Friday, July 31, 2009

Racing to the Finish Line

Commitments have over the last few months have required me to spend less time blogging and more time working. This is not necessarily a bad thing given that much of the extra work has involved helping one of my sons start a new venture which has allowed me to spend more time with him. Balancing this added workload with my already heavy schedule has, however, made me start thinking about what is it that we are in so much of a hurry about in our daily lives.

I cannot remember a time that I did not have at least two jobs and several 'projects' in the fire at one time. For me, being tired has become a way of life and luckily, I can get by without enough sleep for periods of time. My question is, "what is is that so many of us are working so hard for"? Financial gain is obvious but stops short of explaining the full picture. I could hire others to do much of the work I place on myself.

At times, some of what I have written here seems hypocritical as I talk about giving ourselves quality downtime to recharge our batteries and take time out to appreciate all the wonder that is constantly surrounding us if we just look. Perhaps this is due to the insane schedule I have kept over the last few months and I am feeling a little sorry for myself.

The world is in a hurry and so many of the messages we receive involve needing more. The need for money, success, and status are just a few of the images we are presented with each day through advertising and advice from others. Is this what really matters in the end if we are destroying our quality of life in the process? Of course not.

In a relatively short time, we will all be dead. Everything we have worked for so hard can be passed on to others, not the worst thing I'll admit, but is it worth sacrificing our own happiness? Each of us must answer this question on their own since every situation is different.

Earlier this week, I found myself in grave need for a day off. My motorcycle had been sitting in the garage all summer tempting me to hop on and take a long ride. Deciding it was time, I planned a route that would take me through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, using back roads that make one wonder how they can be called highways given that they are not much wider than an average driveway! They do however wind their way through some of the most picturesque landscapes I have ever witnessed.

I purposely did not take my camera to prevent me from paying more attention to photo opportunities than the breathtaking vistas and mountain lakes my route would offer. Ten thousand foot mountain passes barren of trees offer a sense of wonder as to how these mountains have slowly made their journey from the ocean floor over millions of years to give us the opportunity to see them in all their grandeur at this time in history. They did it by not being in a hurry. I really should have taken a few pictures!

The message I am trying to present, for myself also, is that many of us need to slow our lives down once in a while. We will get to the finish line soon enough. As the finish line happens to be in the shape of a headstone, why be in such a rush to get there?

Just a little something to think about, says he as he points to himself!


Teresa Silverthorn said...

Very honestly written, and a topic that many of us wonder about.

Personally, I work hard because I need to survive. Also, because I enjoy a finished product. If I were not working, I don't think I'd value my life as much. I have retired 4 times, and got back to work 4 times.

I'm one of those few people that would work anyway, even if I didn't have to. (financially)

Good article!

Julie P said...

You're absolutely right! And you've certainly given me a prod to slow down a bit and not try to get 101 things done in a day. But it's in my nature I think. I am predisposed to try and fit as much into my working day as I can and, as a consequence, I end up getting too tired to enjoy myself or do anything else!! And it's all my own fault.

As you say we all die eventually and why are we in such a race to make our lives go faster!

Julie xx

YogaforCynics said...

Hey man, this is your second post today (even if the first was from the archives), so you're certainly running ahead of me. Seriously, I hear you about the take-the-camer-or-not thing. I've generally not been a person who takes pictures, which mystifies some people, like the guy who asked me what the point of hiking the Appalachian Trail was if I didn't take pictures--as if the only reason to do anything is so that we can show people photos later. But, just recently, I've gotten a digital camera, and have caught the picture taking bug. At this point, if I go out with the camera, it's specifically to take pictures, though that may involve a hike or bike ride. Otherwise, if I'm going for the hike or bike ride, the camera stays at home...

dcrelief said...

The Buddhaist Conservative~Roger:
I think that our motivations are many and yet there is, within all, a need for something we have not felt perfected. I enjoy coming here and seeing how your journey goes.
On my blog, in appreciation, I have passed on the "2009 Friendly Blogger Award" to you and seven others. Thank you so kindly for your participation in my own journey.
As always, an excellent posting. There, for a moment, I was riding with you!

Lee Ann said...

Thanks for this post and great reminder.

I think we've become socialized to keep doing more - producing more - stuffing more things into less time.

But part of that truly should be to make time for a picnic, or a drive through sweeping vistas, or a leisurely dog walk or wandering through a museum.

There's nothing at all wrong with working hard. But at least for me, happiness comes from balancing that hard work with enough quality down time.

When I get to the finish line, I'd like to have fond memories of days spent at the beach and with my kids.

BTW, I hope your son's new venture is coming along nicely.

Sathira said...

Great post.

You are not facing this " life challenge " alone in this world! Many people have forgotten how to live their life!

In fact, we have a choice in life! The main question we have to ask ourselves is : How much is enough?

May you be well and happy always!


morrow said...

Sometimes I feel like we all behave like rats in a cage. There is something that is driving us to be restless. Not all people. But many. Myself included. I feel something compels me to fill up my time and my thoughts even. And I love those occasional times when I feel free of this tendency or compulsion. And I ask myself what is so scary about spending some quiet time doing nothing with myself?

Also I used to be the kind of person who did now how to relax and somehow I got the message I was lazy...

Oh, and I passed the Zombie Chicken Award along to you:

klahanie said...

Greetings Roger,
The questions that you formulate in this posting are very much related to postings that I have submitted. Thus, I very much relate to this blog.
I saddens be that so many folks appear to be in such a hurry. 'Too busy' to enjoy and take in the simple pleasures our world has to offer.
I really do not understand this 'keeping up with Jones' type of attitude. Folks do need to slow down and stop this pointless competing with each other. It causes unneeded stress. Taking time out and 'recharging our batteries, is most definitely a good thing.
In peace and respect, Gary.

Robin Easton said...

We must be on the same wave length lately. I came here to see what you were up to and found this post. I had to chuckle as I just wrote one titled, "Can You Slow Down?"

I added a link to your post here on my page. I hope that is okay. I love your honest heartfelt writing here. It is very profound and highly intelligent. It felt soothing to me just to read your thoughts. Very punchy. Thank you SO much, Robin

Andrew said...

I think slowing down at times can be healthy, but in general we need to go about our work in as spiritual a way as possible to be truly healthy individuals. The more we can be a positive force in the world and allow our intuition to guide us along the path, the better our lives will flow. I enjoyed the post! Thanks for the reminder.