I used to countdown the days. Wishing the weeks away and clock watching until Friday. Not wanting to slow down time.
Time could be passed by saying, ‘it was only ten Mondays.’ Ten little Mondays and the things I’d been wanting would be there. Now, all I want to do is slow down time. Those ten little Mondays seem so precious. I don’t want them to disappear.
I don’t know if this happens at midnight when you turn thirty or if it’s a slow burn. Simmering and smouldering as a countdown, somewhere on low, begins in the background. The dawning realisation that the good days are here, and these too shall pass.
Recently, I’ve found myself grasping at seconds and hours and days, clinging to the shape of them, desperate to stop the sands of time from slipping through my fingers.
Can we really slow down time?
I’ve found the best way to slow down time, is to travel. To explore new places. To lean into the things and the people I love and make space in my life for things that bring me joy. To slow down the world by exploring new parts of it. Realising the enormity of the space between the seas and knowing it would take a lifetime to explore. Knowing we won’t run out of adventures before we run out of time.
And the next best thing to slow down time?
To write about those travel experiences.
To capture on the page the way the world looked, the experiences we felt and saw. Trapping that moment in time as a story saved and stored. Talking about our travel stories, writing them down, it’s one of the best ways I know to slow down time.
One thing is certain, we don’t get any more time. Not in a single day and not in a lifetime. You can’t buy more. Or request more. You might be able to allocate more ‘free time’, but it’s the one thing, we can’t create, demand or expect more of. We get what we’re given and that is simultaneously unknown and finite. We have to make the most of what we’ve got.
Slowing down time for me, is about being present.
How can we be more present in our lives? How can we be more present when we travel?
- To slow down time means to savour everyday adventures.
- To slow down time means learning to be content, in a good way, with the things that are right in front of us.
- To slow down time means to enjoy the moment we are in, to its fullest potential.
- To slow down time means to realise this moment is all we’ve got, nothing else is given or promised.
During the lockdown period time has been strange. Slowing and dragging as we wait to see the people we love. Hours taking weeks to tick over to days. Yet, when I look back all I can see is March turn to April, to May, in the blink of an eye. Subsequently, the year 2020 is speeding past us at an alarming rate. Time isn’t waiting. Time isn’t pausing for the pandemic. Time doesn’t stop. And why would we want it to? This is it. These are the days we will long for one day. The same as every season passes, the time we long for will soon pass to.
How to become more present
- Whatever you’re doing, be fully there.
Not thinking about something else or wishing you were someplace different. Which is easier said than done. When we carry the world around in our hands it can get pretty heavy. It can be a big distraction, but for the sake of the people you’re with, or the task you’re completing, be fully there. Set a time limit for that moment, how much time will you allocate and give? Then forget everything else for that time.
- Be careful who you give your time too.
Be a bit more particular about how you spend your time. You can then be more present, knowing this time you are spending is a choice. And one you made freely, happily. Enjoy that time, rather than rushing. Know this was something you wanted to do and embrace the moment.
- Go to new places and explore.
Seeing something for the first time, forces you to be present. Your eyes are absorbing and exploring the new surroundings. You have no choice but the take in the view, the scenery, the moment. You’re looking around not only for safety, but because this whole experience is new. It slows down time by forcing your brain to process and store something new.
- Start writing about your life.
Starting to write about your life will allow you to reflect on the details. Slowly you’ll then notice the details more as you live them. Writing more will lead to living more in the present. Noticing the details. If you don’t know where to start with writing, try sending a thank you note. It will make you think about the person and the reason for the note. You’ll slow down time by remembering the moment you wanted to send thanks for.
So in conclusion, instead of counting down, I’m slowing down. Learning to be more present so I can feel the time pass. I can experience the moments as they move through me. And I can write about the stories and the experiences I want to save. Slowing down my life to the movement of a pen across a page, and the speed of my hands across the keys. What about you? What do you do to slow down time?
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