Midway through my 54th year, I found myself unsettled, restless, perhaps untethered is a more fitting word. I was easily overwhelmed by making the simplest or smallest decision. I said no, more often than I desired, unable to contemplate one more thing which might topple me.
Maybe I had a mid-life crisis without knowing but I am choosing to call it a midlife-crossing, crossing from a previous perception to a new uncharted reality. I am also calling this time, a midlife-crafting. Guess what? I get to craft what these years will look, feel and taste like. I get to embrace the limitations of my vessel but also marvel at its wonders.
Turning 55 was pivotal and because of this reality, I felt compelled to choose a word to guide my chronological year to come. For at least a dozen years, I have selected a word at the beginning of a new year. I love this practice but perhaps I was anxious, ready to call out a word to define those particular 365 days ahead.
The word I chose might evoke a chuckle, which is understandable given my confessed age. My word for my 55th year is SLOW.
True, I can be prone to forgetfulness, my joints won’t yield to the splits any longer. Somewhere in my early 50’s, a cartwheel, although attempted and completed, was accompanied by such an equilibrium shift, it necessitated a moving dismount.
I chose the word “slow”not because of my internal or external physical frame, but because I sensed a need to stop hustling and hurrying. Perhaps I could get away with it during my younger years or fooled myself to believe perpetually rushing was non-negotiable. If I am honest, I can no longer keep up and I am weary from sprinting.
Christmas day marked exactly four months since embracing this word. I have learned a lot about the way this word has brought a sense of ease to my life and also how often I need to pump the brakes on my pace.
On upcoming Mondays, I will share the ups and downs of my pursuit of slowness amid a world bent on breakneck speed. Some posts will contain unexpected small steps taken yielding a bounty of peace and refreshment. Other occurrences felt like a gust of wind in the face, leaving me unable to ignore the after-effects.
It might seem counterintuitive to suggest slowing down at the beginning of a new year filled with goal making and loud cries to make this the year to accomplish everything under the sun.
Yet I can hear the faint echoes of a cheer through the gymnasiums of my youth growing louder.
“Take it easy, take it slow. Take it easy, take it slow, now that’s the way to go!”
Does this cheer make sense?
Why would it be necessary to exhort athletes to take it slow, when the goal is to move quicker and harder? Perhaps giving ear to this cheer might help us all win but in slower motion.
I hope you will join me.
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