My favorite movie of all time is Romeo and Juliet, the 1968 version with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic. I fell in love with this film after first reading the novel in my 5th grade reading class with Mr. Massa. We then followed up by watching it in class. It was my first time really enjoying reading a book. I used to despise reading lol. But, Mr. Massa changed the experience for me. He’d say, “Grab your books. We’re heading outside to read under the big tree.” Awesome. The Romeo and Juliet experience is the only thing I remember from 5th grade.
Since then I’ve watched several other versions of the movie. But none move me like this one. I appreciate the casting, the acting, the beauty, the trueness of the script, and the vivid translation. I recently watched it with my oldest daughter (I secretly wanted her to have the same appreciation). One thing in particular stuck out to me – the messenger. Gosh, the messenger – he changed every thing.
It made me realize how fast paced everything moves these days. Communication is so instant. When I sit back to take a breather, I hear clicks and snaps and there’s no space of time in between. I appreciate the in-between. Space and time is fine. Thinking without interruption is necessary. I need space, to appreciate time.
I have dozens of apps to take notes and keep my grocery list and play games and chat faster. But, you know what? I have very good handwriting. I used to have notebooks upon notebooks of poems and songs and letters and gibberish just because. I miss that. So, I decided to slow down time a little and revisit the space in between the apps. Seems like little things but its really changed the pace of the days for me.
- Hand write to-do’s. I used to have a chore app for my daughter. While it was very effective, I decided to pull back on the use of technology, write it down instead, and post it on the wall. The visual reminder has been most effective. She’s gotten so much more done. And we all see it and appreciate it.
- Write a letter. And mail it! When was the last time you sent correspondence that wasn’t a text or email? It feels good to use cursive. And others really appreciate a handwritten note.
- Reach out and connect with loved ones. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day (and with our eyes glued to our screens) that we forget to really be in touch and in tune with one another. When I was in the classroom, I had a rule of thumb to maintain a relationship with each student – to say something positive, praising, personal, and productive to each student every day. Don’t let time go by without reaching those around you. Know them. Know what they are going through. Care about them. Love them.
- Pray. Actually get down on your knees and give the most high praise. Every day. Pray when you say you will. Thru the good times and the bad.
- Meditate. Yoga is my release and I find it so hard to sacrifice time away from my family to go to yoga class. So, I found a 30-day yoga challenge on YouTube and decided to stick to it. When the children go to bed, I turn on some relaxing music, turn off all the screens, and take the time to practice. Just what my mind and body needs. So relaxing before bed.
- Phone a friend. Listen, I can’t stand talking on the phone. When my phone rings, I actually get a bit anxious. And nevermind voicemails – I recently got a new phone and the 37 unchecked voicemails were magically erased – I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders lol. But that’s not cool. I’m just so accustomed to quick texts that I forgot how to communicate appropriately.
- Use the fine china. Growing up, my mom kept the “good” dishes in the china cabinet. I don’t remember ever actually eating on them. She recently gave me some. And you know what? I use them every day. Why not? For dinner, for snacks, for ice cream, for whatever. I use them. I appreciate them. I admire them. I hand wash them. They’ve changed my entire appreciation of food.
- Teach without a curriculum. When I was in grad school, I was taught how to teach one lesson to 16 different types of learners in the same room. I mean, it makes sense – every one does not learn the same way. I felt so constricted when I got to my classroom and was basically given a script. That script works for many. But not all. Children need room to grow and the world revolves around us. I have to admit, I have tons and tons of workbooks and learning games for my children. Almost every time I go to the store I buy something that encourages learning. But, every thing in appropriate timing. It’s cool to follow a workbook, but it’s even cooler to take a nature walk and answer questions then plan a lesson based on your child’s inquisitiveness, allowing them to lead their learning, having a staked interest.
- Ditch the processed snacks. It’s so easy to buy a giant pack of applesauce. But, looking at the ingredients got me wondering what exactly am i feeding my family. I recently bought an Infantino Squeeze Station, which allows me to puree and package my own fresh fruits and veggies. I know exactly what is in each pouch.
- Take an unplanned nap. The other day I found myself with an hour or two of free time. What should I do?? I could mop this floor. I could read a chapter of that book i checked out and haven’t seemed to have time to read. I could catch up on Big Brother – my favorite show and I’m 7 episodes behind. Or.. I can just relax and catch some zzz’s, something I rarely get to do.
I’ve slowed down time and its changed my perspective. I’m so much more appreciative of the little things. I’m more attentive, less anxious, and more connected. What changes can you make in your day to slow down time?