Slow Down, Look Up
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Slow Down, Look Up

Don't get caught in your busyness.

30
Slow Down, Look Up
Jessica Abbott

I recently started learning the ukulele. My friend started teaching me, and I was anxious to learn. After establishing some chords, he taught me a song: "Oceans" by Hillsong United. He and another friend tried walking me through the song by singing as I played. While "Oceans" is a beautiful song, it’s incredibly slow, and I continuously sped up the tempo, trying to rush through the song. In order for the piece to work, though, it must be performed at a steady pace that allows for the song’s full impact. Knowing my own tendencies, this was not an easy feat for me. In fact, I may have abandoned the effort and had him teach me another, faster-paced song.

The problem is that I am obsessed with the rush of life. Not because I’m an adrenaline junkie, but because I am enslaved to efficiency and productivity. I live believing in the myth of busyness, that being busy is productive and crucial to success. I’ve given into the mindset of hustle, which says that we must do everything quickly so that we can move on to the next thing. Efficiency, productivity, busyness and hustle all have a place, it’s just that sometimes it should be under our shoes instead of in the front of our minds.

We get caught up in these ideas and lose sight of anything else. School, work, socializing, hobbies - we are surrounded by them and only see them as boxes to check off on the day’s to-do list. When we allow life to overwhelm us with so much and we don’t give ourselves time to process it, we forget why we’re doing any of it. We forget the purpose we had when we first started pursuing a certain major because we’re so caught up in getting a twelve-page, single-spaced paper on space exploration done in time. We abandon the meaning of relationships, resorting only to platitudes and pleasantries. Everything we do has a purpose, and busyness strips us of it and leaves us with an empty shell of activity.

Life needs purpose again. In order for that to come about, we need to minimize the mindset of “hustle” and adopt what I call “slow down, look up.”

Slow down.

Rushing from class to a meeting to work to the library, back to class, then the dorm, and on and on and on – it’s exhausting. My engine is always going, and I’m always going at full speed, even when I’m just sitting and doing homework. Even when I don’t seem to be doing anything. The thoughts never end, because there is always more to be done and thought about. I have to write my research paper, then do research on this poet for a biography, then read the mythology textbook, then – then – then. Unless I actively stop myself, the thoughts don’t stop.

To end the seemingly endlessness of it, you have to tell yourself Slow down.

Just breathe.

Walk to class a little slower. Use some time in the morning to actually enjoy your coffee instead of guzzling it down as you head out the door. In a stressful moment, stop. Go outside and take in a deep breath of fresh air and reflect. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Maybe you need to plan time in your day to slow down through taking up a hobby, learn a new skill (ukulele, anyone?), journal, or read a book. Do what you have to in order to give yourself time to control your thoughts, instead of allowing them to run rampant.

Look up.

As you slow down, look up. I’ve adopted this from my personal love of the sky. In a moment when I need to breathe, I look at the sky and notice as much as I can. I take in the shades, especially at sunrise or sunset, note the movement and placement of the clouds, enjoy whatever landscape is around me contrasted with whatever is above me, and just breathe.

Look up at the ceiling in your office building and count the dots you see.

Look up at your light fixtures and notice the details.

Look up at what you don’t typically notice and calm down for just a moment.

Slow down. Look up. Don’t allow life to consume you any longer. It can be far too easy to give into the need to be busy, to the thoughts of how much there is to get done, and forget yourself and your purpose. Do your job; do not abandon your responsibilities. But also don’t abandon yourself and your needs.

Slow down. Look up.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

73898
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

46641
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less
Adulting

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

977328
Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments