I am going to be real honest with you, I wrote an entire blog post about the 27 things I learned in 27 years. Sure, it was okay and it definitely talked about a lot of the things I learned while here but I woke up this morning feeling different. Feeling like there are some things I just want to simplify in my life. To quiet the mind and hone in my focus (for once).
You know when people ask you on your birthday if you feel any different? It’s usually a sarcastic question wondering if we feel any older and in my case the punch that I am another year closer to my thirties. Our answer is typically “no” because it really is just another day on the calendar. Another day of the week. Another day of the month. Just one day of the year. So how “different” can we really feel.
I have struggled with my birthday every year. I am not one who really likes celebrating it, other than going out to get a margarita with endless amounts of chips and salsa. I don’t care about the gifts, other than the gift of people being super kind and lovey on that day. However, I usually get a little anxiety leading up to the day because I know I am getting older. That time keeps passing me by and that who really knows which birthday will be my last.
Sounds a bit morbid, I know, but honestly, I know what it feels like when someone doesn’t get enough birthdays. I know what it’s like to have someone stay forever young and not just in spirit. The reminder of a birthday made me consider that if I died tomorrow would I genuinely feel fulfilled.
When I wrote that initial blog post I talked about learning not to hide behind things, to be honest with myself and to others, to love hard - like really hard, to always go with the peach AND strawberry margarita, that the struggle is real but worth it, vegetables actually aren’t so bad, to connect with people face to face even if that means face timing over texting, being minimal and that not everything in life is worth chasing. However, as I read it over again today it just felt busy. It felt like the rest of my life - too damn busy. It also made me feel slightly like a fraud because everything I wrote down is something I learned but not necessarily something that I have been practicing and that realization is always a hard one to cope with.
The one, most important thing I learned in my 27 years is something I heard yesterday. I’ve been in a strange head space lately. The type of head space that your to do list, or in my case my dream list is so long, so outrageously awesome, so extreme that it’s also paralyzing. This means instead of crossing anything off my to do list I am crossing off just about nothin.
The advice that I heard was to slow down. Sure, I have heard this before but all advice given has to be received in the exact time and place that that person needs. Yesterday, I needed to hear that.
This morning I woke up ready to watch the sunrise. I opened the door to my van to see the sky in it’s cotton candy state with the cool breeze float across my face. I went for a walk, without my phone, without wifi, without anyone. On the walk I started asking myself a lot of questions and talking to myself. I asked myself if I felt like what I was doing was filling up my heart with the right things? The answer is yes. I asked myself if I was surrounding myself with good energy and good people. The answer is yes (most of the time). I asked myself if I was living life slowly. The answer is hell no.
Sure I talk about “living in the gap” a lot which I think is a huge portion of slowing down. It’s something I think I do really well, the “living in the gap” thing, but it’s when I am in a certain type of environment. When I am in my van, when I am outside, when I listen to live music, when the ambiance is just right. When it’s my kind of “perfect.”
Slowing down though is not just for when it’s my kind of “perfect.” Atleast it shouldn’t be. Slowing down is for everyday, every hour, every minute, every second. Not gonna life though, the thought of slowing down and listening to someone tell me “you’re young, you have time.” It just straight up gives me the heebie jeebies because I am not a slow down type of person. Yes, I like my down time but I also tend to get anxiety in my down time because I feel like I am not using it wisely enough. It gives me the heebie jeebies because yes I am young but who knows what will happened tomorrow. It gives me the heebie jeebies because I hate when I know other people are right and sometimes I can just live life a little stubbornly.
Slowing down life doesn’t mean you stop living it, it. means that you actually get to live it. It means “living in the gap” always not just when the ambiance is right. Slowing down life means giving yourself credit for where you are right now and not beating yourself up over a timeline that shouldn’t exist anyway. It means noticing the small things and enjoying them simply.
Here’s for 27 trips around the sun, slowing myself down and hopefully another 27 (or more) trips to go.