By Eric Beach
Are we going to fast? Our way of life has become focused on speed. Our measure of success is "How far, how fast." What big thing can we accomplish in the shortest amount of time? To me, thats not the definition of success, its the definition of dying.
I had just finished my swim (800 meters). For those who don't know, I'm training for a half ironman distance triathlon in June. For those who care to know, its a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. After the swim, I toweled off, and changed into my running gear. Once on the road, I started my 6 mile run and on that run, something special happened.
I found myself in a sort of microcosm of the human experience. I was running, appreciating the beauty found in the landscapes around me in a way I had never done before. I felt genuine gratitude for being privileged enough to bare witness to its beauty! I had driven this road many times, but had never seen it this way. I had never truly seen it because to see beauty, you have to slow down.
When driving at 60mph, you miss things. Your focus is on the road and on what everyone around you is doing. It has to be this way, or you'd crash. Thats the standard our culture has set us up in. We live our lives behind the wheel, barreling down the highway. Because of this reality, I fear we are missing the point of this journey.
Bus loads of elementary schoolers passed me, rushing the kids to somewhere, a field trip perhaps. Shortly after, they passed me again heading back to the school. I wonder what those kids learned in 15 minutes. I wonder how much better the time would have been invested in a 30 minute outdoor play/explore session.
We do this. We rush from place to place just to spend a few superficial moments in places we don't care to be in. We learn a little of everything and grasp nothing. We rush home, and if we're lucky, we can catch our favorite show. Thats not living!
We grow up, get on the highway, and drive fast. We don't know why, we just find ourselves there one day. We begin to start noticing and focusing on the wrong things. We see another motorist is driving faster than us so we speed up. Heaven forbid we travel at a pace thats healthy for us. We notice another driver has a much nicer car and start to feel embarrassed to even be seen driving our car. We hang our head and surprise surprise, we notice the tank is on empty again!
However, in these vehicles, there is a slight difference. We have 3 gas tanks. They are filled with Love, Security, and Significance. When we constantly worry about the drivers around us, its easy to forget to make sure our tanks are full. I ran, and my tanks were full.
I know we aren't all going to be runners, but we can all look around. This week, I've pain attention to the people out walking. In almost every case, whether walking the dog or by themselves, if the walker was under 25-30, they were staring at their phones. We can't even go 10 minutes without being connected to our phone, filling up our tanks with garbage!
Theres a whole world to be seen out there, but you have to slow down to see it. Take a moment to slow down. Get off the road and find your own lane. That lane will become your path to purpose. The traditional model of work has no interest in helping you find it, so its on you.
Remember this. The win in life isn't how far, how fast... It's smiling when the world tells you to frown.