I have been fully consumed, mind and body, by the tornado of school work, meetings, deadlines, late nights, quick lunches, and sleepy eyed mornings that make up the first few weeks of school. This school year, I was surprised by how quickly my life escalated from pleasure-reading lazy afternoons to pulling my hair out, frazzled, coffee-drinking (and spilling) madness. I feel as if I am running a marathon that continues to loop me around and around the track. My brain is telling my body to stop, but my legs just keep running.

I have this great fear that life is going to pass me by, and that I am not going to have lived it. I fear that my minutes will slip away from me and add up into days and years that are meaningless. I do not want my year to be filled with meetings and homework and due dates and checklists. That is not living. Not even close. Lately, I feel as if my life has been scheduled into little hourly and thirty minute increments in my pink planner, and it absolutely, positively terrifies me. Busyness has been hideously glorified in our society. There is an immense pressure to PLAN, DO, and ACHIEVE. Yet we must remember that scheduled time slots do not breed joy. In fact, from my experience, overly busy schedules have only extinguished my playful spirit and joyful ways.

I’m ready to slow down, to throw aside my watch, and to live by whimsy, rather than by the minute hand. I’m ready to live for long drawls of time, rather than hour by hour and minute by minute, rushing from place to place. I want to be able to look back on my week and characterize time spent by evenings on the porch, unscheduled morning walks, and conversations with friends that soothe the soul and calm my mind, rather than by blocked-off events on my calendar. How devastating would it be if, each day, you were just looking to cross things off of the list? Check, check, check. Moving on.

It’s time to start thinking about what is good for our souls. I personally know that in times of rushing and haste, my soul flounders and curls up. It does not have room to breathe. But when you pluck yourself out of the rush, you have slow, air-filled gaps of time that pleasantly allow your soul to stretch out and exhale deeply.

That is exactly what I am going to do. I'm going to stop and breathe, deeply and richly. I will cancel meetings and say yes to drive-in movies and Friday neighborhood concerts. I will write a few letters to far-away friends rather than resorting to sending instantaneous messages. Tomorrow morning, before I start my day, I’ll allow my sleep-ridden body to lie in bed for just a few more sweet seconds and to simply observe my surroundings, to listen and look. I might notice the sound of the birds singing as they wake up outside my window, or see the first rays of sunshine filter through my shutters. For once, I’ll allow my mind to simply rest, and to be. I will recall those times of treasured solitude throughout the day, so as to remind myself to pause, worry a little less, love a little more, and to take it slow.