I turn 32 in a couple of days.
Time doesn’t just fly; it zooms so fast that we should measure its speed in a number with a “Mach” before it. If my recurring realization of this fact has taught me anything, it is the absolute necessity to slow down whenever and wherever possible.
Thirty-two isn’t a particularly “banner” year – it doesn’t bear new legal privileges or a new decade or even a new age group at races. Nevertheless, it is a birthday, and I love birthdays, and I intend to ease my foot off the proverbial gas pedal and enjoy this one.
The advantage to having a summertime birthday is that the weather practically forces you to slow down. Albuquerque, and I’m sure many other places, has hovered in triple digits this week. Those conditions do not allow for barreling through life. They just don’t. Those conditions call for slowness and deliberation.
I’ve been in the process of resigning myself to this, since that whole slowness and deliberation thing is, in fact, a lesson I have to re-learn on a regular basis. In order to fully immerse myself in the idea, I looked to the one activity guaranteed to take anyone to a whole new level of slowness and deliberation: hot yoga.
Sure enough, it worked like a charm. I stretched, shuffle-stepped, and sweated my way carefully through the poses. The act of slowing down my movements, concentrating on breathing, and embracing the concept of Relax and let go made me think, “This is how to get through the heat of summer; this is how to, at least mentally, keep time from zipping by so quickly.”
Also, it’s a great tactic for savoring a birthday week.
So I’ve slowed down. Physically, that hasn’t been hard at all – thanks to the temperatures, my runs have stayed at a lethargic snail’s pace this week. I keep hoping that maybe if I run slowly enough, a kind passer-by will hand me a margarita. No luck yet, but it can’t hurt to keep hoping, can it?
In other areas, it’s a little more challenging to relax and let go, but I’m working on it. This past Sunday, I had a few plans and productive things I wanted to get done, but instead decided to accept a last-minute invitation to attend an archery shoot. I wound up having a terrific time, and met some truly good people who I look forward to seeing again. On Monday evening, I was tired, had more things to get done, and wanted to go to bed early like a disciplined citizen. I got an invitation to a homemade etouffee dinner. My knee-jerk mental reaction was, “Ehhh…well…”.
Then I took a breath. I let it out. And my wise, inner-yoga-self serenely chirped that one should never, EVER turn down a homemade etouffee dinner. So I went, and it was delicious, and I didn’t regret it one bit.
Slowing down. Realizing that plans and day-to-day business are like highways: they’ll always be there, ready to whisk you away and keep you moving at top speed. Learning to look for and appreciate the exits from those highways; the roadside stops; the scenic backroads.
These are the lessons I hope to carry with me through my birthday this year.