fast cars. Me? I’m yearning for slow living. What I had come to realize is that I needed to slow down the pace of my life. I needed to be more deliberate with my choices. I needed to stop trying to do two or three or four things at the same time and not really enjoying (or even remembering) any of them.
In “Radical Acceptance”, the author Tara Brach refers to a student who told her, “I’m skimming over life and racing to the finish line – death”. Wow! What a powerful way to think about the 24/7, multi-tasking, frenetic, ambitious way that our lives have become. My biggest fear has become (the cliche) that I don’t want to look back at my life and regret the decisions I’ve made. So, I needed to make some changes.
I was lucky that my husband, Chuck, had already been exploring “lifestyle design”, which is re-engineering your life to make time for what’s most important. This opens up a whole new way of thinking about choices. Instead of saying “I don’t have time to ride my bike” or “I don’t have time to cook dinner”, you ask “how do I make time?” And, once I examined some of the challenges, I came to this simple conclusion “We can do better”. We can do better for our family. We can do better for each other. We can do better for our home. We can do better for our community. We can do better for the earth. And you know what? It’s not even always all that hard. We just need to take a slow approach – one that is thoughtful of our values, one that is resilient to the challenges that society places on us, and one that enables us to take pleasure in the journey as well as the destination.
So, this has become my mantra “We can do better.” And we can.