When I think of summer, I think of the word slow. You probably hear it often: summertime is a time to slow down, take it easy, live and enjoy a slower pace, but how many of us actually do it? Although it sounds great in theory, especially on a freezing, snowy day in February, I don’t know many people who take slowing down seriously.
For me the 4th of July is kind of like the “mid-way mark” of summer, a reminder that these school-free vacation days won’t last forever. After the 4th, the calendar seems to slide rapidly into August and before you know it, the routine of school, work, and obligations has taken hold again. While I am not a huge fan of summer…think mosquitoes, gnats, wasps, humidity, heat…I am an unwavering fan of “slowing down”. Too often, I spend my days checking e-mail, answering texts, messages on social media and making myself feel scattered, all without slowing down and making choices about what is really important. I think most of us tend to do this because we feel that if we are not moving and doing, we will somehow miss out or fall behind. We fall for that lie because we don’t see the value in slowing down, until we become ill or we are forced in some way to stop our frantic scurrying. What are the advantages of slowing? Less stressful exchanges with our family and friends, more time to consider what we really want to do, instead of just doing the next thing and a more relaxed approach to life in general.
When was the last time you just sat still and watched the birds, without checking your phone or worrying about the next thing on your to-do list? How long has it been since you really listened to your family or friends when they are talking to you, looked them in the eye and gave them your full attention instead of staring into your phone or tablet? We have become a distracted, frantic nation of busy people, too busy to really enjoy the things of today.
I was trying a new wine last week and realized that I was rushing the experience, not pausing to savor every nuance and note as I’ m usually prone to do. That’s when I became aware of my own rushed busyness and decided it was time to slow down. A wise man once explained to me the “art of slowing”. He said, that to truly enjoy life, you “must eliminate hurry”.
I wonder what would happen if every parent started practicing this method with their children or adult children with their aging parents. How about mealtimes, commutes and special times with friends?
Enjoying wine is like enjoying life…it can’t be rushed, the quality of your experience is equal to the time you invest. This week, invest in those around you who matter. Take the time to enjoy every day and don’t forget to enjoy that next bottle of wine…it’s more than just wine, it’s an experience.