As a young child I remember hearing an adult once say, “as we get older, time seems to pass by so fast.” At that time I did not understand what the saying meant because I was anxious to experience the seasonal highlights of life. Back then, time was passing by much too slowly for me. Today, however, it is a different story and I understand more of what that phrase means.
In 2012, I had an opportunity to learn tough lessons about time and how fragile life can be. Recovering from intense prolonged trauma, followed by a physical and emotional breakdown at 25 years of age, I’ve had to re-adjust more than a few things in my life, including my personal expectations and how I spent my time. In reflecting on what happened leading up to those 2012 events, I have become more self aware and also realize something very important: I placed a primary focus on achieving a variety of personal and professional goals because the faster I moved through life, the longer I thought I could sustain a “happy” feeling inside.
It was exhausting!
The challenge with always pushing faster and harder in life is that you also have to increase your level of individual effort to experience a relatively consistent level of pseudo “happiness.” To continuously increase your effort, you have to search for ways to recharge faster and more efficiently because the amount of time you have to recharge is always shrinking.
This approach is a losing battle, where compromise is the only winner. You end up trading time and personal flourishing for constantly searching for happiness.
Elements of your life, which are necessary for you to flourish, are bartered away to allow more time to search for happiness. It’s a vicious, but understandable cycle. In 2012, the compromises I made destroyed much of my physical and emotional well-being.
Recovery was a long and slow process, but I discovered something unexpected and beautiful in that journey.
In being forced to slow down my pace of life, I was confronted with the reality of who I was. I was not invincible, yet I was not helpless. I had been shattered, yet not shattered beyond repair. I allowed myself and others to bully me into becoming someone beyond recognition, yet deep down, I was still me.
I realized that I was not valuable for what I did or who I was, I was valuable because I existed.
In slowing down, I learned to accept my human limitations while simultaneously realizing my own remarkable uniqueness. In slowing down, I began to notice rich and beautiful details unfolding around me, while interior peace and joy blossomed inside me. In slowing down, I have learned to be truly present in each moment and to reconnect with what is necessary for me to flourish.
In slowing down, I learned that, for me, this is my secret to truly living life.
Vanessa M Hamm is Chief Catalyst and Owner of Accendi Solutions, a personal development company with a mission to transform the world by igniting the God-given potential inside each person. She is delighted to share her “6 Steps to IGNITE” process which ignites both individual and transformation through Seminars, Workshops and Coaching.
Contact Email: Vanessa.Hamm@accendi-solutions.com