Learn to slow down

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Learn to slow down

Brett Hodges, Opinions Editor

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Like most of you, I don’t particularly enjoy being lectured – especially not by a family member. Winter break seemed to consist of a large number of these and a heavy dose of head nodding followed by eye rolling. There was, however, one lecture that managed to stick with me through these past few months. That lecture was given to me by my Aunt Marie while I was at her house deer hunting, and it had one central point that I find myself coming back to over and over again: Learn to slow down. 

In our lives, we find ourselves running more and more to keep up with the frantic pace of work, school and social obligations. In all reality, we should be walking through life, taking in the scenery, enjoying every single aspect of our world before we can’t anymore. Our modern culture of work has robbed us of the ability to pause, even if just for a brief moment, to take a deep breath and truly observe our environment. We live in a constant rush, always feverishly searching for the next phase of our lives.

The solution to this appears simple on the surface but is quite difficult in practice. Rather than building our expectations and basing our happiness around future events that may be completely beyond our control, we should instead focus on the moment and everything it has to offer. Be it the sun on your face, the smile of a beloved family member or the crispness of the air you are breathing, this moment has all of the makings of happiness already. One of the main tenets of the Buddhist religion is the idea that desire is the cause of all suffering. This desire, be it physical, mental or emotional, causes us to not live in the moment and suffer. 

The aforementioned lecture that I received was not, however, one of a Buddhist nature. In fact, it was an incredibly Catholic lecture on how I should take my time in finding the sort of girl I want to marry, because “You should only get married once.” She clearly had not gotten the memo that I am beyond prepared to take my time. But, it was not her words, but her demeanor that spoke the loudest to me. My aunt is genuinely one of the happiest people I’ve ever met in my life, and it is because she doesn’t feel the need to rush; she lives her life in the moment. She knows the importance of taking her time; be it in planning a family or in baking a pie for her grandkids. 

I know you have a paper due next week, an internship this summer you’re excited for and a football season you’re ready to get back to, but I’d like to challenge you to forget about all of that for just a moment so that you can take a breath. Close your eyes, find your center and then look around. Every second that you’re alive, life is passing you by. You might as well stop and enjoy the view.