Monday, April 22, 2013

Scheduling A Stop To Smell The Roses

I don't know about you, but one of the things that I find to be hard to do is "stop and smell the roses." To me it becomes almost a Catch 22 type of thing, because to slow down means planning to slow down which means more doing.

This relates to me specifically it seems at my life stage (but feel free to tell me it's more than just that), but at this stage in my life, as a father of three kids under the age of five life goes fast. Between getting the kids fed before work to a frantic rush home to get home take care of the kids while my wife and I slapped hands to say "tag" before I headed off to a meeting, life just seems fast.

I find myself saying "slow down" and "cherish these moment." And even in those quick hand-offs and rushes I look at my kids, my wife, and many other aspects of my life with joy and I say "slow down, brother, appreciate these things."

And it's odd that in the effort to say "slow down" I am practicably saying to myself "seize the day" which is something quite different. The act of slowing down and enjoying these things, like my family, creates the urge to do things...I say "slow down enjoy your kids, maybe you should schedule a vacation to do so," or even in a less time/financial draining way I say "what about a fun picnic trip to the park."

And I like these ideas, vacations, picnics, outdoor adventures, indoor forts, and the works, but some of these desires spring out of slowing down, and they are anything but slowing down.

I think I feel this way when I read about phone apps that are supposed to simply my life (oh look, a new great list maker, or a way to socially engage with other like minded rose smellers, it even captures my GPS coordinates of where I smelled the roses and plots them on an interactive map).

Or, I feel this way when I talk to my wife or friends, because we're all seeing different ways to cherish the moments in ways the eat up the calendar.

Don't get me wrong, I don't just want to sit on the living room floor and have a starring contest with a two-year old in a zen-emphasis of slowing down.

I don't think the answer to stopping and smelling the roses is more pictures - we take more than we could ever reflect on.

And you can hardly schedule a stop to smell the roses.

But I wonder if what I really want when I say I want to slow down, enjoy each moment, cherish the memories and "stop and smell the roses," is that I really just want to make sure that I am present. A sense that "where I am, is where I am." And that if I'm with a friend, my wife, or one of my children that I'm one hundred percent there with them - in all my senses...and maybe not so much my nose, but my eyes and my ears particularly. If I tune my eyes to see the people I'm with, and my ears to hear what they are saying, I'm pretty confident that my mind will follow and tune out the other distractions that keep us from truly stopping and being where we are.

Images: Dog Nose From Giant Freakin Robot post here; Tulip Picture from Wallshq found  here.

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