rushing woman looking at wristwatch with large clock in background

Take Time to Slow Down!

Why are we always in such a hurry, anyway?

rushing woman looking at wristwatch with large clock in background

On Memorial Day, Bob received his first traffic ticket in more years than he can remember. He also received a clear reminder that we need to take time to slow down!

It happened on our way to a local state park where we were taking a scenic boat tour with our daughter. We had been warned that the park might fill up early and they would stop letting in cars. But when we made the boat reservations, the instructions said we could show our tickets to the rangers and they would allow us access.

Our cruise wasn’t scheduled to begin until ten o’clock. To be safe, we planned to be at the entrance when the park opened, two hours before we needed to check in. Then we would enjoy a light breakfast in the picnic area and relax until it was time to board.

It was a beautiful, sunshiny morning with blue skies and a light breeze. We left home pretty close to on time and would have arrived just after eight. 

If those flashing blue lights hadn’t come on behind us…

traffic ticket issued for running a stop sign

Rushing Can Be Costly…

Being a holiday, there wasn’t much traffic. Bob was cruising along behind the wheel, singing to the oldies on the radio. There is one stop sign between where you turn off the main highway and the entrance to the park. When he came to it, he tapped the brakes and hit the gas. 

Until he glanced left and saw the police car sitting on the shoulder of the road. Bob braked too late, halfway through the intersection. When he started again, the cop followed, and pretty soon we were pulling over. 

The ticket was issued for “Violation of Right-of-Way from Stop Sign’ and cost Bob $166.00. Plus a visit to traffic school to avoid getting points on his record. 

Needless to say, this little incident put us behind schedule. When we finally arrived at the park entrance, sure enough, they had closed it. But lo and behold! We did as instructed and showed the ranger our boat tickets, and we got in with no problems. Ended up we had plenty of time to eat, take a little stroll up the boardwalk, and be on the dock when the boat started loading. 

When the deputy issued the ticket he told Bob, “There is always time for safety.” It was irritating at the time, but it’s true. We’ve probably all heard about studies that prove driving the speed limit and obeying traffic laws will actually get you there in about the same amount of time as speeding. An interesting article from Canada’s Traffic Injury Research Foundation states that speeding to try to reach your destination sooner saves only a few minutes, but it increases your crash risk substantially. 

We Don’t Need To Feel Rushed!

In our stage of life, there aren’t too many times when we need to be in a hurry. We’re not rushing from work to pick up a child, racing to make a meeting or a flight, or trying to squeeze in multiple errands in a limited amount of time. We usually have the ability to plan our schedules with more margin. So why do we still find ourselves annoyed by slow drivers in traffic or the long line at the grocery store? 

It’s easy to see that Bob paid a price for rushing to the park that day. But it also made us think about what we’re losing when we don’t consciously choose to take time to slow down. Like our peace, our compassion for others, our joy… 

Remember: Take Time to Slow Down!

A favorite song from our younger days is Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge Song,” more popularly known by its subtitle, “Feelin’ Groovy.” Remember the lyrics? It describes slowing down and noticing the surroundings, just kicking along feeling relaxed and happy.

We’re trying to adopt that attitude more often. Whenever we feel ourselves getting anxious—in traffic or otherwise—and thinking we need to rush when we don’t, we may need a reminder to take time to SLOW DOWN. 

frosty red tropical drink sitting on white sand with ocean waves in background

As we slide into summer, this is a great time to make a fruity drink, find some shade, and read a good book. Or lay in a hammock and take a nap. Or watch the waves…

Have you ever paid the price for hurrying? What are your favorite ways to relax? Let us know in the comments!

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