Hurry up, you'll miss the bus, hurry up, you'll be late for work. Hurry, hurry, hurry. What if one day you realized your life is just full of hurry and not much else?
I'm a numbers person. Always have been, always will be. I like to know the facts and I like to count and see a progression. I count the miles my running shoes have done. I count the strokes as I brush my daughter's hair. Recently I decided to count something different. I decided to count how many times I said "hurry up" to my children.
It was on a drizzly, grey school morning. We were going about our usual routine and I made it a point to notice every time I said a phrase like "hurry up" or "get a move on" or "go faster." I counted each and every time. I stopped at 14. Finally in the car—not late at all (we hardly ever are)—we drove to school. All of us feeling frazzled.
And I felt so sad. It was a horrible start to the day. And this day was not that different to any other day.
Except it was. It was different because I finally noticed.
I noticed that there seemed to be a strange (but not foreign) magnetic force, a constant tug within me towards faster. And what for exactly?
Well, in this case, it was to get to school and daycare on time. Other times, it's to get to a meeting or a dinner out. It's often just any place we are going.
Sometimes I'm in a rush to get to the park so we can finish playing and get home, so I can make dinner and get them to bed, so I can get to bed myself. So I can get up tomorrow and start all over again.
I get it. Sometimes we do need to hurry. But I suspect it's a lot less than we think. And I think we hurry out of habit and expectation. Hurrying is what we've always done, so why change? And if we aren't hurrying then do we look busy or important enough?
Our world is fast. It's instant. And our world is built on hurry. Hurry up or you'll miss the bus. Hurry up or you'll be late for work. Hurry up or you'll miss the start of the party. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Until one day, like me, you count your "hurrys" and realize you've filled your life with hurry and not much else.
As someone who advocates for slowing down, I was deeply ashamed of how much "hurrying" I still did, and how much I was asking my family to join me. So I've been pondering ways to combat hurrying and invite even more slow into our lives.
I'm going to try and hurry less by doing these five things:
1. Notice more
I'm a huge fan of mindfulness. It's been part of my journey towards a simpler, slower life. For me, mindfulness is the act of noticing. Noticing what's going on around us. How the air feels today. What the leaves on the trees are doing. How I feel. Noticing gives me permission to slow down.
2. Play More
Children are oblivious to time. They don't care about deadlines. Their world revolves around what interests them next. They are our most intrepid explorers. And they need to do this, to explore and to learn about the world they are a part of. Once in a while, let's forget about timelines and to-do's, and let's be big kids with our little kids.
3. Be present more
When we are fully present (not thinking of the past or future) it's impossible to hurry. There's no need to hurry if we aren't focused on what's happening next. If we choose to just be, we can find calm and slow.
4. Schedule less
The number one reason (aside from habit) that I use the word "hurry" is because I've overscheduled us, or been unintentional with my use of time. By inserting white space either side of appointment and meetings we can decrease the need to hurry.
5. Expect less
This one is about forgoing perfection for grace and "enough." You might be late for your dinner party but will anyone really care? What would happen if we expected less of ourselves and our kids? I don't think it would be the end of the world.
I've made a commitment to keep noticing how much I use the word hurry in our house. I don't want my children to be in a perpetual state of hurry. I want them to know how to potter, meander, and be kids. I want to ban the word "hurry" before that's all we are doing.
Sure there will be times when the word, or a version of it, will still need saying. You can't be late to school every day. But I'm convinced that with less hurry in our lives we will have more room for joy, laughter, exploring, extra bedtime stories, and extra long cuddles.
Let's invite the generation below us to hurry less and be still more. This is a lost art that we need to reteach ourselves and model to our children. Let's invite them to be fully alive and present in the moment and watch what happens. ✨