Slow down. You’re doing fine.

“Slow down you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.”

“Vienna“ by Billy Joel. When was the last time you listened to that song? I haven’t really paid much attention to it for several decades. However recently snippets of it have been making the rounds on Instagram and TickTock etc. A mantra for taking a step back and slowing down a little bit.

If you know me or have followed me you understand that I am not the slow down and take a moment kind of girl. I am an energizer bunny. I’m constantly on the move doing doing doing. I’ve never ever in my life been able to just sit back and wait. My philosophy has always been to go out and get what I want. Make what I want to happen on my own.

In 2017 a life-changing diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease put me into a panic. Where I was once a happy overachiever, taking on her world one bite at a time, I suddenly felt the need to ramp that up. I did not want years and decades to go by feeling sorry for myself and missing out on every opportunity I could while I could. So my life as a very energetic determined woman was multiplied by 10. I needed to see it all. I needed to do it all. In other words

There is no time in all this time.

A few weeks ago I had a stumble, not a fall just a stumble. However that stumble had me whipping my hand out to stop myself from falling and in a crazy freak accident I broke two of my metacarpals in my right dominant hand. One week after that I went in and had surgery where they placed three pins in my right hand to fix the brakes. Wow what an eye-opener! Slow down? Me? Well I had no choice now. Slow down I must. In fact I had to come to a crashing halt. I could not move and I have been very immobile and unable to do my daily living let alone the extra stuff I like to do. Rest and heal is the prescription for me.

That’s one way to slow things down

I can’t say that I’m liking this. In fact it’s driving me a little bonkers. I have to rely on my husband and my two older boys to complete a lot of the chores that I would normally do. I have to sit back and watch and cringe at the things that aren’t getting done. (How does no one see this mess? It’s a mom thing.)

But now that I am several weeks into this injury and will be another several more I’m starting to see the benefit of this slower pace. I was not doing myself or my family any favours by rushing and trying to fit in so many things throughout the day.

Why should I always be hurrying to be busy? There really isn’t a reason. Other than I just want to. This time of slowness has made me realize that I have to balance my life a little bit more. I need to take more time for my self and my family where we are joyfully enjoying doing nothing.

While I have been convalescing I keep having this desire to jump in the car drive to the lake. I envision building a fire and curling up in a blanket. I see nothing but rest in the outdoors. I want to see my children fishing and running along the shoreline. I see a lazy picnic. And cosy spot for a little nap.

Recently i was introduced to the Italian phrase “il dolce far niente”. The sweetness of doing nothing. What a beautiful phrase and mantra. Thinking back to the last few years I can’t find enough of those moments where I have embraced doing nothing.

To me the sweetness of doing nothing would include sitting in my picture window with a big cup of tea, my feet up and just watching the day. Cuddling a little extra long in bed in the morning. Napping. Curling up with my daughter and watching a movie. Sitting in the grass in my backyard on a warm summer night staring at the stars. Putting the fire on out on the patio and watching the flames. The sweetness of doing nothing sounds peaceful to me.

When I think of slow, one place immediately comes to mind. One of my favourite places on Vancouver Island. My family and I go once every summer for a nice long lazy week. And during that week there is a lot of slow and definitely lots of doing nothing. We sit on the beach with our feet stretched out and watch the waves. We curl up in hammocks and nap. There is no rushing. Except when the next wave is coming in and you want to jump into it on your boogie board. We slowly walk the shore. Stopping where a shell or something in the sand catches our eye. Definitely I will be creating more of those nothing moments that really add up to something special.

Parkinson’s is going to slow me down at some point. But it’s not now. However I’m not in a race. And I need to be able to say that I did it all. I was creative and raised my children and loved my husband and created a beautiful whole life. I dabbled in art, I travelled, I did everything I wanted AND I added more of doing sweet nothing.

I want to one day look back at this time of my life and be proud that I achieved what I wanted but that has to include some breathable moments. My body has forced me to slow down. But now I see the room I have for even greater joy with that slowness.

And when I need a reminder I’ll just hum a few lines. Slow down. You’re doing fine.

Margaret S. Morton /slowly embracing the art of sweet nothings to do.

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