Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 21: Hurry's Anecdote

One of my favorite things about No Spend months is how they help us slow down, but I've still been noticing hurry in my life. The other night I was guessing which lane would be faster. Not only did I decide to pass someone, I decided to notice if I made it through a light the person I passed didn't. You know, my own research project on whether it was "worth it" or not. Why was I in such a hurry? I was excited to get home. It was cold and late and I wanted to be home, where Brian and warm waited. 

That's an okay reason to hurry, I guess, but what was the moment I was in meant for? I was only surviving it, straining to get through it faster because I didn't like it. I don't know if you saw the movie Click, but it shook me. If you haven't seen it, it's about a man in the middle of raising a family who's given a remote control to fast forward unpleasant things, mute unpleasant people, etc. After watching it, I saw all the moments I was wishing away, from waiting in line to listening to a story I've heard before. 

What's bad about hurrying? Well, if hurry had a baby, it would be tension. When the check-out line is taking too long and I'm already late, my body's wacked. Lips start pursing, teeth are clenching, hands are grabbing. I can't control this. I can't make this go faster. I'm freaking out, very quietly, all inside. I spare everyone else, even telling the cashier who apologizes for the wait, "You're fine." I spare everyone, accept me. My body absorbs the stress and tension lingers. 

I was reading the calming voice of Courtney Carver, just as fast as I could. It was on my to-read list, but I was trying to get through it, so I could cross it off, so I could feel the relaxation of having fewer things on my to do list. It felt like my eyes were boring into my computer screen as she mentioned unclenching my teeth, relaxing my shoulders, and loosening my grip. I was congratulating myself that these parts of me were semi-relaxed. Then she talked about softening my gaze. Oh. Ha. Gaze: not soft. Not soft at all. She called it letting the monkey off the chain. Letting go of the fantasy that if we wish hard enough, things we don't control will do what we want them to do. 

So I've been trying to do that and a soft gaze is a wonderful thing. It's not easily maintained when you've lived life "pulling, prodding, forcing, resisting and holding on for dear life," but it's worth it. I still have no answers for when you're freezing on your drive home. My shoulders involuntarily creep up to shelter my ears. I wondered what a police officer would say to, "I'm sorry I was speeding - I was just so cold," from inside my knee-length puffer. I don't know, but the rest of the time, for your own sake, let yourself off the hook and soften your gaze.

Total spent: 0.00
Fun money: -8.91

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