One day, 18 months ago, as I sat by a riverbank, I contemplated my health issues, my life and what my next steps were going to be.
I had this urge to raise awareness about two associated yet under-diagnosed and fairly common health conditions (what I now know to be Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Dysautonomia).
But I wanted to help others and touch people with something deeper.
It was more than just my health experiences.
I wanted to lift the lid on this epidemic of busy in our lives. Providing inspiration and help for those needing or wanting to slow down.
So there I was, sitting by the river contemplating how to tackle this conundrum, and all of a sudden there she was.
She appeared out of nowhere, almost as if designed for that particular moment.
A gorgeous looking women dressed in all her running finery came round the corner, running rather prettily towards me…with a mobile phone stuck to her head! On a running social call.
OK, back up, she wasn’t running, she didn’t zoom round the corner, she was talking and she wasn’t out of breath. Jogging she was.
She gave me a big smile.
My inspiration I thought.
A message from wherever.
In those few seconds, she epitomised what I was thinking about.
The complete and utter ridiculousness of life. My life.
What was she hoping to achieve I thought? She was definitely on a social call but I questioned whether what she was doing was exercise. Her pace slow enough to talk quite incessantly and jog at the same time but not enough for a serious workout.
Whatever she was doing, she looked happy enough. But she was doing a lot of stuff.
Ticking a few things off the list at once.
Then I thought, why did it look second nature for her to do all of these things? Could her phone call wait? Would she get more benefit from exercising by leaving her phone at home? Would she have gotten even more benefit in this moment not talking, not exercising and just being with the day and the environment. It was a beautiful day.
The problem is it has now become all too commonplace to squeeze so much in. Thanks to the runnings of our modern world, many of us have become gadget junkies and speed freaks.
Productivity and how to be more productive reigns supreme. Reinforcing the ridiculous.
And we’re doing this busy thing every waking hour. I’m super fast, I’m invincible, I can multitask plenty, can’t you? Look at me, I’m just too busy, I can’t stop.
We hold it up like a badge of honour, to be proud of.
Guilty, as charged, your honour.
Before you know it you’ve become a maniacal wind up toy.
Running fast. Playing the same game of life as everyone else.
Bye bye life. Whoosh I blinked and I missed it.
Well, in that moment of quiet reflection for me, doing it ‘different’ occurred. It was time to slow the heck down.
So the message for you is this.
Stop for a moment. Just a moment. Just stop.
Put down your to-do list. Stop what you are doing. Right now.
What is it you are doing? Really doing.
Is it helping you live a digestible and fulfilling life?
How fast are you running?
Are you making the most of your life today?
Are you running your life?
Or is your life running you?
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Originally published at medium.com