The audio file below is an advert I heard on the radio this morning, which made me think. The thing is I have been thinking recently about how much we try to cram into our lives, and this advert (for speeding nonetheless) just hit the nail on the head for me.
“So why are we, the Office Of Road Safety, asking you to slow down in life as well as on the road? What difference does it make to us if you eat in front of the TV, spend little quality time with your kids or grind your teeth because you’re stressed?
Well, we believe the way we drive is a symptom of the way we live; Too fast.”
Now this is a topic close to my heart, since I have a husband that speeds. It doesn’t matter whether we are in a rush, or have left early, it is a constant rush to get to the next place. He doesn’t go at ridiculous speeds, but there is the constant changing of lanes, the complaint that someone is going slow – especially if they are in the right lane. This habit of speeding my hubbie has is definitely because when he was younger he tried to cram too much into life. Tafe, social life and work (which at the time involved the delivery of pizzas, that is driving, and the faster he went the more he delivered!). Hubbie has now slowed down in the amount that he crams into life (well not at this very exact moment since he is in America setting up an office over there!!), but the habit of speeding is still there.
My problem is not speeding, but how much I am trying to cram in. I haven’t worked for 7 months now, but the house is no cleaner, I haven’t sorted my studio out, the puppies haven’t made it to puppy school yet, and I haven’t visited my folks as much as I wanted to. Why?
I blame the world, society and also me! There is just so much more out there and we are trying to do it all. But in doing so, we are actually experiencing less. Instead of the two or three channels on TV we had growing up, there are a dozen on free-to-air TV. To add to that, a lot of us have Foxtel (pay-TV), and to add salt into the wounds, we download a lot, share DVDs with friends and even TV stations have TV shows available on their websites. So now we are exposed to more, we want to watch more! I am often asked if I have watched a show, like Warehouse 13, Eureka, The Walking Dead and I just haven’t got to it – why? Because if I watched everything that looked cool on TV, then that is all I would ever do. How do you choose what to watch? I’m lucky and my hubbie helps in that situation, but in saying that I am usually watching one or two more seasons of different shows, in addition to what we are watching as a couple!
The world is also becoming a smaller place, since it is so much easier to travel and/or move around. This means family and friends are more widespread. As you know hubbie and I spent five years in Kalgoorlie, where we made a lot of friends. Five years in Kalgoorlie was a pretty good stint, and then people move on. We moved back to Perth, but a lot moved over east. Also many of my friends from university days moved over east or overseas. And also our family on both sides is widespread – all over Australia and the U.K. So we try and keep up with as many family and friends through telephone calls, letters (snail mail) and e-mail. And it is probably ten-fold what we used to do ten years ago. I believe this is a common circumstance with a lot of people that they have family and friends everywhere!
Then there is also all the different forms of social media applications, which is fantastic because it makes it easier to keep in touch with our diversely spread family and friends. I admit that I am a culprit of using social media. I have my personal Facebook page, plus one for Michelle’s Labyrinth http://www.facebook.com/michelleslabyrinth (for all my Fantasy, Cake Decorating, Craft posts), which is linked to a Twitter account @mordtaylor. I also now have a Tumblr account http://michelleslabyrinth.tumblr.com/ – where I am going to post all my dessert and pie recipes (I didn’t want to clog up my blog!), and of course WordPress, the final piece of media, that I use for my blog of course. Other applications, that I don’t use, such as Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Google+ and LinkedIn (oh yeah I have a LinkedIn account, but I’m not interested in a job at the moment!!). I don’t know what half of the applications are for, and the only reason I started a Tumblr one was because I wanted to track the recipes I have made… as I keep loosing where my favourite cherry cobbler, fruit cake and white sauce for lasagna recipes are! How many of you have more than one social media application?
Personally I am also trying to work out a hobby I love, to excel at, that I can concentrate on when I go back to work. I love cake decorating and wish I could do it full-time; I am enjoying felting and it is a good medium to get some frustrations out, as long as I don’t poke my finger too much; I love writing (like this blog, and also a novel I am trying to get out of my head); I love photography, especially of my puppies and while travelling; and there is also card-making and scrap-booking. I think I am more a scrap-booker than a card-maker, I have so many things I have kept from my travels and life in general that I want to collate into scrapbooks, and hopefully later on write about. But I love card-making, because I get to socialise and learn lots of cool techniques. This week I even started to try a little bit of needlework, just to see if I like it. I haven’t done enough to pass judgement yet So now I want to do as much as possible of all these interests so I can choose what to concentrate on going forward.
And of course there is also work, that money making activity. There are so many things available nowadays, big screen TVs, pay-tv, fast cars, laptops, iPads, fancy cooking appliances that do all the cooking for you, digital cameras… and also holidays! So we work hard and long to make money, to buy all these things… We spend more time at work, than we do with our family. These people whom we spend 8-12 hours a day with are not our family, in a lot of circumstances are not true friends. It just does not make sense that we are with them more than we are with our families. But to apparently make life more enjoyable for our families, it is just what happens…
And at work, have you noticed that more and more is expected from you (compared to say 10-15 years ago, and longer of course), because we now have access to all these cool tools, so things are faster to do, but that means we do more and it also means we understand less of what actually happens. My experience is in the accounting field, so where we used to do simple Debits and Credits, we now upload files and computers code things for you, do the journals for you. With the speed of e-mails, its is so much easier for people to contact you, so you end of being in contact with more and more people. Now these people are in the same situation as you, where more is automated, so it makes investigative work all that much harder… And of course some things are sourced off-site, which adds another dimension that you didn’t use to have to deal with. I could go on forever about this, but just wanted to make the point that socially we are going faster, but so are we at work. It is constantly faster throughout our whole week!
So how do you fit it all in? You don’t. But then how do you choose what to do? What to watch? What to miss out on? How can we work less? Skimming the surface of life wasn’t doing it for me when I was working, so something does need to change. I understand that we go faster so we can do more, and the truth is, we just experience less. We need to appreciate the moment we are in. I have noticed that in past few weeks I have been trying to do so much, but actually not enjoying it all. I have had the TV on and at the same time I have been on the computer, or felting, or cooking, or cleaning. But I really haven’t been experiencing the TV shows properly. So then I have wanted to watch more TV! So then I end up sleeping less… bad choice.
So why haven’t we slowed down before? Are we worried life will overtake us? But life is now… and now…. When was the last time you stopped to actually breathe? (Actually the last time I laid there and concentrated on just breathing was my final months at work, when I was meditating to reduce heart palpitations!!!! Why haven’t I concentrated on my breathing since? Here is a link if you need some ideas on how to calm yourself now! http://www.enjoytheride.wa.gov.au/slow-topics/lifestyle/instant-calm_20110604/) I was asked today if I use my spa much, but no I don’t. It is coated with a thick layer of dust as proof! Why? Because I am trying to fit too much in as it is already!
So I really enjoyed this thought provoking advert (how often do we listen/watch adverts nowadays!! hehe). I really want to slow down so I have time to appreciate the simple things, the important things. Like going shopping with my Mum, or talking my puppies for a walk, or sitting in the spa with my hubbie.
Slow down and enjoy the ride. (Just like Sandy and Danny did!!!)