Just Press Pause
I have this recurring dream…I’m sitting on a high-speed train going a million miles a minute. I look out the window and see the horizon just racing by. As I look out the window, I quickly see an image of my son playing on his tricycle, but I can’t stop to play with him. In another instant, I see my husband winning a shooting match, but I can’t stop to celebrate with him. And yet another still, my friends and family having a barbeque, but I can’t stop to be with them. I keep pleading with the conductor, can you just stop for a minute, but it always falls on deaf ears. I feel trapped and I keep just wanting to stop. But then I look and realize, there is no conductor…it is my hand on the throttle…it is my hand pushing the train forward and it’s me that isn’t willing to stop.
I decided to make this week’s blog a little bit different. Usually I try to bring you some relevant and actionable intel that relates to teaching or learning, but this week I am pressing pause. The last few weeks have felt like a whirlwind. My PhD course work has come to a sort of head with two presentations and two final papers being due all at the same time, it is my turn to lead content in our 8 credit hour musculoskeletal course, the three academic committees I am on have due dates for work to be done at the same time, we are revamping our residency webpage to reflect all of our teams personalities, my students are completing their clinicals and lots of grading to be done (my teammate that typically helps me with grading just left for maternity leave), and my son needs to be potty trained but he has absolutely no interest whatsoever…I mean what-so-ever. Whew! Are you exhausted just reading that? I could probably make the list about 5-6 lines more, but I will save you all the exhaustion. I realized last week that I just want to hit pause so everything around me just instantly stops. No one gets older, no due dates come too quickly, and I can sit and rest without losing time. Have you ever felt that way?
When I get to this point, it typically is because I’m overcommitted. I am a “doer” and typically say yes to way too many things. The hard part is, I don’t say yes because I feel like I need to, but I say yes because nearly every opportunity that comes my way sounds interesting. I love to learn new things and be challenged in new ways. I love the feeling of accomplishing something that I had to work really hard on. I also don’t want to miss out on something. What if that opportunity I say no to is the thing that was going to take me somewhere? The bigger question that I need to ask myself is, what if this opportunity takes me away from the things I want most? Time is limited. We only get 24 hours a day and each second will continue to click by. We need to live with our values in mind and be intentional with the choices we make. Having to say no to an opportunity so you can spend time with your family will not be the roadblock that prevents you from succeeding. I’m saying this so I can hear it, so I can remember it.
My grandpa was a calm man that had patience for days. The only times I saw him get fired up about something was when he was standing behind a pulpit preaching the word of God. When I get to this point of life and I think I’m going to miss out if I say no, I just remember him telling me, “all roads lead there.” You see, he was extremely directionally challenged and got lost a lot. But he didn’t get worked up about it, he didn’t pull over and just stop. He just kept his eyes on the compass and moved towards his destination. All roads lead there. Keep your eyes on your values, goals, dreams and all roads will eventually get you there.
This week I am giving myself permission to pull back on the throttle and step out of the productivity train to reflect and participate in the life that is going on around me. Even greater, I am giving myself permission to not just do this occasionally, but to take time every day, every week, and every month to press pause. Refueling is a key component of any vehicle that needs to move forward, and our human bodies are no exception. Spending quality time with those that I love refuels me and gives me meaning for all the things that I do. This week I am going to be intentional about refueling and recognizing that when the horizon is going by too quickly, I just need to pull back on the throttle.
Where is your hand on the throttle?
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