This is a guest post from Jeff Goins of goinswriter.com. I rarely host guest posters at Chatting at the Sky but I’m happy to have Jeff here today. Besides, I didn’t want you to miss his latest release, The In-Between. I read it, and now recommend it to you. Welcome, Jeff.
I’ve always been a driven, goal-oriented person. With my eyes on the next big thing, I’m constantly scanning the horizon for new opportunities. But while I’m waiting for something extraordinary to happen, life has a funny way of going on without me.
The good life isn’t ahead or behind us; it’s all around — if only we have eyes to see.
It took the birth of my son to realize this, to slow me down and focus on what’s right in front of me. With a newborn in the house, I’ve realized how important every moment is. If I miss a day due to busyness, I miss a lot.
After seeing how much our little guy changes and learns every day, I’m done with rushing through life. I don’t want to miss a thing.
Walk, don’t run
I used run a lot. Sometimes, six or eight miles a day. I like running; it’s invigorating and a great workout. But even a jog can sometimes be too quick a pace for me.
“Running is efficient,” my boss once told me. And he was absolutely right. But I’m not sure I want to squeeze any more efficiency or productivity out of me days.
I approach exercise like I do work and sometimes, unfortunately, time with family. That is, quickly. But life is not a race; it’s a dessert to be savored, through and through.
One way I remind myself of this is by going for daily walks. When you walk, you see things differently, things you might otherwise miss. Walking forces you to slow down and pay attention to the beauty all around.
And I need more of that in my life.
Cook your food slowly
I love cooking, but I’ve never had the discipline to make my own meals.
After getting married, my wife and I ate out a lot. But when we realized how rough that was on our budget, we started buying cheap, prepackaged meals to heat up at home.
When our son was born, we had even less time to make meals, so we rushed the process even more. In this past year, however, we’ve resolved to eat more fresh food and to enjoy the process of preparing it.
There’s something about savoring a meal that took half the evening to prepare. This takes time, of course, but as I chop onions and watch water boil I’m learning an important lesson: Some things, maybe the best things in life, take time.
Turn technology off
Before getting a smartphone, I used to not have to fight for silence. There were just ordinary moments in my life where there was a pause. But now those moments are few and far between.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my iPhone. It’s an amazing tool that does so many things. Too many things. I can literally go through a whole day attached to that device, if I’m not careful.
There’s a danger to ceaseless activity and constant doing: You can lose sight of what’s most important.
It made me uncomfortable how attached I’d become to a four-and-a-half inch piece of technology. Recently, in order to recapture part of the stillness in my life I lost, I’ve started finding ways to ditch my phone.
First, I began “accidentally” leaving it in the bedroom. Then I turned off all notifications, so I would only get a text or email when I looked at the phone. Finally, I began turning it off on Friday nights and sometimes not turning it back on until Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Yes, sometimes, I miss a phone call or semi-important email. But the truth is, as I go for walks with my wife and push my son in his swing, I know I’m not missing a thing.
Jeff’s new book, The In-Between, is about slowing down and learning to embrace everyday moments. If you find yourself in the quiet valley of waiting, Jeff offers a kind voice in the silence. This gently honest book challenged me to surrender to the waiting moments rather than try to rush ahead to the next thing. It really is a lovely read. Find out more about it at inbetweenbook.com. You can read more of Jeff’s writing at his blog, Goins, Writer (goinswriter.com).