My mantra this is year is simplicity and mindfulness. I have been actively trying to reduce the amount of “things” in my life (both physical and metaphorical), and to be more aware of the moment. As I’m on this path, I’ve come to realize how much I rush things- how quick is my main objective. I want to work on this behavior pattern.
Living in a city, especially New York, leads itself to doing everything quickly. Ask any NYer what their tourist pet peeve is and they will tell you “slow walkers”. We are constantly in a rush. Why are we always in a rush?
- Always late?
- Tend to squeeze too many things in?
- Unrealistic mass transit/traffic expectations?
- Think we are more important because we have some place to be?
Starting with these possible reasons, I began to wonder why I was constantly trying to rush through things. Many times it is simply trying to get someplace fast. Yesterday I had a nice brunch with my family (eggs and potato pancake at Ukranian Diner- my daughter had the most delicious pierogi’s) and then I wanted to catch a movie on the other side of town. Instead of strolling along on what was a gorgeous unseasonably warm winter day, I walked as fast as possible to get across town. I didn’t stop to bask in the warm sunlight. No window shopping on Eighth Street. No taking pictures at all the amazing street art. No. It was a straight shot to Sixth Avenue and turn left in record time, because I wanted to see that movie at that time…I set it up that I had to rush from one place to another.
Because this behavior is ingrained: I have been doing things like this for so long I do not know how to behave otherwise. I take a point of pride in having done a certain amount of things in a certain amount of time (FYI- before I had a nice brunch with family I had worked out on elliptical, taken a body conditioning class, done two loads of laundry, took dog on walk, read a bunch of blogs, showered and dressed- and I had brunch at 1130- the movie was the “treat” because I accomplished much of the tasks I’d set out to do)
I rush because I feel I don’t deserve leisure time until a certain amount of things are done. So I cram my list together and push through. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this: I’m accomplishing what I need to do. But is this the best way to go about it?
I know much of this has to do with my Mom. My Mom is not a multi tasker. She is a start one thing, finish, start another sort of person. At Christmas this year, which she insists on doing everything herself because control freak is one affectation we share, she had to make the salad to completion before she pre heated the stove. Now, you all know it takes a few minutes for the stove to get to 375 degrees, so it would seem logical to set the oven on, them gather the salad ingredients (which was a head of prewashed lettuce, tomato’s and a can of black olives) throw them together, and as the salad is finished, the oven is ready to go. But no. Salad had to be complete before the oven was on.
This type of behavior drives me crazy. It is inefficient. And my Mother has a similar behavior pattern with all things, so she accomplished very few things. We were the house on the block that never had Halloween candy to give out because she had to think about it- no reason to rush into a decision of milky ways vs snickers. We never did things on the weekend because she had to think about it carefully. As this drove me nuts my whole life I have tried to do exactly the opposite. The problem is 180 degrees away was too much: 150 degrees would be better.
I have to find the balance between barely getting anything done in a day, and trying to rush through everything without savoring the journey. Some days this is easy- other days it is not.
You know there will be a task list to try to correct this behavior….