Give yourself permission to enjoy this moment in your life.
Remember when you were younger and winter seemed to last forever? In fall you hated to watch the trees grow bare because you knew it would be a long time until pink buds appeared once more on the branches and daffodils sprang up from the cold ground and all around you the whole world would turn green again. Time seemed to slow way down in winter, waddling like an old tortoise across a barren landscape.
Well, somehow I think I’ve wandered into an alternate universe. Now it seems I barely have a chance to notice it’s winter before spring comes barging in, bringing her colorful charm to the barren landscape. It’s not that I wish winter would last longer. I always welcome spring like a forgotten friend. It’s just that I want to slow down the ever-faster hands of time. How do you do that?
The seasons seem to go by at warp speed now, and the years pass nearly as fast. I think back to a recent event and realize it occurred two years ago. Where does the time go? Ever since I turned 50, the slippery slope metaphor has become frighteningly real.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think the best is behind me. Au contraire. I think the best is yet to come. I’m smarter now than I was in my foolish youth. I take better care of myself. I’m constantly achieving new goals, and every day, it seems, I find something new to get excited about: a book I want to read, a recipe to try, a place I want to visit. Life stills opens up before me like a blooming flower, full of promise and mystique.
But therein lies the rub. Like most women—probably all—the issue becomes how we choose to spend our time. Our lives are full of must-do’s that take precedent over the wanna-do’s. And often by the time, we finish our must-do’s, we have no energy left for more pleasurable pursuits. And then there’s that clock glaring at us from overhead, counting the seconds off like a metronome, seconds that become minutes, minutes that become hours—you get the drift.
So what’s a frazzled woman to do? Here’s my advice. The absolute first thing I recommend is starting an exercise program. No kidding. And it’s not just to make you healthier. Exercise gives you energy. It’s that simple. Then you’ll have the ability to pursue more of the things you want to do.
Next, since much of your life is spent on the must-do’s, make sure your job is one you enjoy. If it isn’t, change! The cliché is true: life’s too short to spend doing something dreary. That’s not to say we can all have exciting jobs—jetting the globe researching a book about spas is my dream job, in case you wondered—but we can be proud of the contributions we make and strive to make our work environment a positive place where we can grow and learn.
My last suggestion is one you’ve heard before. Take a day or a weekend off and devote your energy toward being deliriously happy. Find an activity or a place where you can be yourself, let your hair down, and experience bliss. Whether it’s a hot air balloon ride, a picnic in the mountains, or a local spa escape, give yourself permission to enjoy this moment in your life.
Even if you can’t slow down the clock, you can embrace each day with an open heart and a sense of wonder. Like the seasons, life is precious and fleeting. Keep your eyes open!