I’m working to embrace the moments in life that show me that I “move too fast”.
Moments like having slow car ahead of me on the Town Line (for those of you not from the “GTA”, the Town Line is the 2 lane road I take to get pretty much every where I might be going which is often used by slower moving vehicles), the traffic back up that causes me to stop when I drive home from work, and cancelled flights (that end up being cancelled again).
I’m working to embrace these types of moments and not be frustrated by them.
I’m working to embrace them because The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by Paul Simon is frequently playing in my head.
“Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy”
To help me embrace these moments, I sing the song during them.
(FYI – until just now when I googled them, I thought the lyric was “got to make the moment last”, I’m going to keep singing it that way)
Slow down, you move too fast….
“The difference between who you are now and who you were five years ago is largely due to how you’ve spent your time along the way.”
With that in mind, how are you going to spend your time over the next 5 years?
Saturday was our first hiking date for the 2017 season. As we started our 4th year of Bruce Trail hiking, we talked about some of the things we have learned.
Start slow: There is no point in being overly ambitious the first hike of the season. A 10 or 12 km day is fine, but plan that on the first hike of the year and odds are it’s not going to get the hiking season started on a high note.
Factor in the weather forecast: Building on learning #1, if it’s going to rain on the first hike of the season (or you may encounter a lot of mud and/or snow due to recent weather conditions), subtract a couple more km from the initial plan for the day. A one day hike in the rain or on muddy trails isn’t impossible, but the day is greatly improved when you aren’t going too far.
Look at the contour lines on the map: On the first day out, look for flat sections. No need to pick a section of the trail where the map has lots of close contour lines that the trail crosses over and over and over again. And whenever possible, read the guide book and map and try to figure out if going a certain directly means less up hill sections that going the other direction. Whether you hike north or south, you are still doing the entire trail.
It doesn’t hurt to have a back up plan: As we are both people who like to have a plan, when it looks like the potential for heavy rain, having a back up plan to just meet and go shopping seems to make all the planning and date booking worth the effort. Note for the record, we did not go shopping and we did hike in the rain.
The road/hard packed (or paved) trail will be fine: I have written about this before, but when you can see the trail blazes from the road or packed trail, and that trail is windy, rocking, includes several ups and downs, and potentially muddy; you will be happier if you just still to the road. There will be plenty of other sections windy, rocky, up/down, and potentially muddy trail to hike when their is no road (or paved trail) in sight.
Don’t forget that the purpose is to enjoy it: We have learned many things over the past 3 years that reduce the risk that we will end up being cranky. Our goal of hiking the entire Bruce Trail did not include doing it quickly, nor did it include hiking in all weather conditions. We continue to push ourselves to hike in rain, and heat, and when the bugs are bad. But we also continue to make choices about how far we go, which sections we pick on which days, and about when we hike to ensure that the majority of the time we are still enjoying ourselves.
So yes, the 2017 hiking season has begun. We may not get out as many times this year as last year, but that’s okay too. Yesterday we did just under 8 km through Hamilton. There was a light rain the majority of our hike. We slowed down enough to look at the sites and waterfalls, but didn’t feel the need to stop and take photos. We enjoyed lunch under the Red Hill Parkway overpass, happy to find a spot that was sheltered from the rain, and the weather was on our side, as it rained the hardest as we sat there eating our lunch. Overall it was a good day. It was a good day, because we applied the lessons we have learned. Failing to apply what we have learned may result in us completing the entire trail more quickly, but we would be missing the point of it all, if we didn’t enjoy it.
What advise would you give to your younger self? What do you know now, that you wish you had known in your 20s? What would you tell your 35 year old self?
Lately I’ve been reflecting on the wisdom that comes with age, the wisdom that comes over time just by living life. I have been thinking about what I wish I had known a decade ago.
I’ve also been wondering if I would have listened?
We are just back from a week of vacation. It was just the right combination of everything to result in a fantastic week.
It was the right combination of activity and relaxing.
It was the right combination of people.
It was the right combination of predictability and of things that were new.
It was the right combination of laughter and serious discussion.
It was the right combination of weather.
When you find this right combination, don’t take it for granted. Rather savor the moment, the people and the experience. And then be sure to recreate it.
Again this is a bit of cheat post – as the words below are not my own. But today I felt highly motivated to blog. To put something out there in the world. To potentially offer encouragement and inspiration to others. I wasn’t sure what to write about. As I looked through the personally inspiring things I have read recently, the writing of Seth Godin copied below seemed to fit with my goal for today. You can read his words below.
In a somewhat ironic turn of events, one of the other ideas I pondered today was the important role a good “Linker” can play in making things happen and in connecting people and ideas. Perhaps I will write more on that another day, but in the mean time, sharing Seth Godin’s writing through my blog is one example of how I hope “linking” (not necessarily creating or doing) can have an impact.
“It’s not enough.
There are more people, better off, with more freedom, more agency and more power than at any other time in our history.
That’s not enough.
As we use technology and culture to create more health, more access and more dignity for more people, we keep reminding ourselves how inadequate it is in the face of the injustice and pain that remains.
That’s how we get better.
We must focus on the less fortunate and the oppressed not because the world isn’t getting better but because it is.
It’s our attention to those on the fringes that causes the world to get better.”
We remember experiences way more than we remember things. We know this to be true. We remember parties, and concerts, and vacations, and camping trips, and moments on the hiking trail, and late night chats with friends, and a million more experiences. I remember far fewer of the things/stuff/possessions that have passed through my life over the years (of course there some – that first car, the favourite sweater, that special doll).
And yet does this reflect how we budget and/or spend our money and time? Does it reflect how we set our goals and thinks about the year to come?
On New Years Eve a friend listed off some of her plans for 2017 – they were all experiences, none related to getting anything new. When we spend our money and time on experiences we are happier than when we spend these resources on things. This friend’s plans for 2017 were bang on, she knows that a 90s retro party is going to bring more joy and more memories than any item she might acquire.
So forget about the stuff. As you plan and set your goals for 2017, what experiences are on your list?