When the world won't slow down...
Upon recalling last night's 'dilemma' (as it was for me! :) ),the question "Why are we living in such a 'must have, and must have it now!' world?" popped into my head. This question brought with it images of a handful of people (no one in particular) who wanted whatever it was they wanted NOW! As I viewed this image, I sensed that many in this world are frightened of being left behind.
I suppose such a fear comes from a need of being wanted, and needing to fit in and to be deemed worthy and acceptable among our peers. And I understand that, I do. God knows I lived that way for much of my life. But it's not a nice way to live, is it.
When I sensed so many are frightened of being left behind, the question, "Would that be such a bad thing?" popped into my head. I pondered that for a moment, looking from a fast-paced life to a more relaxed one, and replied, "No; I don't think it would be."
I mean...So what if our friends run off ahead of us and gather more material possessions, or reach their goal weight sooner, or achieve this or that before we do? Let's cheer them on, I say! And so what if we never get that new you-beauty-better-than-everybody-else's thing we feel we just can't live without? So what if we turn off the TV and lose track of what's happening on Home and Away, My Kitchen Rules, or the news, while everyone else on the face of the planet knows exactly what's going on? So what if our internet access is taken from us for one reason or another, and the Facebook statuses are rolling on by, minute after minute, without us reading them, and all we're left to do is live in the moment, with those we can see and feel and talk to, hold and love, face-to-face, right now, where we are?
So what if life and technology goes whizzing by while we're slowing down to enjoy the sunshine and the peace that comes when we're no longer fooled by the lie 'YOU NEED THIS OBJECT TO BE HAPPY AND COMPLETE!'...? So what if we miss out on this or that? Chances are we're missing out on something better simply by sitting around fretting over having missed out on that other thing.
Life wasn't always as fast paced as it is now. Go back a hundred years and you'll find a much slower world - one where a person could find great joy and contentment in one's own home; where people strolled to one another's place for a visit, where they enjoyed the moment without freaking out because it wasn't captured on a mobile and posted on Instagram or Twitter?
What do you think would happen if you stepped off the spinning merry-go-round and walked barefoot through the grass or along the beach - without a mobile phone in your hand? What would happen if you put down the latest gadget, or your desire to own the latest gadget, and took a good look at your life, realised the time wasting objects in your world are actually stealing life from you rather than enhancing it, then turned your back on it and opted for a slower pace of life? Would that be so bad? Yes, it would...if you feared rejection or feared being left behind by a world that probably hasn't even noticed you trying to catch up to it.
When I imagine a slower, calmer lifestyle, I see nature, and family and friends. I see the countryside, the beach, the sunshine, a park, children laughing and playing, a picnic blanket where mum and dad are interested in each other and not looking to see what is going on in the life of Facebook Friend #347.
Letting go of wants that frantically run alongside of a have-to-have-the-latest-gadget and the can't-stop-now-too-busy-to-care lifestyles - where one fear or another will eventually trip us, if not direct our every step as we inwardly fall apart - can be, and is, a little scary, I know, especially if our needs and wants are linked to the fear of being left behind or looked down upon. But what would life, and your relationships, be like if you let go of the fears?
What would life be like if you dared to live your life in the slow lane, where materialism is not more important than that person sitting across the room from you? What would it be like if you shared your heart or thoughts with someone you can see and touch, rather than spilling out stray thoughts and stressed tempers on the internet when the mood hits?
I think many of us, especially those who were born into this fast-paced, technological world would struggle to trust face-to-face, intimate friends as easily as it to open up to them online. But, it's doable. Millions of people lived that way long before the internet was ever heard of. Many still prefer to live that way.
Seriously, upon stepping out of the must-have-it, must-do-it-now life and throwing off the "we're nobody if we don't own this, look like that, are 'Liked' at least 12 times day," lie, I reckon many of us would find ourselves standing in a world where we would find love and acceptance among others who do not wish to live a hectic, stressful life, no matter how many friends run off and don't look back. We would find we are not alone. We would also find that we don't have to remain poor by filling the pockets of those who make all those 'new-you-beaut' gadgets. And we'd find that we do fit in, we do belong, and that we are free not only to celebrate life, but delight in the peace and joy that comes with a less hectic lifestyle.
Better to arrive at the end of your life with your loved ones saying, "She gave the greatest hugs," "He held my hand while he listened", and other such things rather than, "Sweet! Now they're gone, what can we trade their stuff in for?!" don't you think? People love people they can be emotionally intimate with, not people who can't see them through all the things they own.
What would life be like if we stopped fretting over what we don't have, or think we do need, and lived at a slower pace...? More rewarding, I reckon. Far more peaceful. Far more enjoyable. With far more memories than what all the distractions we own now allow us to have.
Before I go, I must say, don't mishear me. I am not saying the internet is evil, and the latest gadgets much be shunned at all costs! Goodness me, no! If that was the case, how would I post this online? And God knows I don't want to give up my DSLR camera! And I'm not saying having material possessions is bad... I'm not giving up my computer, car or comfy lounge, either! ;) I'm just saying, material things are far more immaterial than we allow them to be. We can own stuff, but when stuff owns us and steals life from us, maybe it's time to stop and take a good look at what is really important in a life you will only get to live once.There is a world out there that you can leave your stamp on, and experience firsthand. If you want to. If your friends move on without you, wait. Wait for new ones. Make new ones. Or wait for the real friends to realise they miss you. Either way, live don't fret.
Everything doesn't have to be instant...but life does need to be lived now. Today will soon pass...I hope you let it pass peacefully. xxx
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes?
See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
will he not much more clothe you— you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’
or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.