It wasn’t too long ago that I was close to hitting the breaking point in my own life – but I had no sense of this at the time. You see, when you’re flying high on success, you don’t always recognize the warning signs of an impending crash. What ends up happening is that the pressure to be everything to everyone slowly begins to erode the quality of your experiences and relationships. It’s only when you’re about to self-destruct that you suddenly wake up and realize what you could have done better and what you shouldn’t be doing at all.
Here are some signs from SlowDownFast.com that it may be time to hit the brakes and learn to cruise life in the slow lane:
1. Life has lost its luster.
Remember when you were a kid, and your world positively glowed with delights and possibilities? Something as simple as the sound of the ice cream truck tinkling down the block would have you whooping with glee and stoked for the rest of the day. It didn’t take much to rev your engine as a kid, did it?
Now you’re an adult, and you’ve got the power to make just about anything happen. So why are your reactions lukewarm when they could be bubbling over? Chances are that you’re skimming the surface, with too many choices, too much activity, and not enough depth or meaning to your experiences. Ask yourself the hard question and the rest will come easy: what can I trim away to get to the heart and real meat of living?
2. You can’t remember the last time you had a “real” conversation.
Have you ever had one of those days where your cell phone rings… so you scramble to answer it, only to have the house landline interrupt the call? Then about fifteen “urgent” emails file in over a spam of twenty minutes… and with every discussion, you feel more scatterbrained and out of sorts?
If you find that giving the world easy access to you at all times makes it hard to have fulfilling exchanges, you’re not alone. These days, most people are at the mercy of their electronics – and its an unsettling experience to say the least. Do you feel that the people in your life deserve to have you all to themselves for at least twenty minutes? If so, then it may be time to think about hitting that “off” button and making a concerted effort to “tune in and tune out.” It can be done! Make the change today and you’ll be all the happier for it.
3. You’re experiencing stress-related health issues.
When you were young, you could stay out until all hours, eat whatever you wanted and bounce back from illness relatively quickly. Extra weight melted away with a moderate amount of exercise. You didn’t know the meaning of the word “backache.” Now, your body seems far less willing to take the abuse you dish out. A recent study done by Baiz Law – Chicago based medical malpractice attorney shows strong indication that doctors are not giving fully beneficial advice. Unexplained symptoms have you self-diagnosing on Web MD for everything from heart flutterings to nonspecific foot pain. Should you chalk it up to poor genetics? Or is it more likely that an unhealthy amount of work and responsibility are taking their toll?
Illness and injury are your body’s way of telling you that you’re pushing the limit. What can you do to get the rest and recovery you need to refuel and perform at your best?
4. Your relationship is like “going through the motions.”
Do you ever look across the table and wonder where the thrill has escaped to? Do the both of you retreat into separate corners to peck at your laptops at night? Don’t make the mistake that so many Young and Driven people do. Committed relationships take just as much work as any other aspect of your life. Start by figuring out what you can do differently as soon as today. It will be well worth the effort.
5. You feel out of touch with your family.
Do you find it difficult to really stop and listen to what your kids have to say? Many parents of today find that life revolves around shuttling the kids from here to there, rushing to fulfill obligations, and making it to appointments on time. Conversation is fragmented and frenzied. The peaceful and protective respite of home and family is often lost in the chaos of everday living.
Next time you’re on your cell talking business as your son tags that kid out at third plate, remind yourself of how quickly the best times slip away. If you find that you’re not fully present for them today, you can make a pact for tomorrow.
Learning to live the good slow.
If you can relate to most of the above scenarios, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad or weak person. What it does mean is that you’re probably on Extreme Overload and veering dangerously close to burnout. Face it; we only have 24 hours in a day to accomplish all we set out to. Ideally, six to eight of those hours are spent sleeping, then you have work which takes up another eight at minimum. Beyond that, how much can you possibly fit in and expect to retain the quality of every experience?
Life is not a series of chores or obligations, meant to be carried out as quickly as possible in a robot-like fashion. It’s a gift to appreciate an experience to the fullest! Take your time; stop and smell a few roses along the way.
Happiness and balance may seem out of reach, but they don’t have to be. In fact: you won’t believe the difference it makes just to finally come to a full stop and reassess your priorities.
You may find, as I did, that the things that are truly important to you are falling to the wayside while other, superficial items, have wrongly taken front and center. And if you’re unhappy with that – you can and will change it. Remember that the decision to live a meaningful life is yours alone to make!
The thing is… there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for happiness. You’ve got to figure out what the ideal life is for you and no one else. Once that’s out of the way, then the next big job is learning how to manage it all. SlowDownFast.com is here to help.