In this game we call Life, with the sole exception of running, I am someone who does everything at only one speed: fast. I talk fast, I eat fast, I type and write fast, and I drive fast. I even graduated college fast and started my full-time post-grad job just two days after Commencement, leaving only one day to lay around and slowly soak in the huge change that just took place in my life. Since last May, my only breaks have been weekends and occasional holidays (thanks Columbus, MLK, and the Presidents!) and so when I took my first mini-vacation this past weekend, it was long overdue.
Having only Saturday to Tuesday off, I wanted to make the most of it and began to over plan like the Type-A girl that I am. I left work in a hurry, aiming to get my eyebrows done, go to the bank, get a massage, get my nails done, and go to yoga all before dinner time. As my foot pressed the pedal down harder and my eyes kept nervously darting to the clock every five seconds, I realized that I was kind of ruining the whole point of a vacation.
I made it to the bank and my scheduled massage (a great way to kick off a vacation, by the way), but I scrapped the rest. I changed out of my work clothes and made two rules that I would follow for the rest of the long weekend: don’t rush and don’t wear uncomfortable clothes. I took a deep breath and allowed my body to relax. I went to dinner, not even speeding on the way there, and enjoyed my first night off under a blanket with Netflix, my boyfriend, and sweatpants.
My entire life has revolved around goals. To be the top student in my elementary school, the best catcher in my softball league. To get the highest scores on my AP exams, to get into college with a scholarship. To lose weight. To get a job. To save money. To run a half marathon. These goals have been positive motivators for the most part, and are probably huge contributors to any and all success I’ve had in my 21 short years here on earth. But sometimes goals can wear us out. They can run our spirits thin and leave us tightly wound, close to breaking. Sometimes all these goals and benchmarks distract us from what it’s all about, this “being a person” thing. Because at the end of it all, isn’t the point of life to be joyful?
Shouldn’t we be celebrating more? Wearing comfy clothes more often and driving slower? “Being a person” can be a tall order and some days we need all the help we can get. So yes, maybe this is just my post-vacation zen talking, but I say death to the goals. I say let’s start putting happiness first, filling ourselves up with it like our soul is a gas tank. Drinking it down like cool water on a hot day in the middle of July.
Let’s stop over-scheduling and start taking more walks, doing more yoga. Let’s slow down and not feel guilty about it the whole time. Let’s take days off and lay on the couch for too long; smile until the corners of our mouths ache from being pulled up so high.
I say let’s give just living a try. Take appreciation out for a spin. Exhale all the months and years and lifetimes of built up tension and goals not-yet reached. Live slowly and with abundant joy. Because we deserve it and our bodies need it. Because life is too short to always be in a rush.