I saw a sign when I was driving last week that resonated. I’d seen this sign many times over the years, but this time it seemed to have a higher meaning. It read: Caution. Rough road ahead. Slow down. And you know what happened? All of the motorists slowed down. ALL. OF. THEM. And it was a rough road. If we went too fast the car would have been damaged and we wouldn’t want that.
Why then do we continue to go at full speed when we hit rough roads in our own life? Why don’t we slow down and navigate the road ahead cautiously with a view to coming out the other side unscathed?
It’s something I’ve been pondering lately. I’ve faced my own mental health struggles over the years, and when they used to hit I’d go even faster in a senseless attempt to outrun them. If I stopped they’d catch up and I’d have to face them.
I know now that I should have slowed down, practiced self-care, and re-joined the world when I felt physically and mentally stronger. It didn’t mean I didn’t stop the necessary daily practices such as cooking etc. It meant ditching the non-essential stuff, telling people around me I was struggling, and that I am just slowing down for a bit. That doesn’t sound hard at all? Except it often is.
The world we live in is fast. Instant. Aggressive. We’re bombarded everyday with images of perfect lives in perfect places, and if you want to ‘succeed’ then you’d better hurry up or you’ll miss out. FOMO is a thing!
I’ve learned now I’m happy to miss out and stop and smell the roses, or in my case, sit by my fishpond and watch my fishy gang swim around. Or take my dog for a walk. Or sit with my cat on my lap. (Animals are my happy place.)
So next time you see a road sign that says slow down, think about it. Does it apply to you as well?