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Why the Hell Is Everyone in Such a Hurry?
Impatience is not Sustainable
What underlies impatience? What are the circumstances that expose the need to be done and over with something? Or in a hurry to witness the end? Seeking the goal without experiencing the journey. The allure of 10 second news, giving us just enough to wet our appetite or rack us with anger, worry, despair without giving the whole story. A story which will take too much of everyone’s time. Too much time for what?
Rushing to the finish is in many ways a means of survival. Not wanting to feel anything that requires time and energy we do not have. A means to distance ourselves from the real world. Delayed discomfort.
We check off our tasks so we feel as if our day was successful. Does anyone feel a modicum of satisfaction after they stamp done on their endless lists? A few seconds of celebration, maybe. Tomorrow is another day.
The problem as we all know and continue to deny is that we are oversaturated in every single aspect of our lives. Our cup hath runneth over, a million times. We rush around like chickens with our heads cut off. And I have seen this visual chaos while visiting my grandparents farm in the 60's.
We don’t get the sleep we need, we eat horribly, stress out ourselves and those around us. Then wonder why our mental health suffers and we are experiencing our highest rate of suicides to date and continued issues with all forms of addiction.
Add to that the fact that we have way too much stuff; we are beholden to that stuff and we must work to pay for that stuff. To complicate the messy waters, children, and/or numerous pets enter the already filled space. Our need to give love, feel love and take care of people and things further distance ourselves from ourselves. The so called American Dream is killing us slowly and the speed of that death is picking up.
The Futility of Impatience
I am convinced that the way people drive is a clear indication of how they live and, in general, their personality. I can speak to this theory because I have driven a lot of miles, experienced drivers in various kinds of traffic, urban and rural. In addition, I used to drive like a “bat out of hell”. Always in a hurry to either be on time or to just drive faster than everyone else. Not exceedingly fast, but enough to create havoc if I ran into to anyone. Which, thankfully, during that speedy time of my life, I did not.
Speed does not make a bit of difference in the bigger scheme of things. Instead it puts everyone on the road at risk both physically and mentally. Anxiety levels rise.
For me, driving was about getting from point A to B and never about the journey in between. I did not lack time management skills and always obsessively early to appointments. My internal speed dial was on autopilot no matter the situation.
I no longer feel the need for speed in my car, but still find myself walking hastily for no reason. A learned behavior from when I lived in the frigid, windy midwest as a means to prevent frostbite or getting blown off my footing while walking across an obstruction free zone (no trees or tall buildings).
Fortunately at this stage of life I have come to realize the futility of haste. But more importantly, I prefer to enjoy the present. Because that is all I can control.
The current state of the world has prompted a new mantra when I drive, “Get off my ass, I’m saving gas”. A crude but appropriate metaphor for life in general, slow down to live, save your life and the life of others.
The Time Strapped Traps of Impatience
The times I found myself getting into these time traps was when I was engaged in routines for long periods. Not realizing how those routines were masking opportunities that may be hiding in the wings. Possibilities beyond my peripheral scope because of a speed induced blurred vision. Each routine was met with a need to get it over with and move on to the next. A hamster wheel with few checkpoints along the way.
The only way to get away from those routines is to get outside of that haste laden bubble. Seeking new places and situations forces altered perspective. It becomes necessary to slow down in order to discover the unfamiliarity of the surroundings in which you find yourself. A reset, so to speak.
The Grass is Not Greener Anywhere
“Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself, and it’s true.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Why is it a given that what is on the other end is better, faster, or less uncomfortable? Why do we insist on abandoning ourselves for what we consider a utopia that is unattainable?
Many of us have shared the impatience of youth where we could not wait to graduate or to be 21, or get our first apartment.
Impatience is a kind of arrogance. The day begins and we are already thinking about tomorrow or the weekend or summer vacation. Many of us know deep down that things can change in a matter of minutes, but we prefer to deny that inevitability. We think we have control over outcomes. Change and not knowing is uncomfortable.
It becomes difficult for us to enjoy or sit with what is right in front of us.
We may not like ourselves, our situation, our future, our friends, our family, so we rush around in a pattern of avoidance. Opting for surface treatment, quick solutions, easy to obtain goals, masks. I have done this and still do at times when I simply do not have the energy to go deeper. But what I do know is that looking deeper, reflecting, allowing patience with self and others is rewarding beyond anything I can experience via haste.
Remove the Scales Over Your Eyes
I read a Medium article by David Price “At the Brink of Mysteries”. Here is a beautiful quote from that article.
“The astounding beauty and magic of the Mystery is before our eyes all day long but we don’t know how to see it through the scales over our eyes. We don’t know that we’ve grown these blinders through absorbing the assumptions of our upbringing. We don’t suspect our ever-busy minds with making Reality disappear. We chase after a life of meaning without access to our deeper mind, which needs stillness in order to understand. Our language oriented consciousness can only go so far”.
That quote says it all in a nutshell.
Image: Shedding Falsehoods
This piece came out of an unconscious desire to connect with who I am now. I chose it to represent this article because as we take the time to make those inner connections, we reveal the need to shed obstacles and falsehoods. A process that takes times and patience. A necessary process in order to achieve that desired connection. If we continue to deny they (falsehoods) exist we find ourselves stuck in a stagnant soul crushing routine.
As an artist, I have always been curious about how my journey has emerged up to this point. How has environment and cultural expectations molded me into the person I am now? I began to realize much of what I experienced and, in some cases, held dear, are no longer what I need. Persistently working through the arduous but enlightening process of shedding false ideals, dreams, personal and societal expectations. Through my journey as an artist the past 30 years, my work has brought these revelations to the surface.