Slow Down

ROLL UP! ROLL UP! Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, GATHER ROUND, for it is my honour, delight, and PLEASURE to introduce to you *drumrolllllllllllll* MR JESTER – one of the Blogosphere’s very finest, most entertainingest wonders. He will dazzle you with words; he will finagle the corners of your imagination; he will leave you astonished, astounded, and mind-blown at the incredulomazingness of his very own self, I give youuuuuuu MATTICUS!

Matticus, who in spite of his self-styling as something of a clown, is a thoughtful, caring, brightshiny-soul, who wordsmiths most beautifully, and has earned my utter respect as one of the best men I know in the ‘sphere. Thank you, Matt, for this piece – Lizzi

Click image for its origin

By a show of hands, how many of you remember those Ketchup commercials extolling the promise that “Good things come to those who wait?”  (Don’t ask how I can see your raised hands, just know that I can.)  (And, yes, I did mean for that to be as creepy as it sounded.)

Okay.  1, … 1  Hey don’t be shy.  We are all friends here.  … 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…  Good, good, thank you.  That’s great.  Most of you remember the commercial.  (I promise to stop with these side comments in a moment, but, again yes, that Fibonacci Sequence was for Lizzi.)  You can put your hands down now.


Fibonacci Sequence and Red Shoes | Photo by HastyWords

I know it was a silly commercial, and while some of you may find it hard to take advice from a very simplified version of a far more complex message in general, I also know that far more of you are unlikely keen on taking advice from a ketchup advertisement at all.  I mean, it is ketchup.  So, I get your reticence.  I do.

However, at the same time, I’m fascinated by our desire to ignore sound advice just because it is coming from an odd place.  Good advice is good regardless of its point of origination, right?  Well, it should be.  (Okay, that was the last tangent.  On to the point we go!)

I’m equally fascinated by our current exaltation with making sure we aren’t wasting time: YOLO, do all the things, multi-tasking, etc…  We are terrified that we aren’t making the most of our lives.  We don’t have time to wait for anything because we might miss something else, something more important, something better.  We race down our freeways.  We run from store to store.  We strive for efficient perfection and lament that there are only 24 hours in a day.

I’m equally guilty of this.  How can I work, and write, and be a good husband and father, and take care of my home, and spend time with friends and family, and sleep?  There aren’t enough hours in the day!  That doesn’t keep me from trying.  That’s all any of us can do, right?

But, what is suffering as a result?  Are all our endeavors falling short because we aren’t applying ourselves as fully as we need to?  Half?  A quarter of them?  What is an acceptable rate of return here?  If I marginally experience 98% of my life and really succeed at 2% is that good enough?  And that’s just my selfish interpretation of this epidemic…

How many cars broken down on the side of the road have I passed while thinking, “If only I had time to stop.”  How many homeless people have I walked by while thinking, “If I wasn’t headed home right now I would see if there is something I could help them with today.”  How many causes that are near and dear to my loved ones have I scanned briefly before thinking, “If I had more time I would give this a more thorough review and come up with a way I could champion it as well.”

It is easier to cruise by these situations with idealic thoughts that one day I will be in a better position to help than to simply slow down, to place my own life on hold for a few minutes, and help immediately.  But, that’s exactly what we need to do.  I’m not saying we need to stop and help everyone we pass on a daily basis or that we need to take on every cause out there.  However, we do need to be better about waiting for the good things in our lives to come to us instead of chasing after them.  (Ah, 600 words in and finally to the point.  Sorry, I tend to ramble when doing public speaking.)

That’s incredibly hard to do.  A majority of our societal norms are built on a foundation of pursuing our talents, goals, dreams, victories, self-improvements, and on and on.  Within each of those individual spheres there are additional “life hacks” and “short cuts” to help you speed up the process.  We want success and happiness and the perfect body and we want it all yesterday, and “In my easy ten step guide you’ll have everything you want in two weeks or less.”

And maybe some of you will.  Maybe all of you will.  But, for how long?  When you rush ahead, solely intent upon the outcome, you aren’t appreciating the journey.  If you don’t find something meaningful in the process you aren’t very likely to find the happiness you were looking for in the first place, and then you’ll find yourself back where you started.

Waiting is hard.  Putting in the time, when we’ve already established we don’t have enough of it, is hard.  Prioritizing is hard.  Doing the right thing is often far harder than not.  But, it is worth it.  If we could slow down our expectations and frantic lifestyles for a bit, we would see how much better things could be for all of us if we were willing to do the right thing more often.

Open your eyes.

Take a breath.

Slow down.


Matt blogs at The Matticus Kingdom, or you can find him on Twitter.

He leaves his biographies blank…partly because that’s how he rolls, but also because he has no way of accounting for (or suggesting) what you might discover, should you choose to engage with him. And you should.