Life is Fleeting - 5 Ways to Slow it Down
My life looks completely different than it did a year ago, two years ago. Five years ago.
This thought came to mind early one recent morning on the pickleball court. It was just after my birthday, the time of year when I love to pause and reflect on things, what I’ve learned that I might share, nuggets of wisdom, or introspective questions I’m leaning into.
Life does look so different now – new home, a new state, new gig, more creative freedom, exciting clients and partnerships, new stories, new friendships, deepened old friendships, a lot more family time, pickleball! – that my annual birthday post kept getting pushed. There was just too much to talk about. My mind whirled, unable to settle.
Life is fleeting. Things are temporary. You don’t realize it at the time because you’re in it, dealing with daily decisions, tasks, and plots toward goals. But, looking back, it’s all fleeting, a blip, on the big timeline scheme of things. Of life.
Like 62 trips around the sun. How did that happen? A rhetorical question, yes. I remember as a young girl thinking that 62 was old. Like, old. Ancient, one foot in the grave kind of old. And, now it’s here, like overnight, and it turns out it’s not so old. Ha. Instead, it’s now, it’s time, it’s present. It’s rich. It’s simple. It’s complex.
So, recognizing how fleeting life is got me thinking about five things to help slow things down.
As in embracing the temporary state of, well, everything. To flow with the ebbs and surrender to change. To marvel at it, actually. If you sat still on the edge of life and watched it unfold like a movie in fast-forward, everything changes. Accept impermanence.
As in being fully present. While in a yoga pose recently, my instructor said, “pause, let yourself have the experience.”
It got me thinking about how effective that directive is in everything we do. Pause, and allow yourself the experience. I’d already been thinking a lot about presence and how fleeting being present is too. How triggers, judgments, discomfort, and worry about the future can put us into old stories and patterns that snap us out of being present.
But, a pause. And a breath. It takes presence to a whole other level. It's simple. Once you think about it, you’ll find yourself doing it several times a day. You’re in a moment, doing something, having a thought or feeling, having an experience. Pause. Breathe. Allow yourself the fullness of it. Allow the experience to be in you. Be present.
As in keep things simple. Do you ever notice how there’s not enough time to get any of it done when things feel too busy or complicated? If you slow things down, simplify, take one step, one piece, one chunk, one bite at a time, it helps. So, then even as time flies the way it does, simplicity brings some ease. Things feel and are more doable. Keep it simple.
As in listening to your own wisdom and expressing it. Using your voice. People talk a lot about wanting to find their voice. Sometimes it takes a big life shakeup for your voice to finally be so loud and pure you can’t hear anything else. That’s when you know.
You never had to find your voice, you just had to listen to what was there all along. There, drowned out by expectations from others, society, history, and a concocted version of a voice you thought was yours, or you wanted to be yours, based on someone else’s voice you admired.
Until the thing happens, the big thing, and suddenly you surprise yourself with your own voice. That voice, your voice, is crystal clear. And loud. So, you declare. You express in a way you perhaps haven't before.
Sometimes it starts with a whisper. For me, that’s how the latest leap started. She whispered: “move.” You know when the whispers feel in alignment. When they are soul whispers. Even though it’s scary, it feels easy because it’s right. So, I leaped. I moved from LA to Austin during the pandemic. I bought property and built a house while working in a decade-long corporate job that I knew would likely be ending due soon. It still felt right: the whispers led to the loud voice, the solid yes to what came next. I was ready because I listened to her.
Recently, I witnessed one of my creative clients rediscover her voice while undergoing a major life change that turned her world sideways. And it was loud and true as she expressed herself more authentically and powerfully than ever before. She returned to the purpose work she had drifted away from while listening to other voices besides her own. It brought tears to my eyes, seeing, hearing, and feeling her true voice. Her life is forever changed.
Your voice isn’t there to satisfy someone else’s notions on what you “should” be doing. Nope. It’s here for you. It is you. Subtle, not-so-subtle. At times, whispers. Other times, it’s amplified with a megaphone and broadcast to the mountains. Listen to her. Pay attention. Take heed. Consider. Say yes when it feels right, and say no when it’s an emphatic no.
You know the difference. She’s saying, wake up! You know this.
As in stay curious. Question. Play. Wonder. Curiosity expands a creative life.
Dan Rather said this week, “Life is full of context and complexity.”
Yes, life is complex. Fleeting. Flashes quickly by as you live your life story.
Embrace impermanence, be present, keep it simple, listen to your own wisdom, express your voice, and stay curious.
It already feels slower.
Photo by Léa Dubedout on Unsplash