We Can’t Go Back in Time But We Can Slow it Down
I’ve been in Ireland for nearly 3 months. I arrived on January 26th and moved into an AirBnB in the Phibsborough neighborhood in Dublin. Then, on March 27th we moved to an apartment in Monkstown, a small seaside town south of Dublin. In two days, I’ll be going back to the US.
This morning, while going through my credit card statement, I saw a purchase I made on the day we moved in. It was a filtered water pitcher so that we wouldn’t buy plastic bottles of water every day. And then I saw the date and realized that it wasn’t that long ago, yet it felt like I’ve been using that pitcher for months. I feel like I’ve been in Monkstown for several months, even though it’s only been 4 weeks. And right there I felt so much gratitude for that feeling. While I’m sad that I have to leave, I’m also happy that I made the most of 4 weeks in this beautiful seaside town.
Slowing Down Time
The first time I really started to become aware of our ability to slow down time was a few years ago when I was approaching my late 30’s. I was happy to delay getting to 40. During those years I started to become more intentionally mindful of my surroundings, moments, and experiences. I started to plan trips with so much more intent. I mapped out great coffee shops, wine bars, and top pancake spots. If I could connect with friends in the area, I made sure to do that. I went for long walks in any city I visited, spoke with locals, made friends with baristas and wine people.
Stop and Smell the Roses
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I stopped to smell the roses. I intentionally set out to tap into all of the possibilities that I could from as many experiences as I could. I designed my schedule so that I could be present and leveraged constraints to find faster and more efficient ways of delivering results. Here are some of the things I’ve done in the last several years to slow down time.
- I was present when meeting with friends for coffee, wine, or meals. I put my phone away, closed my laptop, or planned an active experience.
- During my trips to Dublin to visit Rowena, I always put my laptop away after 6pm the latest. Sometimes even 5pm. And I rarely had my phone on me. We intentionally planned out meals, selected wines carefully, and went on long walks.
- Deeply enjoyed routines that are special to me like going to my local coffee shop on weekend mornings and reading a book while enjoying a flat white or cappuccino. Another favorite back in New Jersey was going to the gym, then the soccer field for drills and kicking around.
- Took my time preparing for my day in the mornings. I never move too fast in the mornings. I love my mornings.
- Made time for hobbies like learning about coffee and wine, making pancakes, and reading.
- Even in my chores, I practiced mindfulness. I absolutely love folding laundry, washing dishes, and tidying up. I use that time to think and reflect.
- Recycled special moments and memories. I live and relive them over and over on demand. I experience a significant amount of the joy I originally felt in that moment.
The last 3-4 years of my life have felt like no less than decade. I am so grateful to my past self for having invested mindfulness into most of what I do. Today, I am enjoying the compounded value of all those experiences.
And when days or weeks start to feel like they are flying by, I use that as a reminder to slow down, stop, and mindfully smell the roses.