3 February 2011

Slow down and really live

I grew up in a much slower time.  A time when bread was delivered by horse and cart and a ginger beer merchant sold his product, from a cart, in stone bottles.  Believe it or not, that was the start of the commercialisation of food.  Previously mothers and grandmas had made bread and ginger beer at home.  A few years later we started taking our saucepan to the local Chinese shop, very infrequently I must add, for a treat of takeaway Chinese food - well before any thoughts of plastic or polystyrene containers.  These were slow times with lazy Sunday roast lunches, talking to the neighbours over the back fence and train travel when you'd take a Themos flask of tea and sandwiches to eat en route.   It was a time when you'd often hear: "we'll do it tomorrow.", "it has to cook for three hours.", "let it sit and ferment for a few days.".  Nothing was rushed

I sped up a lot while I was in my twenties, thirties and forties, and I doubt I gained much from it.  I've slowed down again, enjoying life a lot more, and now I'm wondering why we think we should rush through life.  When I was a young mum, I worked full time, studied for a degree, was on the P&C and other committees, had to drive three hours each way to reach the shops, spent time with friends and generally had a good time.  But I never considered myself busy and I always took time to sit with a cup of tea and talk to friends.  If anyone asked me to do something I could usually fit it in and I don't remember ever feeling stressed by the work I had to do.  Now I hear so many people say they're busy and I wonder if it really is busyness or are they rushed and think that is being busy.

Let me say here I mean no disrespect to anyone and I'm not undervaluing the work anyone does, either in the home as SAHMs and WAHMs or in the paid workforce.  This "I'm so busy" thing is a real mystery to me, but you see and hear it all the time in the media too - "everyone is busy".  I don't see any evidence that the workload of parents now is more than it used to be, and family life seems to be pretty similar to how we experienced it all those years ago. I wonder if it's the stresses of keeping a job, worrying about the mortgage or how to pay the rent, rushing to get things done and not taking time out when it's needed.  Does that add up to people being overwhelmed and feeling as if they don't have a spare minute?

Whatever it is, if you feel you are busy or rushed all the time, I encourage you to slow down, and take more time to do your work.  It may surprise you that you get more done and feel better for it.  When I closed down my business to return to my home, initially I rushed through my housework to make sure I got it all done.  I never did, so I felt anxious and inadequate.  Then I had one of my Eureka! moments, realised that housework never ends, I slowed down, took whatever time it took, concentrated on my work and came out better for it.  And I got more work done.  Rushing doesn't facilitate work, it blurs it, making you feel you're constantly behind and you have to hurry. Remember that fable The Hare and the Tortoise?  The tortoise came first.  

This minute is all you have.  Yesterday has gone, tomorrow hasn't happened, you only have now.  If you constantly rush through what you're doing, thinking of what you'll do next, you don't get to truly experience your minutes.  Slow down, think about what you're doing, experience it fully, and get something out of it.  Every thing you do is part of your life.  Make your minutes memorable.  Thoreau wrote: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience..."  I live by that quote.  When I first read it many years ago it helped change my life.  The way he expresses it might sound a bit over the top now, but what he's saying is we need live deep, think about and really experience everything we do, whether it's good or bad, enjoyable or mundane, so that when we come to die we don't realise, too late, we haven't really lived.

There is a lot to be said for slow and deliberate living.  Let's reclaim our slow lives so we are able to see and genuinely experience what we do and who we spend our time with.  Try slowing down and being in the moment.  If you feel you are always giving and have no energy left to enjoy your home and your life, give yourself the gift of time out.  If you feel you have to rush through your work and that you're always busy, rushing will not help you, slowness will.  When you're more relaxed you'll feel more capable, you'll be able to do what you have to do and you won't get to the end of the day exhausted and wondering what you did all day.  If you've made a commitment to yourself to live a more simple life and you know that will be better for your family, include yourself in on the gift, by slowing down and seeing your work as productive and creative and not just chores to be rushed.


  1. What a great post! I sometimes feel guilty because I am never "too busy". But I don't feel guilty for long. :-)

  2. I believe people make time for 'what' they want to make time for. For example you might choose to watch TV at night instead of surfing the Internet. Those days there are a lot more extra activities to do that just won't around 20-50 years ago etc Internet, computer, computer games new sports on TV, more TV programs and there are just so many extra chooses to fill in our time. (besides from work etc)

  3. Dear Rhonda Wow. I was blown away by this post. It is so true. Everyone seems to be running all the time and getting no where. I have been guilty of this myself. I think back and wonder why I was rushing. Was it to please other people or myself? I realized it was not for me. I am enjoying my older age and the wisdom to slow down and take that moment to just (Be Happy). Life is short and we must all realize that sooner or later.
    Everyone is so called busy but there is busy and crazy busy, slow down, things always get done one way or another.
    Excellent post. B

  4. I only learned this lesson as I grew older. I, too, worked full time when my firstborn was growing up. It wasn't that life was so bad but I honestly don't remember those years. Life was just so fast.

    My son was born when my daughter was twelve (I say it was God's sense of humor)and due to his severe ADHD, we ended up homeschooling him after first grade. Life slowed quickly and what a difference.

    Both kids have turned out just fine but once I learned about the joys of domesticity, I haven't gone back to the crazy schedule of my earlier years.

    LOVE your writing, even if I don't get a chance to comment much. All those lessons you teach are going to be invaluable in the years ahead with (I believe with many others) skyrocketing food and energy prices.

  5. Once again, such words of wisdom that remind me so much of the need to relish the life I have...thank you, Rhonda!

    (hope the big storm misses you)

  6. Hi Rhonda, I wonder if you have read this http://www.mccrindle.com.au/RESOURCES/media-releases/MR_ChangingRoles-RedefinedSkills.pdf

    It is an interesting survey from quite a small sample but I liked this statement 'The worst thing about the shift, according to respondents, was that nowadays men and women have lost their “can do” attitude. If something is broken they will call someone else to fix it, or go out to buy a new one. This was also a concern for respondents who today we are focused on buying bigger and better (especially in regards to technology) rather than fixing up an item we already have.'

    The problem with this kind of attitude is that it costs a lot of money and so adds to further strain on the budget and to time taken away from the home through all the 'necessary' shopping to get these things. The more you are out of the house shopping the less time you have to make and enjoy a home life. Home becomes a just a stop over place and never feels comfortable and never truly nourishes the soul like a lived and cared for home does. A home that is just a house full of stuff adds to people's feeling of stress and makes them feel more harried than they need to be don't you think.

  7. Wonderful post as usual ! How strange that I just wrote today's words of wisdom in my blog and qouited the Tortoise and the Hare ! The story is just a perfect lesson to us all. Great minds think alike!
    Thank you so much Rhonda.

  8. Hi Rhonda,

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I need all the reminders I can get to slow down and be in the moment. Seems to be the theme of my day. As I was heading out the door this morning- my partner wished: "I hope you are able to slow down today so that you have the energy to accomplish your tasks today."

  9. this is a great post, rhonda. it's interesting, - we should in theory have more leisure time these days, yet it's funny how we seem to fill the hours that have been freed up by labour-saving gadgets and devices our grandmothers didn't have with yet more things to do. it seems to be the human condition!
    sussex, Engand

  10. How true this is. And this may sound ridiculous but one of the little ways in which I'm starting to practice this lesson is to chew slowly and really savour each bite of food I eat. I mean, it takes time and effort to make good food, so I want to learn to appreciate every bite, not hoover it up without enjoying it fully. I want to treat life like that- savour each moment, fully taste it: whether work, play, sleep, etc.

  11. I've found myself saying I feel so busy a lot lately. I've been wondering why I feel that way, because in reality I'm not really that busy. I've taken on some new things and I think I just haven't adjusted to them. I do like to keep my life simple and slow. I wonder if we say we are busy as a badge of worth. I'm relative because I'm busy. There seems to be the idea that if you aren't busy you are wasting your life. Thanks for this post. It's a good reminder to enjoy each day and relax, it will all get done. I really don't have the problem of doing too much but as a young mother I did and I had to learn to say no.


  12. An excellent reminder today, thanks!

  13. This minute is all you have. Yesterday has gone, tomorrow hasn't happened, you only have now. If you constantly rush through what you're doing, thinking of what you'll do next, you don't get to truly experience your minutes. Slow down, think about what you're doing, experience it fully, and get something out of it.

    that's exactely my new way of living.

    wonderful post, anyway

  14. This is such a great post about slowing down....I am learning this everyday. I try to take time for knitting, making a good home cooked meal and not worrying if all the laundry is done before bed:)

    I have to say...this was not taught to me by my mother or mother-in-law...for a while they were always on the move and I looked like the weird one:) I still wonder why my mother-in-law has to be busy all the time..I guess it just her nature?

    A nice day to me is not having a to do list....but a nice day enjoying the people I have around me:) :)



  15. I love this sentiment. Everyone always seems so rushed and in a hurry to get everything done. Not many people slow down to be thankful for what they have and what they have done.

  16. In these days where computers were supposed to do the work for people, people seem to have become busier than ever. That includes me. I am going to heed your words and try to make a deliberate effort to become less busy and take time to smell the roses as they say.

    Best wishes for readers in FNQ, hoping that Yasi hasn't distrupted your lives too badly.


  17. My goodness, I too love that quote by HDT. I actually got to travel to Walden Pond a few years back and see the place where that wonderful piece of literature was written (and the desk it was composed on, a real treat for me)! Tonight while doing my dishes and washing my floors, I will do them with care and thought; and with that wonderful quote running through my head. Thanks for a great post Rhonda!

  18. I loved this post. It really does describe the kind of life I want to strive for. And yet... at the moment it doesn't feel obtainable. My boyfriend and I are currently trying to plan a wedding, plan reconstruction of our new house, as well as work full time and keep with our responsibilities in his parents' home.

    Our biggest problem is that the "job" - the paid work - so easily invades the rest of our time. We are both in IT and it is not unusual for us both to be working at home, from dinner-time until the small hours of the morning. In addition, work people seem to have no problem expecting work done and responses on weekends. Often we're so exhausted by the work demands that the time we do have is spent sleeping or otherwise recuperating. We have no "free" time!

    His parents are different - they work during the day, come home and are "at home" (with the exception of travel for work). I really hope this is just the 'busy' time of our lives, or the stage of our careers, because it can't go on indefinitely. But for now, it's expected and it must go on.

  19. I will definitely be flagging this post in my reader!

    I have to agree with your thought that maybe it's not that people are really busier, but that we THINK we are. I noticed in high school that students have a tendency to brag about how little sleep they get, and how busy they are. While the specifics change, over the years I've noticed that tendency continues. In myself I often FEEL like I'm overwhelmed, always out of the home, and busy/stressed; but then I do a time log for a week and find that the numbers don't bear out that perception.

  20. Such an inspiring quote from my *favourite* Thoreau.

    My youngest just reached for this book off my shelf last week and has begun his own read. He is a deliberate one, who wishes his choices in Life to make a difference to those around him.

    Thank you for posting words to inspire the younger generation and challenge the older to reflection. None of us is too set in our ways to make small efforts in how we use the time given to us.

  21. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. It's snowing where I live (Vermont, USA). That has a way of slowing me down since you can't walk or drive quickly in the white stuff! Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing your thoughts and wisdom.

  22. Hi Rhonda, I just love the fact you mention delivery by horse & cart. I remember delivery of fruit & vegetable by horse and cart. When I told my boys this they squealed with laughter!! It was funny to see their reaction. And yes life was slow back then and more relaxing in many ways. Kind regards, Anita.

  23. "rushing doesn't facilitate work, it blurs it, making you feel you're constantly behind and you have to hurry." - What wonderful advice.

    Everyone around me (and myself sometimes too, I admit) gets worked up about being too busy and not having enough time.

    I find it to be an interesting paradox that by slowing down and simplifying my life I might take on a project that my family thinks is in fact extra unnecessary work and time (I am thinking canning, gardening, etc). But it is not work I am trying to avoid, but a meaningful life I am trying to cultivate. That often makes MORE work, but work makes life sweet.

    This entire post was just wonderful! Thank you for your words and inspiration.

  24. I was wondering if i was the only one who thought like this. It feels as if some people have to justify their existance by being busy all the time, like it is a badge of honour. Thank you for sharing another way to live.

  25. Thank you Rhonda, for your very thought provoking post. I think that it "stopped" people to read it and think about slowing down. People need to slow down, if not for their sanity, but for health. Today's working world saps your very soul and you must take your soul back. But unfortunatly, with the economy, the working world for the reason, that if you don't work harder and longer for me, I will find someone who can work harder and longer than you. It is hard if not impossible to find jobs that fit into family and life in general. So sometimes you must take a step back and look to see if you can cut into the lifestyle and make time to slow down or do without "things" in our lives to make lives more livable.

  26. I often tell people I am busy, when what I really mean is that I have things I want to do, would rather do, or need to do.

    I'm always doing something, but at my own pace and at my own choosing. So if I turn down an invitation for lunch or let your call go to voice mail, it's probably because I'd rather spend my time doing something else. It's nothing against the person inviting me...its just that I place a higher value my own personal time.

  27. Im just wondering is anyone else feels like they have to be busy? If i dont have lots of projects (usually too many projects) on the go then i feel as though there is something wrong and I am being lazy or not living life to the "full".
    I tell you what though, Im tired. Mentally and physically stuffed. A lot of that comes from worrying about getting everything done. Meeting all the expectations I set myself and those set by others. Also i think the pressure to be perfect and "the best" is tiring too.

  28. Thank you for this post Rhonda. As a self employed couple who work from home we are frequently rung by clients at odd hours of the night or on weekends over trivial matters that they must have fixed "now". If we say we will fit the job in next week (unless it's a real emergency or life or house threatening then we attend immediately) then we get the answer well we will find another electrician who will do it sooner. It's as if we must rush around so they can then rush around. Both hubby and myself have made a conscious decision to try and slow down. To use the weekends to rest and recharge and spend time with our family. It's a pity that others can't respect our decision. I love Thoreau - such words of wisdom (like yours) in a world of chaos really puts my feet back on the ground.

  29. I love your sentiments! I wish my Corporate America would think like that. So stressful all the time. I DO get in trouble when I'm trying to slow down the pace. But often I do anyway b/c I can't live like that. Luckily I'm a spiritual person and God takes care of everything that is out of my control and even some that is. I love the table setting in the photo. It's comforting. Love your blog too.

  30. Rhonda,

    I love this post, there is much truth in it.

    As parents we can "opt" out of certain things - our children do not have to be in every club, play every sport, plus an instrument.

    I think of kids - it is important for them also to have time to slow down as well, to read, imagine, to do their work in a less fast pace way.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  31. "slow and deliberate" I like the sound of that! and your plate of food is going to make it ever so hard for me to head into our kitchen and eat leftovers! nice post, RJ!

  32. A timely post Rhonda. I often find myself stressing about how much I have to do in a day; and given that I am a sahm at the moment, what will happen when I go back to work? I have found that lowering my expectations of what to do in a day is best, and schedule more days at home. I have found days at home are my favourite because Ginger and I find a rhythm that suits us and potter at getting things done. On days I schedule too much we are both worn and frazzled at the end of the day. I think you also have to find the balance of tidyness and cleanliness in your home that suits you - otherwise, like you said, you can spend your whole day cleaning and still not have finished your list (I'm thinking fly-lady here :) ).

  33. I love this post...very much.
    I am a stay at home mum, two children at school, one two year old at home...
    I dont rush, I am not busy all the time...I like to do things at my own pace, and I garden, craft, keep a home, and have interests with the children, and activities that they attend too...we all do lots of things with our day, but I wouldnt say we are ever rushed and 'busy' to the point of stressful lives and too busy to be with family and friends...
    I find we do miss out on that time though, because most of our friends and family...ARE too busy for us............shame....cos life is too short not to get together for a meal sometime, just because you are BUSY.........
    Im going to send this post around to some of my friends and my family...I hope you dont mind...

  34. Hi Rhonda,
    What appropriate words for me today as I've been thinking of this theme for several weeks. I've had decades of rush and hurry, with minutes to spare, no sleep and running on empty (like most people) and it's only now that I'm over the 50 mark that I can see the futility of it. Now we don't have to be and do it all. There is no more accomplishment in ticking off a full list at the end of the day than in acccomplishing 2 or 3 things. Wise words my grandmother would often say...the house will be here long after you're gone...now I get it!

  35. A great post to make you think about what you 'do' with your day. My grandmother used to say "less speed, more haste". It took me years to figure out that she meant do the job thoroughly but a bit quicker instead of rushing by taking short cuts or skipping things as you'd only have to redo it properly later. When I find I can't remember part of my day by the time evening has come I know I've been rushing and wonder if there was something important that I'd 'skipped' that would come back on me later.

  36. That was a beautiful post - straight to the heart. I'm almost always doing something, but I hate to feel busy.

  37. I totally agree, I think people are so busy partly because they feel like they have to always be DOING something.

    and if they aren't accomplishing stuff then they are wasting their time.

  38. I loved this post! It is hard to slow down when you are in a rat race - you have to consciously get out of the rat race first!

  39. Thank you! That was beautiful and encouraging.

  40. Thanks Rhonda, I needed to read this today :) Rebecca

  41. I agree with you and learnt to slow down as a young mother of 3 under 5 yrs old and staying at home. Children teach you that if you let them! I used to gauge a 'good day' if yesterdays washing up got done and dinner on! Stripping life back to essentiALS IS JUST THAT, essential! After all, mental health is everything, and if it's going to the dogs, I guarantee you won't enjoy any material gain from racing around all day every day...Jenx

  42. What a great post again. I think a lot of this being too busy comes from thinking that you have to use every possobility of the ne media: facebook, twitter, all the TV programs (I remember a time when the program started at 6 PM, and there were only two channels!).

  43. Thank you for the confirmation to slow down Rhonda. I have been learning from a friend to do just that so this week I cooked plums for Jam on Tuesday and had to go to town on Wednesday so I popped them in the fridge and I made up the jam Thursday morning - no stress. Before I would sit up until midnight to get it made but decided this year it was time in my life to have some "me" time and balance each day. I would like to add that your patchwork tablecloth and seat cushion are just lovely
    Karen - NZ

  44. Slowing down needs to be an intentional discipline at all stages of life: I remember all-nighters in college & grad school studying & writing papers; going from a full counseling patient-load to teaching to marking papers over supper; feeling rather trapped with my two under two yrs until a friend suggested swapping 'mothers mornings out'; feeling like I accomplished something just to show up to Home Fellowship Group/Bible Study....but don't ask me to do the homework for the week--"showing up" was my homework; sometimes racing through the grocery store throwing food in the cart before school pick-ups; now with first-born at university life's a bit slower: took the gap last eve when daughter's school said she could return after supper to watch movie for English class or rent the dvd in her own time--3 guesses which we opted for! I hence enjoyed catching up with my reading.

  45. Hi Rhonda,
    I love reading your blog, and this one resonated with me particularly.
    I actually blogged about this not long ago.

    I come from a different generation than you, but I feel that we miss out on so much by being so busy, and if it is possible to miss something I have never experienced, I miss days gone by where life was simpler.

    Many thanks for your thoughtful posts.

  46. Fantastic post Rhonda. That quote from Thoreau is one I often think of, and try to live by.

    My parents encouraged us to enjoy the countryside when we were very young, and I have always spent lots of time outdoors just relishing the seasons. Now with my own home in the country, a few hens, and a kitchen garden....I spend most weekends quietly enjoying walks with husband and dog, working in my home, or pottering in the garden. I LOVE this life, and it gives me so much contentment. It saddens me that people look at me like I've got two heads because I haven't spent the weekends gadding about spending!

    A perfect example of all this came on Tuesday. I work in a city and since it was mild and sunny I decided to spend lunchtime in the park. Instead of feeling tired/bored by shops/rushing people....I felt totally revived by watching Goldfinches feeding in the bushes, Geese calling on the lake, and the first blooms of viburnum.

  47. I always feel pressured and rushed. I have just come to the conclusion the only one pressuring me.....is me. I should be kinder to myself and stop this needless pushing and stressing. It's not achieving anything.

  48. Dear Rhonda,

    I really appreciate your post today, and felt the need to respond.

    I think the main difference between now and 30 years or more ago IS that people feel more rushed. There is a lot of pressure on many people to be successful, and “have it all”. With that I mean, a big house, have 2 cars per household, have a high-end career, have a perfectly clean home, exercise to have a particular kind of body that the media/society approves of, have modern clothes, stay young, etc. A lot of things that are normal, like aging or “even” having limits to how much energy you have etc., are overruled by this need to have it all, and to be perfect. They become taboo.

    If someone has kids, some parents may also feel the need to make sure that these children become successful. They may feel the pressure to ensure that children fully develop their potential. Thus, parents sign in their children for (many) extra-curricular activities, creating a social network that they can use for later success, etc.

    Success for many is something that can be made, created, because the opportunities are there: so much is possible; to many, your success depends on what you do with the opportunities you have.

    Unfortunately, success is mostly defined by external, social norms. To meet these norms, you have to consume or own things, or have some kind of status. And that keeps you busy, shopping, working, taxiing children from one place to the next.

    I don’t know if other people feel this way, or agree with what I’ve written, but I do know that for me this is not the way in which I want to live. I want to define my own norms, but also feel insecure about not having it all and about not joining this rat-race.


  49. I have been "too busy" lately and am feeling the strain. I think it is time to slow down and live each moment fully as I'll never get these moments again with my children. Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement to slow down.

  50. A timely post for me Rhonda! I have been thinking lately about my relationship with time since baby Ben arrived! A shift in attitude and some careful time management should see me get on track again...and remembering to "stop and smell the roses", which is one of my favourite quotes.

  51. Wow. What a wonderful post!

    I long for those days back, when mothers did not have to work, when children had childhoods, when men were men and when women considered themselves sisters to one another.

    I remember Dad stopping off at the tamale stand on his way home from work, after we moved to a small town in Oklahoma. Mexican food was new to us then. I remember going "to town" with my mother when we lived on the farm in Kansas. It was an event for us and we all dressed up! Mom even wore her high heels. Humboldt, KS had a park in a square, right in the middle of town, with stores across the street on all four sides. We'd spend all morning, buying feed, getting staples at the grocery store, stopping at the dime store where you really could get something cool for a dime! I usually bought paper dolls. Then we ate our lunch in the gazebo in the park, finished our shopping and home and unloaded in time to cook supper.

  52. I fished a lot when I was small and continued doing so well into my teenage years. Fishing teaches you patience and the ability to let your mind wonder and open itself up to you. It enables you to ponder and to dream. I would sit on my rock, fingers waiting on a line, and stare at the ocean for hours. I enjoyed my company.
    No matter the stage of my life I am in, I always take several days during the year to escape to the ocean and just sit still (even now with hubby and kids in tow :). I can do anything once I have that time. It is like coming up for air and learning to breathe again.
    It is hard to do this whilst I am at home. If I sit, I see things around me that call out to be done. My weekends flew by as they were the only time I had to catch up on chores undone during the work week.
    But I have found MY time.
    After dinner, homework checks, preparations for the next day, bedtime talks with the kids as they are put to bed, etc. no matter what time these are finished, I walk for no less than 30 minutes around the garden with my dachshunds by the light of the stars and whatever moon is up. The sound of the breeze in the trees and a chorus of frogs is a good way to end a day and soothe the soul(double so if there is a full moon).
    I get exercise, after sitting in front of a computer whole day, I get to see what is happening in my garden and I get to spend time with myself again.
    Lately my husband has taken to this routine as well and he cannot do without the benefits of this little night excursion now.
    No matter how 'busy' you are finding time to be with yourself is important and necessary.
    Learn to be still.

    Trinidad & Tobago

  53. The workload isn't more, but people seem to think they "deserve" things like "me time", time for TV, etc. Also, everyone seems to have their kids busy in so many extra activities. You really have to watch it or you're never home for a meal and you're driving up and down the roads all the time. With 4 kids, we told ours they can participate in 1 activity at a time and no more. Got rid of TV so we don't waste time with that and put everyone to work in the garden. I've personally slowed our family life down a lot since I quit work and started home schooling.

  54. This post ranks right at the top of my favorite of your posts. Now that I am retired (only a few months), I find that I have to continually remind myself to SLOW DOWN...I don't have to fly around the grocery store or clean the house at warp speed...I really never did, but didn't know it then! I wish I had learned years ago that all the busyiness did was stress me to the point of distraction every way I turned.

    Thanks for a great post. Now I'm going to sit on the porch and darn socks...peacefully...slowly...blood pressure is dropping already. Sigh.

    Diane in North Carolina

  55. I think being rushed makes people feel important and popular. I am a SAHM who keeps a clean house, cooks, plays with my kids, etc and feels like I have plenty of time on my hands. I talk to other SAHMs and they are always stressed, like "I have to plan for my Pampered Chef party!" or "I have to take my child to six practices this week!" Or they shop constantly, running each day to different stores.

    Truth is, you don't HAVE to do any of it. If you enjoy it, great, but I don't have much sympathy for these moms who act so stressed because they choose to do all of these things.

  56. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is all we have which is why we call it the present, this a similar quote and wouldn't it be great if we could all consider each day a present. Great post Rhonda.

  57. Bravo. This was absolutely lovely. I actually think that our culture has somehow placed "busyness" at the top of admirable goals. If you are busy, you must be "accomplishing something." I think we are even made to feel guilty if we choose a lifestyle that allows us to spend time enjoying life (even if that means renting, living in a small home, wearing clearance and thrift store clothing, going without a car, etc.) You so often hear people say "Oh, I'd love to [cook from scratch/learn to knit/do art projects with my children/etc.] but I don't have time. I'm much too busy." I always think the implication is somehow there that if you DO make time (not have time. make time.) to do these things, you're either "lucky," or not spending enough time "working."

    Oh, I could go on for hours. I'm so excited to have found your blog.

  58. Being a stay at home mom, I have discovered a couple of things over the years that have contributed to the feeling of being rushed and too busy.

    1. When I feel rushed, I make mistakes or forget things and then have to take more time to redo them creating a feeling of getting nothing done.
    2. When I neglect to plan or prevent accidents (like not putting away the glass and my toddler finds it and breaks it, or not tking into account the time it takes to get children ready to go out)my day ends up being consumed with being late and stressed or putting out fires and nothing getting done.

  59. I feel we are push and push or least I do for a job. because mostly our economy.

    Coffee is on.

  60. Oh wow.
    I seem to be stumbling upon so many nuggets of wisdom since deciding that the only thing worth changing is my perspective.
    This is wonderful and that quote hit the spot today. I must post it somewhere prominent.
    Thank you for this!

  61. My husband and I remember "taking a pan" to restaurants, and bringing food home, in our own pan. Why did that die?

    Probably because the carton makers knew they could sell cartons, if the old fashioned way, became extinct. More's the pity...

    Wonderful post. Thank you.

    I am grateful that you are fine, what with all the terrible weather, your country is experiencing.

    Gentle hugs...

  62. I just realized this exact thing a few months back. It was affecting every part of my life but I noticed it most one day as I was folding my laundry and couldn't get it done fast enough because in my mind I was already contemplating the next 10 things (an ongoing list) I needed to get done. However, I have since realized my "lists" are very destructive unless it's a true necessity. I still struggle with my habit of trying to rush but I now remind myself to calm down and it will all get done in time. Thank you for your post, it's nice to hear confirmation I'm not the only person torturing myself.

  63. Had been wondering about you with that forecast cyclone - glad you are all fine. We have the news on at the moment to see how the rest of Queensland is doing.
    This post is great and so true and simple pleasures are so important.

  64. While I agree that slowing down is important, and it's good advice, things HAVE changed over time, at least here in the US among some industries/types of jobs. The number of hours per week we spend at work is rising every year.

  65. I just wanted to add, since I read the comment about taking a pan for takeaways: where I live now, it's common for people to bring their own jug to the local pub to take the beer home in. Probably it's not as common as it once was but it still happens, even in the city. We've also taken our own container to the ice cream shop to fill it with scoops...

  66. What a great post, and so true. I feel busy a lot of the time, but then I stop and think..If I weren't doing this, what would I be doing then? Our kids are active in activities, we have animals, I have a full time job, and I love my house! I am going to take this to heart and slow down a bit, relax...there's always tomorrow. Thanks Rhonda for sharing this.

  67. Thank you so much for this post. It is so meaningful for me. I am printing it out to read and reread.
    diana in Illinois

  68. I think you hit the nail on the head with the "overwhelmed" part.
    Maybe just due to the intrusion of social media & mobile phones etc
    All great tools if used properly but HUGE time wasters if you don't watch it!
    PS: A confession, I'm reading your blog and I should be doing a million other things right now! Later in the day I will say I was too "busy" to get all my jobs done, LOL.

  69. i love the idea of this... but i have to wonder if there's a bit of rose coloured glasses going on...

  70. My younger years were not that long ago (I am 36) but I grew up in Europe, in the countryside. And I experienced exactly what you talk about - having a cup of milk and bread with butter on our front steps (100 year old stone steps), just looking at the beauty of sparkly new summer day. Yeah, there was laundry to be done and dishes and tidying up but at that moment, there was just that home made bread and the dew on the wild flowers that looked like diamonds.
    And then we did laundry and hung it out on the line. My job was to hand my mom pieces of the laundry (to keep my busy :-). Then getting the eggs from the chicken, cooking simple lunch, going mushroom picking, wild herbs gathering, and on a good day swimming in the lake. And at night, there was usually another piece of bread with butter for dinner, reading stories, mending torn pants, listening to the radio.
    SLOW days that I love. No TV, no internet, no computer. You wanted to talk to someone, you went over to talk to them. Best years of my life.

  71. Beautiful post and a very timely reminder!

  72. Its not just rushing its working too hard to pay for the mobile phone bills and the latest plasma screens.

    I recently quit my high pressure job for a lower paid basic position. I'm much calmer now I can forget about work as soon as knock off time comes.

  73. Simple living, deliberate living, slowing down. It is all a really nourishing and fulfilling way to live.
    I am trying to declutter our home by doing a declutter 11 things a day for 11 days challenge and writing up my progress on my blog to keep me focused.
    I am hoping that once all the excess in my home is removed, simpler and deliberate living will be much easier to do.

  74. I'm rushed off my feet most days. I'm a mum of a ten year old, four year old and two year old. I'm a carer for my partner also. I have two very silly puppies, who keep putting me behind, by ripping the towels from the clothesline or shredding the lounge, LOL!

    But, I do like your point. I like to try to remind myself to slow down often, but for me, I've always taken it in the way of slowing down=doing less.

    Your idea that going at a more relaxed, deliberate pace and getting more done that way intrigues me, and it makes sense. I'm open to try it, definitely.

  75. I think it is more a case of people believing they must be busy, and feeling guilt if they are not. It is as if a person is not considered productive unless they are constantly on the run.

  76. How thought provoking. In my job everything is set by time, each lesson 55 minutes and I often wonder if the children would learn better if they could take their time, not be rushed... and maybe the teachers would be happier too.
    Food for thought- I would like to put up in the staff room ( if that is ok?)

  77. Thanks for this post Rhonda.

    I think Kat has said just what I would have written so I won't repeat her sentiments.

    cheers Kate

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