How I told hurry to take a hike!

I live my life by to-do-lists. Doesn’t everyone? Monday through Friday it’s a race to finish all the to-do’s my job requires. By Friday, I’m already looking at the long list of to-do’s that I have to finish on the weekend. It can be exhausting.

This weekend, my to-do-list consists of going to the grocery store, beauty supply, on a walk, the threading salon, Target, Trader Joe’s, out to dinner with my husband, and probably a few more places that I have forgotten. As I sat on the couch this morning savoring the last few sips of my coffee, I mulled over the to-do’s in my head.

I don’t want to walk today. Who cares that I haven’t taken a walk in two weeks. I just need to hurry and get all these errands done!

Then, the voice of guilt (or maybe better judgment) said in her most snide, accusing way, “One of your values is taking a walk, and you have time for a walk. Walk to the threading salon.” 

That dang reasonable thinking thing again!

I mapped the distance. Less than two miles each way. Four minutes by car, 35 minutes on foot. Reluctantly, I opted for the walk.

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I slapped some sunscreen on my face, a hat on my head, my tennies on my feet and hit the road.

Hurry had me by the throat by the time I turned the corner.

This is stupid! I could just drive there and get this over with. I have SO much to do. Well, not that much, but still, this is going to take so long. What was I thinking?

As my out-of-shape lungs huffed and puffed up the hill, I told myself, Slow down. This isn’t a race. I couldn’t. I just wanted to get this over with. I looked at my walking app and I’d only gone .83 miles. Ugh!

This is going to take forever! Why did I do this? 

Then I stopped, looked around at the trees, listened to the birds and noticed the lizards scurrying quickly into the bushes as I neared. I noticed the hillside across the street was a gorgeous green from the recent rain we had.

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Sit down on the inside. Slow down. Enjoy the walk, the solitude, the discipline of exercise along with the freedom to pay attention to things you usually whiz right by.

My attitude began to shift, and I started to relax. I arrived at the salon, feeling a bit proud of myself and thankful that the walk home would be all down hill.

I walked in, and hurry grabbed me by the throat again.

Oh my gosh! There are so many people here! I’m going to have to wait forever!

I signed in, resigned to wait my turn since I’d walked all this way. Eyeing a water cooler in the back, I asked if I could grab a cup of water, then sat down in the waiting area and surveyed my surroundings.

Sitting on the couch to my left was an older woman, heavy set with short, coarse, reddish blond hair, wearing a long black skirt, a black shawl and tennis shoes. She had a bright pink cast on her right arm. She sat looking at me with her hands folded across her lap. I thought she looked like a Russian Babushka. I smiled at her, wiping sweat from my forehead and lip. I thought, She must be waiting for someone. No way is she having her eyebrows threaded!

A few minutes later, one of the ladies was finished with her service and came over to show the results to her daughter. She asked her if she wanted to try it out today. She looked at me and then back at her daughter and said, “Of course we’ll have to let her go first.”

She walked over to pay for her own service and added enough to pay for her daughter’s as well. The technician looked over at me, her eyes showing her quandary about who should go next. I said,

Go ahead and take her first. I’m in no hurry. 

It’s true. I was in no hurry.

As I waited my turn, the Babushka’s daughter paid her bill and walked over to gently help her up from the couch so they could leave. The old woman kept her eyes glued on me as she walked the short distance to the door. I smiled. She smiled. Then, she did something that surprised me. As she passed by me, she reached her pink-casted arm down toward my hand and squeezed it with her fingers. I smiled up at her, grateful that I had not been in such a hurry to have missed that precious moment. Her touch said something – something I can’t put into words, but it brought tears to my eyes.

When I’m in a hurry all the time, the little treasures that come from pausing long enough to pay attention are overlooked. I plow ahead, pushing and straining and pressing toward the next thing, and I miss the small opportunities, like smiling at an old woman or the small kindness of giving up my turn so a mother and daughter can get on to their next errand.

Does hurry have you by the throat? How can you slow down, savor the moments and tell hurry to take a hike today?


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