9 Signs that I am Moving through Life too Quickly (and Neglecting Myself)

I recently wrote about how one of my hopes for 2015 is that I will move slower through life. You know, be less busy and more present to relationships and how I feel. I’ve learned that I have several behavioral patterns that tip me off that I am moving too quickly. Most of these things only take a couple minutes, and yet, I neglect them or by doing whatever it is I am neglecting myself. Which means now I get to practice paying attention to these things and intentionally going against the grain of my instinct in order to slow myself down. Maybe you can relate:

1. I don’t tie or untie my shoes. Instead, I just slip them on or off until I damage the back of the shoe. Taking the time to tie and untie takes extra time, but every time I do it I remind myself that I am allowed to move slow enough to complete basic tasks for myself.

2. I eat like a scavenger sometimes. Whatever is around and requires no preparation: apples, granola bars, bowls of cereal. Whatever is the quickest, even if it’s not good for me. I have done this for so long and in so many different contexts that even other people have commented about this.

3. Speaking of food, I don’t chew my food long enough. I scarf it down. For much of my life, I have been that person who finishes his meal first. There is no good reason for this, other than the fact that I am used to running a mile a minute to win this non-existent race. A couple months ago, I was eating and talking with a few college students, and they were telling me and laughing about their experience with Cotillion classes. My first thought was about a an early scene in the film, A League of their Own, and my second thought was that this is one of those shocking things people still do in the South, but not so much in the Midwest, where I grew up. Anyway, a girl told me one of the things she learned was that you’re supposed to chew your food at least 30 times. So I have been trying to do this, more to slow down than to to practice good etiquette. I also think this helps my digestion, which is an added benefit.

4. I don’t make my bed. To be fair, I’ve gotten a zillion times better at this, and I’m actually pretty consistent these days. But for several years of my life, I didn’t even consider it. “Didn’t have time for it.” And besides, I went to four years of military high school, where I had to make my bed, so I was sick of it.

5. I don’t get to the gym. This is another area at which I’ve gotten a lot better. For most of my life, I only knew one mode: play sports like a crazy man until I got hurt. Then, in my late twenties, I kind of got sick of that and didn’t have as easy of access to facilities, so I sort of quit being active at all. Gained some weight, felt shitty about myself. Now I’m trying to find that happy middle: get to the gym, every other day or so, to jump on a stationary bike or get in the pool or to do some yoga. My body thanks me.

6. I don’t change clothes. You know how there are different contexts in life that call for different degrees of formal dress? I just ignored those rules for years. Whatever I started the day wearing is pretty much what I finished the day wearing. This has caused more than one problem in dating relationships. If I (and the people around me) were lucky, the clothes I chose were different from the ones I wore the day before. My younger brother told me one time that he doesn’t know why I even packed changes of clothes when I travel because I don’t seem to get around to wearing any more than one outfit. Thankfully (for all of us), I have made some significant progress with this habit, too :).

7. I let my hair grow for months and months. Because to stop and get it cut takes like…15 minutes and $15. Don’t get me wrong: I like my long, curly hair sometimes. I will probably never be the most clean-cut and -shaven person in a group, and I’m okay with that. But after too long, even I get sick of the locks and getting them cut feels free and naked.

8. I don’t go to the dentist or to other doctors to get potential issues checked out. This is pure neglect, and thankfully I am learning that my body is worth investing in. Still have a long way to go, though.

9. I don’t let myself connect with other people because I “have too much work to do.” What a crock of shit! This is probably even a form of self-punishment. I need connection in order to do any good work at all. It is worth taking the time. I am learning this, slowly but surely…

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