Last week was quite a treat. The buckets of snow that Mother Nature emptied in our backyards resulted in closures and/or delays for most schools, governments, and organizations just about every day of the week. I think the kids even had a few extra hours of shut eye this morning too, because my commute was way too light for there to have not been a 2-hour delay. No complaints from this gal!
When the roads were finally clear enough for places to begin re-opening late last week, it felt as though everyone was in a rush. I’m still trying to discern whether people were desperately trying to escape another day in the house with their families or they just couldn’t wait to get back to their corporate tasks. The jury is still out. After navigating my way through the chaos of the Metro parking deck on Wednesday, I made my way into the wet and airy station hoping I wouldn’t have to stand outside for an unknown number of minutes waiting for a train to go downtown. As I was walking up, I noticed a lady carrying three bags and racing through the station. My immediate thought was why is she running when there are no trains to board and practically everyone has a delayed arrival. She wasn’t really getting too far with the weight of all of her tote bags dragging her down anyway. Within those couple moments of me watching and wondering, I was completely caught off guard as I saw her feet in the air and all the bags plopping on the ground one by one! Have you ever seen dominoes fall? Yikes! I quickly ran over to ask if she was okay and put my hand out to help her up off the ground. I really wanted to find her some Shout Wipes since she was now wearing the black gunk from the shoes of thousands who had trekked the melting snow and ice inside the station. The woeful look on her face let me know that she was probably more embarrassed than she was anything else since she had violated one of the fundamental rules for Metro riders on the move — wear rubber-soled shoes!
Long after witnessing this lady’s unfortunate event, I couldn’t help but think of how burdensome it can be when you’re in a hurry. Living in the DMV area, you don’t really have to look far to see someone lost in the translation of their thoughts and trying not to spill Starbucks all while bobbing through briefcase toting crowds. Some days I’m personally overstimulated by the pace in which we all operate and have accepted as normal. I should acquire my country cottage very soon. I imagine the feeling is the same in any other large, metropolitan city across the nation. We’ve somehow normalized working late hours, running around town to meetings, and guzzling caffeine to keep us going, but yet we tend to vilify balance, time for reflective thinking, and time off (dare I say paid time off). I wonder how much that has stifled our creativity and effectiveness as a collective body and diminished our individual abilities to do more with less.
I think this week we should take a moment to breathe and slowwwww down. I know it’s the first of the month and we’re one month into the new year, but life is not a race. Too often we think we’re outsmarting and outdoing those around us by being “first,” but instead we’re really cheating ourselves by rushing through life and chasing things that probably aren’t meant for us in the first place. We could all take a lesson from that lady I encountered in the Metro — sometimes you have to slow down and level your thoughts to avoid unnecessary falls. But, if for some reason you just can’t resist the urge to hurry to your next engagement, do make sure you have the proper footwear.