After following the log truck for several miles along our back country road, I decide to take the long way into work. At the stop sign, the truck turns left so I turn right. I pass a sign outside the church on Chestnut Hill road. It reads “Slow Down – Life goes by fast enough – God.” So I slow down. I have already wrecked on this road once. Heading up the hill near Harpers Ferry, the road divides. “Slower Traffic Keep Right.” So I keep right.
Here in the new territory of my 40’s, I find myself wondering where my life has gone and what I have done with all of the time. Will I suddenly wake up and realize that I am 80? I know that I can do nothing to stop the inevitable moving of life, but I wonder if there are some things I can do to at least taste as much of each day as I can. To go slow. To practice awareness.
Take time to look, really look, at people. Talk to strangers. Drive slow. Listen to people different than me. Be slow to anger. Be kind to everyone. Say no. Watch the sun rise. Watch the sun set. If possible, every day. Practice generosity. Say yes. Read a good book that is made of paper. Do things one at a time-multitasking is overrated. Wash the dishes by hand. Drink chamomile tea with fresh ginger. Wave to people I don’t know in cars I meet on the road. Stop to visit my neighbors. Discard my watch. Spend time with a child. Practice hospitality. Resist the urge to buy the latest, fastest techno thing. Write a letter. Be patient with those closest to me, including myself. Write. Paint. Err towards kindness. Believe in the goodness of others. Listen to birds. Live at peace with everyone, including myself. Be gracious. Love.
I’m glad I took the long way. I might have missed the signs. In life, all routes run in circles. Some simply require more time to traverse.