After the doctor examined me he handed me a list of recommendations. At the top list were three simple words: Do not rush.
It was an appropriate prescription. My driving record revealed I’d had more than one speeding ticket in the same year. I completed college in three years. I opted for the “Fast Track” program when I studied to be a coach. And in far too many moments my mouth has moved at a speed far faster than my brain.
With the exceptions of the time it takes me to run a 5k or to learn my life lessons, moving slowly does not come naturally for me. I claim that it’s not so much that I’m impatient but merely that I’m hungry for forward movement, as though some distinction exists between the two.
This accelerated rate of living has its benefits. When I get an idea I can turn it into a goal in 5 minutes or less and identify my first steps just as quickly. I’ve collected a boatload of accomplishments.
But I’ve also paid a price for my rapid fire pace.
It cost me the humiliation of making apologies. It cost me friendships I might have treasured had I paused long enough to make them. It cost me unexpected delights that were right in front of me that I didn’t see because my eyes were glued to at my To Do list.
When I began practicing law decades ago, research was done in the law library with a stack of books, court documents were retrieved by checking out a case file at the courthouse, and clients received news about developments in their case through the mail. There were pauses in our pace, and we had time to think.
Today, the luxury of taking matters under advisement like our judges do is hard to come by. While I would not want to return to my days of using carbon paper for copies, the unforgiving immediacy with which we communicate information today has a cost.
We are at risk to react rather than reflect. We panic. We make assumptions. We make demands. We take actions we later regret.
When we slow down, we can revisit our intentions rather than respond from our fears, which for me are often rooted in old stories I doggedly lug around with me just in case I have to pull one out quickly.
Divorce can be a scary venture all around. Any time in life that we experience something that intensifies our fear, we experience an unprecedented sense of urgency and our minds shift into overdrive. Divorce is costly enough. You don’t want to add any fines for speeding.
The next time you are tempted to react in an instant, remember the doctor’s advice: Do not rush.