Last week I got a speeding ticket for driving 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit. Beyond being vexed about the fine and disappointed in myself both for speeding and being caught, it has made me consider some things.
Mostly, the concept of speeding itself. Speeding while driving -- and speeding through life. Like so many people, I have a tendency to rush, and to feel rushed. At the pool after swimming lessons, I feel a vague pressure to get everyone dry and dressed and out to the car in a hurry. While sewing or knitting, I find myself fixating on the finished object rather than the process of its creation. I'll hurry through a job, like pulling weeds in the garden, just to get it over with, rather than stopping to really experience the job with all of my senses.
I've written a little bit about this in the past, and it's something I've been aware of, thinking about, and working on for a number of years. It's easy for me to feel like I haven't made much progress, but when I stop to think about it, I realize that I have. I've made a lot of small changes. The scenarios I listed above do happen, but not as frequently as they might have two or three years ago. I have learned to ask myself "What's the rush?" "What do I have to do that is more important than what I'm doing right now?" and "Do I really have somewhere better to be?" Often the answer to these questions is, surprisingly and honestly, Nothing. It turns out that there really is nowhere better to be, no reason to rush from here to there, to hurry through my life.
What is the rush? If I hurry through today, and I race through tomorrow, then I'm really only speeding toward the end of my life. That could come when I'm 92, or 50, or tomorrow. But I don't want the measure of my life, when it finally has ended, to have been one that was sped through. I want it to be one that was actually lived.
So, I can afford an extra 25 minutes to dawdle at the pool. I can learn to appreciate the fact that my current knitting project takes 2000 stitches to yield one inch of work, and the quality of my sewing when I take my time. I can do one thing at a time, and do those things well and with great love. I can afford myself the time to live this life.