Hey You There – Slow the F Down!

keep-calm-and-slow-the-f-down-1

Over the last week or so I have either heard from someone else or found myself saying something along the lines of …

SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

Why? Here are a few thoughts:

Driving
– Almost every day while running I will see two cars coming down the road (not busy at 4AM) … but even with just two, there is less than two car lengths between them. Yes, tailgating – nothing new … but seriously, SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

– And then this morning, I was coming towards home and there is a 3-way intersection where most people turn left, and there were two cars with one tailing the other. The front one didn’t put on a directional, and it looked like the rear car assumed he was going straight because he started moving across the yellow line into the wrong lane to make the left turn when the first car made the turn … there was very nearly an accident, horns honked, and I heard more than a few choice words. Sure the front guy SHOULD have used his turn signal … but seriously, rear car? SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

– In Massachusetts on Sunday a runner was struck and killed by a guy in a SUV. “20-year-old Haley Cremer was out running when she was hit at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday.” The driver had a suspended license from three traffic offenses within 24 months, and had been found at fault in 10 accidents. The town of Sharon is right next to where I grew up so I can picture the scene – and it was at the intersection in an affluent residential area, and one of the streets was a cul-de-sac! Too many runners have been killed this way … please pay attention, come to a complete stop at an intersetion, look both ways, and SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

School
– My younger son pretty much summed it up: he is ready to be done with school for the year … but not done with being a sophomore. He is ready for life to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

Work
– An article at Monster this week made for an interesting read – it was about ‘why Americans don’t like vacations OR work’. It talks about how Americans lament that they have the least amount of vacation time in the industrial world (none is mandated), and yet in general people leave at least some of the time they DO get unused.

The glaringly awful Cadillac ad implies that the result of that is more work, but here is the thing: “Here’s the caveat: There’s actually no proof that working harder (and not taking time off) leads to greater success.”

But there IS proof that ‘down time’ has significant health benefits. So? SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

– Further to this, yesterday Megan posted that she had to ‘forgive herself’ because she was looking at a workout or recipe photo opportunity during her hyper-scheduled day … and took a nap instead.

Now I am not opposed to detailed scheduling at all – depending on my projects and life at the moment I will have somewhere between an incredibly detailed daily plan and just what is on the family calendar on the pantry door at home. It is all about what works for each of us. My point? Naps can be AWESOME, and are a great way when you are over-stressed, under-sleep, and so on … but if you feel guilty because you needed to stop and take a moment to recharge? Maybe it is time to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN! (sorry Megan! 🙂 )

The Seasons

– A few months ago I wrote and lamented that I felt like I was wishing away time because I constantly felt like I was DONE with the -20F days of winter, and at the same time we were dealing with some issues with our ‘hihg efficiency’ furnace. I was really down on myself about it – because honestly I am normally a ‘savor the moment’ type of person, and really want time to … you know.

– Last week Hollie posted bemoaning the humidity and its impact on her training, which I totally got. She said “I’ll continue to whine about the heat but in reality I’m logging injury free miles. Despite being slower, I know I’ll feel fabulous when fall rolls around again.”But looking at it and also many of the comments that were frankly whining about summer and wishing for cooler fall temperatures to arrive.

That led me to comment that there are essentially two seasons for runners: complaining about winter and complaining about summer, with about two weeks on either side of ‘happy time’.

And at the same time we have gone through warm and cold temperatures the last couple of weeks here, so naturally I have heard people complain about BOTH hot and cold, wishing for more summer and for hte fall to hurry up and get here. It is frustrating to me that so many people seem to spend each day wishing to be somewhere else in time.

How are we already half-way through 2014? Please someone tell this year to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

Rest

– This is interesting. We need sleep to survive, and also know that most people are chronically fatigued (and dehydrated) – rest is critical. But as the Monster article I noted before says, we are working more, taking less vacation, and resting less than ever before.

OK, so … ? When I did my ‘Three Films’ post there were notes about not being into movies, and when I and others did Liebster posts that included movies … I saw many people saying they didn’t watch movies – and one of the most common reasons was that if they sat down to watch a movie, they fell asleep. Guess what? If that is true, you are exhausted, and should Go The F to Sleep! Yeah, I am saying you need to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

Running

– I have already noted that I ‘call BS’ on so many people posting ‘easy’ runs that really make no sense in the context of what the person has demonstrated. Easy is different than ‘felt great’, and is more about building a base than doing focused training. Why do I care? Because there are only a few possible directions this all goes – it can fall in the ‘unreality’ bucket, reduce the effectiveness of training (too tired when you are supposed to do high impact training), or land you injured (again). If your plan for the day is ‘easy’ paced miles, I don’t care what you THINK as you head out the door – do yourself a favor and SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

– Another great post by Hollie talked about her week in training, but had some great perspective: “My miles this week weren’t incredibly fast. … As I said on Thursday, injury free miles are always my priority and they aren’t something I will complain about.” This is an incredibly important way of thinking about things.

Look – every runner wants to be faster, run longer distances and no one wants to be injured. But at a certain point there are choices to be made: there are a couple of ironic building sayings “tighten the screw until the head breaks … then back off a half-turn” and “no matter how many times I cut it is too short!” In context what I am saying is that there is a cross-over point where our pursuit of speed and distance runs into our attempts to avoid injury.

At that point we realize that you can’t ‘back off a half-turn’. And in this case when I say we all need to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!, I am talking about literally and figuratively – pace yourself through gradual improvements, and take the time to really analyze what you are trying to do.

Personally in the last two years I took ~40% off my ‘normal’ pace, most of it during the first year with more gradual gains this past year. I could have pushed more for additional speed gains, but after the PA Grand Canyon last year I had a long self-talk and decided staying injury-free was my #1 priority because it is love of running rather than any race or pace that is my passion.

Blogging

– I just finished a couple of ‘post campaigns’ – ’10 Days of You’ followed by my few ‘what caused my blogging hiatus and what I learned’ series – and they were EXHAUSTING! The comments were … incredible. I am constantly touched and moved by how awesome all of you are. Seriously. But as I say – exhausting. I really need to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

– So if you haven’t noticed I have already removed the ‘weekly post’ labels – this isn’t a ‘Take Care Tuesday’, there wasn’t a ‘Five Things Friday’ or ‘Motivation Monday’ and so on. Doesn’t mean those posts won’t happen, but by removing that weekly focus I can write when I want to. And so that is what I will do. Will I post tomorrow? Who knows. My focus is going to be more on writing when I want to and doing what I feel is worth sharing and taking your valuable time.

– In terms of reading, this week I’ve added about a half-dozen blogs to my reader, and not removed any. This I already know is not sustainable, and am already doing a couple of things differently with these new blogs:
* adding more blogs to my ’email me new posts’ list, and if I delete without clicking more than two times in a row – I will delete the subscription.
* Doing more from the iPad WordPress app. One thing I have noticed? Some blogs won’t allow me to comment or ‘Like’ their posts. It isn’t always a self-hosted thing either. Suffice to say, unless I already love you, if I have to click through to get value from your post (read other comments, post my own, like and share) … chances are you are gone. Yes I know it is probably about advertising clicks, but sorry … not sorry.

Being more efficient in my blog reading and writing will allow me to enjoy the blogs I love even more and hopefully continue to write with passion while maintaining my busy life.

Life
– As I said at top, our younger son will be a junior and our older son a senior in high school next year. That means college trips this summer and tons of time spent on essays, applications and so on come the fall. With our busy schedules it is hard sometimes, but so important to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN and take the moments like I did yesterday to ask about their last day, just chat for a few minutes and see how it is all going for them. I have realized that it is also one reason I don’t mind that much when I have to drive them to school …

– This morning Lisa and I sat drinking coffee on the porch as I ate my breakfast and the dogs watched and listened for anything of interest in the very quiet foggy morning. It was slow, lazy, and relaxing and awesome. Last night she didn’t get home until after 7PM, so by the time we’d finished dinner and cleaned up and were sitting down outside it was almost 8:30 and she felt like we should go for a walk, but was also totally exhausted. Relaxing is SO hard … but in reality we all need to spend more time in the moment, enjoy the people we love, and just …

SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!

Just to share – here is a music video Chris did of ‘Summertime Sadness’

Boy got m4d sk!llz! haha

In What Ways Do You or the World Need to SLOW THE F%$# DOWN!?

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30 thoughts on “Hey You There – Slow the F Down!

  1. OMG yes. Thank you for the slap in the face! It’s SO true. Even on the weekend, I have every minute scheduled. I have been experimenting (for one day, ha) with actually scheduling in time to decompress, which I know kind of defeats the purpose, but at least is a step in the right direction! Thank you :). Cool video by Chris!! He does have skillz!

    • haha Megan – it is all about finding what works for you and keeps you going. If that means scheduling relaxation, that is fine – it is just always worth thinking about if we are trying to be organized in order to maximize efficiency to get as much ‘life’ as possible … or in order to have more time for more ‘stuff’.

      Thanks about Chris – he is great musically and takes awesome pictures, but has never really worked artistically with film … and he just floored us with some of his shots and setups. This was for his video class this term, and he also enlisted some of his fun friends.

    • You’re tired from all our early morning boot camps! Remind me tomorrow to tell you about our BBD thing — you might enjoy it given this comment and your post.

  2. This is just what I needed to hear today, thank you! I have been working really hard at slowing down and just “being” if that makes sense. It’s REALLY hard for me at times, but I feel like I run, run, run and then I crash HARD. It’s not good or sustainable. I still have a LONG way to go, but this post just validates that i need to do better at this. I am one of those people who never makes it through a movie at home…its a running joke in our house. 😦

    • I think we all have our moments … and always have to work at just being. Because no matter how much we do – there is more. More laundry, more cleaning, more organization, more activities, more learning, more whatever … if we had more hours in a day we would STILL not have enough! And I think that so long as we are aware of it, that is a good thing, we just have to work on it – constantly burning the candle at both ends isn’t healthy (says the guy who averages 4-5 hours of sleep).

      As for movies – I think there is a line *somewhere* between movies you find boring and the ‘overtake of exhaustion’ from sitting down. For example, my wife has never seen all of ‘Close Encounters’ or ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ – they are good insomnia cures for her, and that is something we laugh about.

  3. In the summer months, my weekends get booked SUPER fast–weddings, vacations, family events, races, house-sitting obligations… It’s crazy! This weekend, we don’t have ANYTHING scheduled, which is really rare. I’m looking forward to slowing the f$%& down and spending some time at home for a change!

    • Awesome! I know that when you are usually overwhelmed and suddenly have nothing scheduled, the first instinct can be ‘let’s find stuff to do’! Sometimes, you accomplish more by accomplishing less. And I can hear my wife laughing at me now since she can’t get me to sit down and relax most of the time 🙂

  4. Yup, so true, so hard to do. I am past the point of not being able to watch movies and now I can barely read before falling asleep too!

    Also after you mentioned seeing the “not so easy” easy runs I am seeing them all over the place on blogs and social media and it’s kind of annoying, but one of those things that’s just not my business. People can run however fast they want and call it easy and I know I need to do what works for me.

    P.S that video was awesome I think he has some promising talent!

    • haha – that was me last night … I planned 15 minutes playing a game for a review due on Thursday, then some reading – and fell asleep holding my tablet sitting in bed!

      Yes, we’ve discussed the ‘not so easy’ before, and my sole worry is that it is the express route to injury. Most people who do that I no longer follow … but there is one I haven’t unfollowed yet, and in the last few days at some point I saw some things that made me say ‘omg, if this person isn’t injured by the end of the year I will be genuinely surprised’. But again, their choice … and as you say we have to do what is right for us!

      Thanks on the video – Lisa takes great pictures, so I know where his skills come from (I will take credit for music 🙂 )

  5. This is great and made me think!!
    Tomorrow I start summer break, I’m ready to relax and slow the f down. I get the whole summer off and sometimes people look at me funny after they ask “what do you do all summer” and I reply “relax”
    By taking the summer off to truly 100% enjoy life… I am a refreshed person come fall and ready to face it head on. By slowing the f down, I get to spend more time with friends and family than I normally would and that is huge!!! I also have a lot of “me” time as I don’t have kids and my husband isnt off with me…I always feel like I know my own self even better during the summer!!

    • That is awesome – I know lots of teachers who continue to over-schedule all summer long and are STILL burnt by September! So that is awesome that you do it that way!

  6. Love this. I’m someone who always whines about the summer heat ha, but I also know I should enjoy every run I get regardless of whether it’s “fun” or not. Big Kid (oldest little guy I nanny for) is constantly telling the cars on his street to slow down because they do go way too fast for a neighborhood with kids. I love hearing him say that. Always a good reminder for numerous things in life!

    • When I was younger I used to really wilt in the heat and humidity … not sure if it is since my thyroid died, but now I really thrive on sweating tremendously in the summer on runs – sure I run slower, but I no longer feel like I am suffering. Of course, I also run in colder temps than I ever would before – so I think Lisa is right and I am just crazy and stupid! 🙂

      And i always love hearing the stories of the kids you nanny for … that they say ‘slow down’ is priceless!

  7. I like the Monster article. At my first real job I heard about another firm in big-law that required associates to take a sabbatical (can’t remember if it was 3 or 6 mos) after 7? yrs of work. I already knew enough about big law to know they wouldn’t do that if it didn’t benefit the firm. Most those associates had taken very little vacation in 7 yrs and the time off was mandatory, paid, and clearly good for the firm. That stuck with me. Now, I usually take all my vacation time every year because I strongly believe it makes me a better employee the rest of the days, a happier person in general, and because I don’t get a ton of vacation days (oh, and because of that burning desire to see the world, expand horizons, challenge myself, grow, etc.; I’m not a beachy vacation person). I get significantly more vacation days in 2 years, and then I’m actually hoping not to use some of it. What I like about unused vacation is the idea of being prepared for an emergency. If something happened to our parents or something and I had to take some time off, it would be nice to have extra vacation to use. As it stands now, we take our trip in October usually, so I kind of gamble on not needing any the last 2 months of the year.
    As to the seasons, I actually try hard not to complain during our (very long) summer, because I hate our (relatively short and mild) winters so much. As with most runners, I have a narrow sweetspot for temps, but I try to focus on the positives — easy clothing decisions, no long hot showers trying to warm up, no worries about ice, speeding up in the fall…

    • I think that is really smart to force vacations … in my first job you could carry vacation, then they would ‘buy out’ anything left over a certain amount (more incentive to NOT take it) and eventually they paid it all out and had a no-carry policy, which is pretty standard most places now. And yet despite the talk, there is often a dis-incentive at many companies for taking vacation. Corning is actually pretty good about it compared to pretty much any other tech-industry company I have ever dealt with.

      I totally get what everyone says about the temperature and humidity – and agree about that ‘sweet spot’ … but for whatever reason this year I found that the morning temperatures were still in the 30s here and people even in the mid-Atlantic were whining about heat and humidity 🙂

  8. TOTALLY agree with you on the running front. Ever since my tendonitis I have had to force myself to slow down a lot. It’s hard sometimes, but I really don’t want to go through anything like that again and I know some of that was due to the fact that I was going out at maximum effort almost every time.

    I ALWAYS find myself saying “SLOW DOWN” around here. We have the worst drivers and especially now where B goes to school people peel in and out of that parking lot. There are so many children around! It’s supremely frustrating.

    Over the past couple weeks I feel like I’ve had some great, slowed down moments with my family. Like our trip to the zoo. We just hung out there all day and enjoyed with no real agenda. It was marvelous!

    • Awesome on the ‘slow down’ family times – when we go places we have OUR thoughts on how things will go and the kids … well, you just never know! Which leaves you with the choices of going with the flow or being miserable. Now that our kids are older it is more predictable, but when they were toddlers, you just never knew! 🙂

      And honestly – I remember moving out here from the Boston area … and comparatively drivers here are MUCH more considerate, or slower, or there are just fewer of them, or something that made it feel less stressful. But a-holes will be a-holes, I guess! It is so dangerous – especially around schools.

  9. YEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Goodness gracious great balls of fire so true.
    You know what I like though? I think that my life right now has finally reached its groove. I am finding (I hope) a balance between the hurry ups and the waits. I have an amazing job, I savor my rests between my runs, but I also look forward to rebuilding my strength on my long runs. I am no longer in any hurry to move back east, or to…. whatever. I like the forward movement, but I am happy with my tempo.
    And that is something that I haven’t been able to say for a very very long time.

  10. The need to feel productive is a killer for me, constantly causing me to go faster faster faster in whatever I’m doing. Even something simple like putting together a pb&j sandwich, go faster faster faster so you can move on to the next thing.

    I regularly need to tell myself it is ok to be less than optimally productive. You’re going to make the sandwich, it just might take a bit longer. And if you don’t get to….whatever the hell you were trying to get to next, or next after that, or next next after after that, does it really matter? Usually the answer is no, it doesn’t matter, but it is still so hard to slow down.

    • haha – totally get that. Maybe it is our tech job focus, but I am always thinking on minimization and optimization – I try to work the cooking triangle, make things as efficient as possible, minimal steps, fewest pans, and so on … but I guess I do it as more of a series of experiments rather than to actually go faster … 🙂

  11. I have to say the weekends just seem to fly by. I wake up go for a long run and by the time I am home and showered It seems like half the day is gone. It always feels like I cram whatever I can in those 2 days

  12. My father-in-law was an extraordinarily successful businessman, who also probably read more books and watched more movies (granted the latter he often watch the same movies over and over) than I do and had lots of social activities. So I think it’s true that you don’t have to work yourself into the ground to be successful. My FIL died from cancer last summer, but his final words to my son were: “Have fun.”

    I guess it was another way of saying “slow the f@ck down.”

    • That is something that is very true yet counter our culture – being busy is not an accomplishment, getting stuff done is. Face-time at work is an evil thing, because it sends all of the wrong messages. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I so totally agree with this – it’s actually kind of a lifestyle I’m getting used to right now, and while it drive me nuts at first, now I’m loving it!

    Oh, and I think the self-hosted nature of my blog won’t let you do anything from the app… I’ve tried and tried to troubleshoot it, but can’t figure it out!

    • Awesome – I love that you are in a place to be able to do this!

      Also, the fact that I didn’t realize that about your blog pretty much tells the tale for me. I have always already clicked through from email! 🙂

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