Because sometimes you need to slow down

Sometimes the way I live my life comes back to haunt me in moments when I really want things to go smoothly.

Especially as a result of me constantly being in a hurry.

I learned a lot of patience as a teacher, but let’s be honest—there are still many areas that I could work to improve. One of those is on airplanes. I’m not a huge fan of flying, because I feel so confined and eager to get to wherever it is I’m going, but one of my least favorite situations is after the plane lands, and it’s time for everyone to grab their bags and get off of the plane. It seems like some people take literal eternities (no exaggeration whatsoever) to rise from their seats, retrieve their belongings from the overhead compartments, and then manage to make forward progress toward the front of the plane.

That whole first-class plane life must be nice.

I typically try to sit as close to the front as possible so that I can bolt out of there (again with that always rushing thing), and I usually have a slight fear that there isn’t going to be enough overhead space above my row, and I might have to put my bag in one of the compartments a row or two back—heaven forbid such a monstrosity!

On my flight back to Orange County the weekend after Thanksgiving, I was pretty exhausted and ready to get off the plane as soon as we landed, especially since we had taken off a little bit later than originally planned (thanks, post-holiday runway traffic). I was in that dreaded scenario of my suitcase being in the bin one row back, but I had the homeboy sitting behind me get it for me as soon as we all stood up. I was so ready to get off of that plane—if only the man right in front of me blocking the aisle understood how important an expedited exit was.

He finally got his stuff together, and we were actually moving. I bolted downstairs so that I could get to my Uber that was about to arrive, and I stood next to my suitcase to wait. I went to set my purse down on top of my suitcase, but it turns out that my purse wasn’t actually on my shoulder.

Shast—I left it on the plane!

I had been in such a rush to get out of there that I hadn’t even remembered to grab my purse with all of my Wheat Thins and all of the items that would be perfect for identity theft and fraudulent charges from underneath the seat in front of me. I then went into panic mode and began hurrying more than ever to find out how I could get it back. Thankfully, the lady at the customer service desk was able to radio someone else who had a radio, and it turned out my purse had been given to a flight attendant (thank you to the kind soul who did that for me and didn’t take anything, especially my Wheat Thins and favorite lip gloss). I also had a very patient Uber driver, Jeff, who waited for me to act like a crazy woman and take off sprinting through the airport to get my purse back.

I can’t say I always have the best attitude about waiting.

Life sometimes has funny (and not-so-funny) ways of reminding us that we need to stop rushing through it so much. It goes by so quickly, and moments from the past become such distant memories that we’ll never get back again. Every second truly is precious, and it’s important to enjoy those moments rather than try to speed through them like flippin’ Usain Bolt—he’s a record-setting sprinter, and I’m pretty sure we aren’t. Some things we really do have to go after in full-throttle mode, but other things require waiting.

I know that not every minute in life is going to be enjoyable (like when you feel trapped on the landed plane), but we often have to endure those times, even if they end up taking longer than we’d prefer. Injuries require time for recovery, broken hearts require time for mending, restaurants take time to get your food prepared, hair takes time to grow back when you make a rash decision to chop it off and then regret it, boys take time (forever) to mature, and people often require time to discover who they want to be and what they want to do.

Life takes time.

I hope I can take the time to remember to slow down every once in a while—and not simply for the sake of keeping my purse on my shoulder. What’s the point of rushing through life if you’re not taking the time to enjoy every precious second you can while you can? It might allow you to have more opportunities to show love to another person who really needs it, even if it’s only taking an extra second or however long it takes to flash a smile and say “hello.”

That whole “slow and steady” thing doesn’t actually allow you to win races, but it seems like the tortoise sure was enjoying himself a lot more than the hare. So maybe that’s one more reason it’s OK if you’re like me and find yourself 33 years old with no man and really no history of dating or relationships like that of any kind. There are still so many moments to enjoy à la Ferris Bueller, even if I’m enjoying those moments alone. I can wait.

After all, like my homegirl Mariah belts in a classic ballad, “Love takes time.”

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