Sunday, January 17, 2010

When You Move at a Snail's Pace, But the Rest of the World Doesn't

I am sure I have probably said before that ever since being slowed down by MS, I have noticed more just how fast the rest of the world is moving. A perfect example occurred in the parking lot of my grocery recently. I came out of the store, dragging myself to my car, laboriously pushing my full shopping cart. After what seemed like several minutes, I got to the car, opened the trunk and started putting the bags of groceries in. Then a woman came barreling toward the car parked next to me, also pushing a full cart.

As I stood at my car, slowly placing the bags into the trunk and moving items around to more evenly distribute the weight of those bags, I noticed the woman tossing her bags into her car as if they weighed nothing. Then she sped past me to put her shopping cart in the cart return, like she was practicing for a new TV show called The Great American Grocery Race. She took off as I finally closed the trunk and headed to the cart return (which I was parked next to - a little strategy I use these days.) I kind of jealously glanced at the now empty parking spot on the other side of my car. These days, it just feels like everyone else is racing past me, leaving me standing in their dust.

Oh, swiftly moving society, how I miss walking among you and being able to keep up!

I recently read a letter by a woman with MS in a magazine. She wrote about how she had found a certain joy in being slowed down by MS, that it had given her time to focus on things she loved to do and a greater appreciation for things.

(Sigh) I guess that's a good way of looking at it. I do agree with that. Still, I can't help but miss the days when I could walk briskly, and get more done in a day.

There are times when moving slowly is a good thing. A quiet walk in the park, a leisurely stroll through an art museum. Taking time to take in one's surroundings and really see the beauty of them.

There isn't much to notice or appreciate about a grocery store parking lot. Except how quickly everyone else is moving. And I've realized that the fact that they are rushing about is probably indicative of having lots to do and being stressed out. And it's also made me realize that I probably was stressed out when I was moving at their speed, too.

So for me the joy of moving slower is that it has afforded me a less stressful lifestyle, which is nice. I still wouldn't mind being able to move a little faster when I have errands to get out of the way. But I have found ways to deal with getting things done. I give myself more time now to do them, and I don't overburden myself with my to-do list.

I know I am always going to be envious of the folks who can move faster than I - to a degree. But I do like knowing that I am not under pressure to get things done, and I like that I don't have to race around and I don't feel compelled to jam more stuff to do into my day. I can see the advantages of a slower pace now, and I do appreciate them.

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