I haven’t been sleeping well the last few weeks. I wake up at ungodly hours of the morning, despite how long it takes for me to finally drift off to sleep. The Wi-Fi in my room is less than optimal and truly discourages any attempts at an early morning Netflix binge. My bed hurts my hips, subsequently hurting my knees, and it honestly makes me want to set the mattress on fire some nights when I really can’t get comfortable – there have been a few nights I’ve slept on the floor in fits of sleepless rage. The bed really doesn’t shout “just stay in bed all day with me, I’m so inviting” so I’ve needed to come up with better ways to use my time in those early hours or sleeplessness. In all of this, I have discovered Spotify (I’ve been living under a rock – trust me, it’s legitimately revolutionized my life. I won’t even need to reactivate my satellite radio subscriptions when I go home because it’s just that good. See yah later, iTunes.) I’ve discovered new playlists, new songs and it’s seriously the best – it’s the little things that make me happy!
Depending on how I wake up, I will either throw on my running gear or I’ll leave my jammies on and head down towards the river. More often than not, I actually do run. It feels good to start your day off with a mean sweat and that’s an understatement. Even on the coolest of mornings in Brisbane, as soon as the sun finally comes up, it’s instantly a scorcher. Some mornings, such as today though, I would head down and find a cozy spot with a great acoustic playlist, the perfect coffee and embrace wearing my comfy pants in public before the sun pokes out behind the tall buildings along the horizon of the CBD. This morning was especially somber. I was still sluggish but in a very calm state.
I paid more attention to how quickly everyone was moving this morning. The CityCat’s were heading up and down the river. Runners were beating their times from yesterday, or chatting amongst each other about their dramas and how many calories they would consume at breakfast on their new “high protein diet” or talk about how their hip new naturopath is changing their life by deleting all bad toxins. Bikers were zipping up and down the tiny laneway like it was engineered to be the Autobahn for bicycles – likely looking forward to the glorious moment when they could at last pull out the unavoidable wedgie they’d been dealing with since they hopped on the thin seat with their tight, aerodynamic shorts on. Businessmen and women were walking towards work dressed in their most impressive clothing and likely impossibly uncomfortable footwear, carrying their prized iPad’s full of “business-y things” with their faces buried in their smartphones. Cars by the hundreds patiently waited for the lights to turn green so they could continue their commute to their jobs, daycares, breakfast dates, gyms, etc. Busses and trains charged by, maintaining their tight schedules. Airplanes flew overhead and all I could think about was where were they heading today? In all of this, I remained still. I took all of this in, as I do quite often these days but I just can’t wrap my mind around the rush.
The chaos that others face seems to comfort me. No part of me felt awkward as I watched it unfold before me – as if I should feel compelled to pretend I had somewhere important to be or that I wanted to get in on the adrenaline rush people get from rushing about like that. A few months ago, that was me. I was a rusher (I make it sound like I’m a reformed alcoholic.) I seemed to rush everywhere – especially on my peak seasons of work and photography sessions. I would edit photos before my day job. I skipped breakfast to make it to work on time. I put my hair in a ponytail to avoid having to run a flatiron through it to save myself 10 minutes. I never gave myself enough time to think let alone enjoy a morning coffee. I would do sessions after work and continue the cycle. I cherished those 10-15 minutes on my commute because there was no stress – it was just the drive, some morning music and a good time to breathe but on the converse of that, I used to be the most road raged human you could find behind the wheel. I knew things had changed for me a few weeks ago when I was driving with a friend in Friday afternoon traffic. It seemed like red light city. There were cars piled up and no one was moving but everyone was anxious for the weekend. There were drivers cutting into other lanes to try to get somewhere a fraction of a second faster. My friend that had been driving was having a field day; flipping out about each red light, each car that passed, every car that cut us off as if that person would be the determining factor for us not getting to our destination on time – a destination that had no set arrival time since it was the beginning of the weekend and because no matter what time we arrived, it would still be there; patiently waiting for us. Each time something would happen ahead of us, there would be a slight outburst and a sarcastic comment directed towards another driver who couldn’t hear what was being said about their driving maneuvers and likely didn’t care. We were all trying to get somewhere. All I could do was just sit back and laugh at the intensity directed at a little bit of traffic – I could do this since I am no longer a sufferer of road rage. I now sit in city traffic and play drums with the steering wheel to the beat on the radio because I can. I used to be the lane changing, yelling, finger throwing girl. I have since said goodbye to that girl… At least for a few months before I likely have to return to the “real world.”
I got to thinking. At some point, do any of these people rushing about have the thoughts that I did? Did they ever stop to think about all the rushing they do? Do they ever just sit still and look around for a few minutes and just take it all in? Do they have the time? Why don’t they make the time to just be still? Did any of them look at me and wonder why I wasn’t rushing and why I looked so calm with my headphones in, feet up on the bench just watching the sunrise over the river? Would they be jealous?
I’m no expert but I’ve discovered there’s no need to rush. Life is going to happen no matter if you’re five minutes early or ten minutes late. It’s going to happen whether you get a 5km run in before work and get to the post office and get your car serviced at noon and make a meatloaf and braid your cats hair and whatever else you wanna cram into the quick hours in one day and miraculously, life is also going to happen if you don’t get it all done in one day too and it’s just how it’s going to go. Ask yourself what the point of rushing is? Is it really going to help? The answers are simple; there is no point in rushing and no, it’s not going to help so calm down, take a minute and enjoy watching everyone else rushing while you stay calm. Watch the sunset at the end of the day and know you’ve taken a few minutes to cool down. Take those extra minutes and savour them like a fine wine or a good bag of chips. Stay in bed a few more minutes, leave a task for tomorrow, just relax. I know this sounds ridiculous coming from someone on “vacation” who doesn’t have kids and a mortgage and all the things that seem to burden us in the “real world” but truth be told, a lot of the things we stress about don’t matter in the long scheme so don’t stress! It’s easier said than done, but people who say that likely haven’t tried it. It really is pretty simple once you try. I’m happy as a pig in shit living pretty stress free! Seriously, try it.
Side note: If you have read this far, you’ll notice already that you’ve taken a few minutes out of your day to chill out. Betcha didn’t see that one coming! You’re halfway there already!