When you get in a hurry, slow down!


By MaryAnn

“When you get in a hurry, slow down!”

The first time I heard that phrase I was nineteen years old.

My first thought was, “What a stupid thing to say!”

I was in training for my summer job, waiting tables three meals a day. In addition, the waitstaff was expected to fold napkins, pick flowers for the tables, and help in the kitchen in our spare time. Oh, yeah–and be nice to the guests. It was more like slave labor than a paying job.

I learned a lot that summer, and one of the most most important lessons was this one: when you get in a hurry, slow down!

It has served me well throughout my life–if I can slow down long enough to remember it. And, if you’re like me, when you get in a hurry, you make mistakes!

Here’s an example: While rushing around the house getting ready to go to work, I spill toothpaste on my clean shirt, or trip over the cat and tear my pants on the way out the door. Or, I rush out to the car, only to realize that my car keys are in the house, which is now locked. So I’m already late for work and there are lots of pokey people on the road between me and my destination.

At some point in my adult life, I realized that, by driving 60 on the highway rather than 70 or more, I would reach my destination only a few minutes later and probably avoid being awarded a ticket for speeding. When you get in a hurry, slow down!

Have you ever run into a supermarket to get one or two items, only to find that the woman in front of you is buying $800 worth of groceries? I have. I was stuck: between that marathon shopper and a woman in a scooter chair in line behind me. And none of the other lines looked any shorter. I wished I had brought a book. I tried deep breathing, yoga poses, and meditation, but I still spent 30 minutes in line before it was my turn to check out. I’ve tried to remind myself that I should allow more time to perform what should be simple tasks. When you get in a hurry, slow down!

Have you ever been late for a meeting, frantically racing to beat the stoplights, when a car pulls out in front of you going impossibly slow? And yesterday, it was a bicycle! So…I took a deep breath, tried to enjoy the wildflowers along the road, and managed to get to my destination without killing anyone, including myself. And then there was the time when…well, you know the story.

But seriously, slowing down is the only way you will make it through life without stressing yourself out.  Those other people, the ones who pull out in front of you, who cut you off, who stop dead in the middle of the road–or the grocery aisle–they don’t care and generally don’t realize your predicament. So, it’s all up to you!

According to an article in the Washington Post, stress affects your body in a myriad of ways. It can raise your blood pressure, cause migraine headaches, a panic attack or heart attack, just to name a few. If you want to know more, read the full article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2007/01/22/GR2007012200620.html.

To help you learn to deal with stress, Fontana Regional Library has lots of resources. From stress relief to organizing tips, your library has it all. The book Nerve: poise under pressure explores why some of us thrive under pressure while others fail. Or take a look at Why we make mistakes, which delves into the science of human error and those things that invariably happen when we’re in a hurry!

For more relaxation, try searching the library catalog using the word “yoga” or “stress.”

There you’ll find several hundred resources with titles such as  Yoga for Emotional Balance

and  Let your body win: stress management plain and simple.

I will end with this quote from Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

6 thoughts on “When you get in a hurry, slow down!

  1. What great advice, MaryAnne!

    You’ve always struck me as a very cool, in-control woman. It must be because of your embrace of the Unhurried Lifestyle. It also makes you seem very wise.

    What a wonderful way to live!


    • Thanks, Luke. Unfortunately, I don’t always practice what I preach! But as long as I can deceive people, I must be doing well…


  2. Another good reason to slow down – to enjoy the gorgeous scenery in NC! Take THAT, crazy guy who’s tailgaiting me in hopes to get me to go 90 mph on Cullowhee Mountain! It ain’t happenin’!


  3. I really appreciate and hope to remember the Lao-Tzu quote. And, I think we could substitute the word “hurry” with “worry” in there too!


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