If you’ve never seen the classic 80’s movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you might have missed a solid piece of advice. Ferris Bueller had a crazy day off. The day was full of whimsical spontaneity, outbursts of laughter, almost getting caught in the act of ditching school multiple times, and simply enjoying life with his best friend and girl friend. At the end of the movie Ferris gave on parting word to his audience: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller was a movie that was released in the late 80’s. Today, in 2015, life is anything but slow.
Alongside the list of things we need to do are the need and the intention we must make to slow down our lives. Slowing down becomes another addition to our to do list so to speak. A typical TO DO list for the day might look like the following:
- Wake up
- Make coffee
- Eat breakfast on the go
- Go to work
- Write a proposal
- Afternoon meeting
- Afternoon appointment
- Pick up kids from school
- Cook dinner
- Clean house
- Do laundry
- Send out numerous work emails
- SO MUCH MORE
- Slow down
Ultimately, with technology surrounding us at every bend and corner of our lives, we want to be efficient people. We want to save time on the medial tasks so that we can move on to the larger ones or have quality time to maybe, just maybe, do the things to help us stay sane and enjoy our lives. However, we seem to always be moving. To never stop and enjoy the moment. Its never a doubt that there are rarely times when you are on the freeway to work that you are going to get out and literally stop and smell the roses. However, much of our lives today seem to be this fast paced dance that we are shuffling our feet to complete for each day. Yet, the thing we forget about this dance known as life is that the dance does have an essence, a grace that is to be appreciated and done in full motion.
If we do the dance of life too quickly, too fast paced, we end up tripping over ourselves at the end of the day. We do not see the beauty and movement of life’s dance for what it is if we are simply rushing through the steps and not valuing their meaning and contribution to the greater picture, to the dance as a whole movement. Another thing about dancing is that it doesn’t involve multi tasking or holding a phone or whatever it may be. When one is dancing, they DECIDE and must mentally and soulfully commit to being in that moment alone so they can move and dance freely just in that moment.
At the end of his frenzied, crafty, yet totally spontaneous day Ferris Bueller wanted to appreciate life. He had one day where he was totally enjoying his life but this day did involve Ferris running through his neighborhood or driving at dangerously high speeds in downtown Chicago. Yet, he choose to enjoy all that life offered him for that day because a lot of his ditch day was planned and a lot of it was full of unexpected events. This is the way life is. We have our planners, calendars, and schedules all mapped out to the T. Yet, life does not always go as planned so we shouldn’t rush like robots through a checklist of to dos. The to do list is not the enemy! It is our attitude, our choice, and our absence to APPRECIATE LIFE all the way through the to do list from the first thing to the very last thing we do before we go to bed at night.
Some practical ways to SLOW DOWN AND APPRECIATE LIFE could be as simple as the following:
- Don’t overcommit – choose and prioritize what is best for you to commit to. It’s not wrong to want to be involved in many different things. Yet think about how you would want to be totally present and appreciate the fewer things you are totally committed and devoted to.
- Breathe – Whether you’re in your desk at work or school, in the car, in the kitchen, lounging on the sofa, at the coffee shop, grocery store, or wherever, choose to take a moment, a conscious moment and let yourself breathe. Allow yourself the physical acknowledgement for your body to just slow down and breathe. When you are doing a million things in life its easy to forget that you are breathing all throughout a fast paced schedule.
- Find and enjoy the little things – Whether its flowers in your neighborhood, a new Spottily playlist you just want to dance around the house to, or doing the laundry, find the enjoyment in the mundane and the little things. Sure pumping gas, washing dishes, or vacuuming is not our idea of a great time, but we can enjoy these tasks when we make an effort to not just rush through them aimlessly and bored.
- Do things slower – Literally, do things slower. Drive slower, write slower, take notes slower, eat slower, cook slower, do chores slower, walk slower. No one is asking you to be a sloth. Yet, if you choose to slow your pace, you will find that you will appreciate and notice more things in your life to enjoy by just looking around at some point. It is scary how easy it can be to do things so fast, so swift, so lightning speed like that you fail to recognize what is right in front of you in whatever moment or thing you are doing.
- Be present and focus – Slowing down your pace of life is a great thing because you are not running on 1000 miles per hour 7 days a week. Yet, a slow pace doesn’t mean anything if you don’t slow down your mind. Make an intention of yourself to truly be engaged, present, and focused in what you are doing in the here and now. Again, you do not have to be laser-beamed focused into something, but catch your mind when it wants to run away to what you have to do in the next 5 minutes, half hour, hour, day, week, year, and decade. Kidding about the last one, but you might just get to that point if you don’t intentionally slow down your mind to narrow in on the CURRENT pace of the CURRENT MOMENT. Life is a series of moments. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. If you choose to run a marathon with a pace that is just plain stupid, you will not enjoy yourself, possibly throw up, or get a serious leg cramp, which could cause you to not enjoy the marathon at all.
In life, you have to know what pace works for you. Everyone is unique and different with their style of life and the pace in which the live day in and day out. Yet, no matter what pace you are on, life IS fast. Therefore, you do not have to outrun and out beat life. Instead, follow its pace, take it for what it is and choose to look around at moments. Like Ferris said, if you do not truly look around, you could miss it.