What’s the rush?
Once upon a time, I used to run for the bus. During this previous era, I also ran for the streetcar. The train? I ran for that too.
But it wasn’t only moving objects that I chased. There were also stationary items that were the focus of my pursuits. Let’s take doors, for example.
I used to run for a door held ajar, if some kindly person ahead of me decided to hold it open for me. The least I could do was quicken my pace and — okay — run — since this kind stranger was doing me a favour.
Like so many, there was an urgency to getting to a place just in time, or else I might miss something. Life was so busy, there was so much to get done, I had to rush…or so I thought.
And then age happened. Like all of us, the realities of living in a body that wasn’t as spry as it once was set in. Age, injuries and inertia changed my quickened pace forever. And of this trifecta, age is the primary reason behind the change.
The wisdom of age vs. the urgency of youth
As I’ve added years to my life I’ve also lost the ability to run as quickly as I once could. What I’ve also lost is the desire to run for whatever reason — to catch a bus or otherwise. This is perhaps because as the years have passed, I have realized that waiting is overall not a bad thing. Patience is a virtue, so they say, and taking on this philosophy when the train is about to leave the station provides a needed sense of calm. Realizing that no, I don’t have to run after that that vehicle is both pragmatic and liberating.
Tiring oneself by running furtively to catch a bus that will inevitably be followed by an almost identical one in a few minutes makes no sense. Sure — we’ve got places to go and things to see, but the physical and psychic energy required by sprinting towards the finish line is questionable. If you’re not on your way to an immediate emergency, why add stress to both your joints and your mind?
We’ve got places to go and things to see, but the physical and psychic energy required by sprinting towards the finish line is questionable.
Perhaps this question is better understood by those of us who have experienced a life that has included some trip-ups — both literally and figuratively. Recovery time increases as the years progress. In other words, there’s a very real cost and risk to running and being abruptly stopped by a debilitating fall. Bruises hurt and broken bones take time to heal, facts that often don’t register for those who are of the younger generations.
Indeed, the urgency of youth ignites the desire to run at any cost — whether it’s a stumble and trip or a fall that causes injuries. The younger one is, the easier it is to recover. As age ossifies our bones and muscles, a more cerebral process occurs when we’re behind the eight ball for our next appointment.
As age ossifies our bones and stultifies our muscles, a more cerebral process occurs when we’re behind the eight ball for our next appointment.
As the years go on, critical thinking skills, a split-second determination of the pros and cons, and the realization that the end result of a furtive sprint may not be pleasant leads my cooler head to prevail. I’ll wait for the next train, thank-you.
Remember: there’s always time
We all know that time is an elusive and mysterious thing. How do we quantify it and what is its value? Relatively speaking, time can seem to speed up or, given the right circumstances, slow down.
Either way, it’s the perception of time and the value that we ascribe to this nebulous concept that leads us to exhaust ourselves in the process. We can’t be late. We must hurry. We can’t waste time. Or so we’ve been taught.
There is almost nothing so important that it can’t wait.
And yet, ironically, the passage of time is what has taught me that there is almost nothing so important that it can’t wait. This valuable life lesson is one of the many that have been learned over the years and earnestly remembered when I’m running behind on my next appointment. After all these years, I’m grateful for this valuable lesson finally learned.
Oh — a quick post script: on a related topic, waiting in lines more than a few minutes is also a distant memory. We do finally get smarter as we get older.