May 10, 2015 By Quinn McDonald 6 Comments Hurry-Up and Wait, and Enjoy Much of my life is spent running, hurrying, keeping my eye on the clock and meeting small, hourly deadlines. When I’m in front of a class, whether it’s technical writing or grammar, there are certain time points to meet. For the class to run smoothly, it has to stay on track. When the class is over, it’s hard to shut off the timekeeper in my head. I usually spend deliberate time slowing down. Walking or doing breathing exercises in my hotel room, the focus shifts from marking lessons to letting my eyes drift to see what might be delightful to see. This morning, I dragged the hose across the pool and set the sprinkler to water the potted plants at the edge of the pool. The shadow made by the random drops that fell in the pool sent me back for my camera. I would have missed it, if I hadn’t looked over my shoulder. A few weeks ago, a caring, thoughtful person steamed asparagus for dinner, and I was enchanted by the color. She pulled one out of the steaming pot, and I caught it with a drop of water near the top. The color alone was worth asking someone I had just met to let me photograph dinner in the making. We both laughed, surprised, I think, that the other didn’t mind asking to slow down and notice. A tiny moment in time, seen because it was perfect. Much of my life is rushed, too much time is spent in front of a computer screen. My life would be poorer if I were to miss these real-life opportunities. It’s more than the sight, it’s a certain vulnerability that allows for permission to take the time to enjoy such an accident of nature and pull out the camera to catch it. In my case, I have to allow myself to be all right with not racing off to check the next item off. It’s restorative to allow myself the vulnerability of being amazed at nature time and time again. There were many years in my life when I would have noticed but pretended not to. It wasn’t important enough. It wasn’t worth my time. But at night, before I fell asleep, I always regretted not allowing myself the simple permission of time to be slow. It was a hard lesson to learn, to give up speed for enjoyment. I still work fast and hard, I’m sure I miss a lot. But I’m grateful for every second I catch and enjoy. I’m happy to give up the drama that made up a lot of my life many years ago. It was a considered decision. Frankly, the drama had a crackle to it that was tempting. In the end, I’m happier choosing to steer clear of drama and noticed the smaller, slower things. –Quinn McDonald is a naturalist who races through airports and stares out windows. Then she’s a creativity coach with a memory for beauty. And a writer who remembers.