By Autumn Cleveland
I don’t mean when you are driving or in a new relationship and you are falling head over heels for someone before they’ve even called you after you gave them your number.
I mean, you should slow the fuck down in your day. Your processes. Your life.
Today I drove past the apartment that I spent my early 20s in, and a flood of stupid drunken memories played out in my mind. After a few minutes I thought “Why do I miss it so much? What is it that makes me feel so sad when I think of those years?” I surely do not want to be drunk, broke, uncertain and irresponsible now, but I missed something from my younger days. Everything seems blurry, and I can’t make myself remember as clearly as I would like. I then began to reach for other recollections, events, faces, words….and I realized that I couldn’t piece together memories that I wanted to feel complete.
And I can sum everything up to this simple fact: I wasn’t paying enough attention.
My life was very fast-paced and multi-faceted. Too many hobbies, too many jobs. I was always in a rush. Always late. Always planning for what was next. Never being there, present, in the moment, and being appreciative of it. Now, I’m almost into the next decade, and my mind keeps wandering back and thinking….”Man, I wish I would have just slowed the fuck down and soaked it all in.”
I wish I would have allowed my senses to tune in deeper. I wish I would have opened my eyes wider, and captured each movement in a mental picture. I wish I would have hung on to the words of conversation, so that they could linger longer. I wish I would have let sounds resonate with me more. I wish I would have breathed deeper to inhale the perfume or cologne of the person that I had hugged. I wish I would have traced papers of letters & notes, and fabrics with my fingers. Maybe then, I wouldn’t struggle so hard to fill in the blanks.
The fact is, some of those faces, voices, places, perfectly created moments are those that I can never experience again. In determination as not to repeat myself again in another decade, I am practicing putting away the distractions and pressures, slowing down, and paying attention to details.
Think of all of the moments we’ve missed by looking down at our phones and half-ass listening to our friend talk about their passions or problems. Think about all the goals or projects that we spend months preparing for, yet the moment was gone before we knew it…because we were focused on “what’s next?” Think of all the times that we said “next time” or “tomorrow,” and it’s been years since you’ve had that opportunity, and who knows if you’ll get it again, because you were tuned out. I like to pretend that I don’t have regrets, but that is false. However, I do learn from them, and I try to prevent them from happening again. So my focus in life now, is to slow the fuck down, and appreciate every little detail while it is here.