So over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about how quickly life speeds along, almost invisibly at times, and how important it is to be purposeful about finding ways to slow down and live in the present. I’m usually pretty good at that honestly, but recently I’ve had a couple of experiences that have made me reflect on ways that I can do even better. I just can’t believe how quickly it all goes by, and in many ways it seems like the months and years are speeding past in the blink of an eye…wow.
This deep reflection started a couple of weeks ago, when I began to miss my son to the point where my heart just wouldn’t stop hurting. We left him to begin his freshman year at college a few months ago, and he’s doing great and loving this new chapter in his life, but what I thought would get easier for me as the time went on, has actually been getting harder and harder. I just can’t believe that those almost 19 years went by so quickly, and in many ways it feels like yesterday when he was sitting on my knee reading books and cuddling. Where did that time go?
With this idea of time very much on my mind of late, I am also finding it unbelievable on a more micro level that we’re about to finish with the first quarter of the school year, what?! It’s our first year at a new and amazing school, and the fact that the first three months have gone by so quickly has really stopped me in my tracks and forced me to think about ways that I can figuratively slow it all down.
On a personal level, I’ve been doing things like disconnecting from tech as often as I can, waking up earlier than usual to have quiet time to think, exercise, reflect and to be mindful (and to FaceTime my boy). I’ve also been purposely and intentionally noticing and celebrating the little, beautiful moments that make up each and every day, and intentionally setting up times to speak regularly to the people in my life that I care about. These things have allowed me to be much more present, and even though I can’t slow time down literally, I can at least know in my heart that I’m living each day wide awake and very much in the moment.
On a professional level, it really is about understanding and reconnecting with the urgency of now. You see, as educators we often talk about preparing our students for their future, and providing them with skills to ensure that they will become incredible adults for our world. Well, that is of course a wonderful thing, however this future that we’re preparing our kids for is potentially a long way away (even though when we get there it will have seemed like no time at all), and given that nobody is ever promised tomorrow, we need to focus on preparing our students to be great for our world today. We’re not just creating change agents for a future that in many ways is unknown to us, we’re creating change agents so that their impact on our world is immediate.
As you know, for our kids this year is their only year in grade 3, or in grade 7, or in grade 10, and their only culminating year as a senior in High School. The urgency and focus should be on the present, the now, and even though this focus will ultimately impact their future in positive and immeasurable ways, it will more importantly, in my opinion, help to ensure that they thrive in the present tense.
There is nothing we can do about time marching on at a breakneck speed, but we can do all that we can to enjoy each second as it passes. If you are like me, and you see it going by in the blink of an eye, with days flying by almost without notice at times, and faster than we all realize in the moment, then try to find ways to slow it down both personally and professionally. The trick is to get to the end of our time without looking back with regret, or with any what-ifs or if-onlys, and to live with a sense of urgency for this very moment, the right here and now.
So, take the upcoming holiday to reflect on ways that you can give our students the experiences that they deserve in this once in a lifetime grade level opportunity, and find ways to model that “seize the day, carpe diem” approach for them as an adult in their life. Think about ways that you can create powerful moments in their lives that they will not only remember forever, but moments that will help them to engage in the world around them, right now. Reflect on ways that you can give yourself this gift as well, and if necessary make the changes in your life so this can occur. You see, It’s just too easy to let it all speed by unnoticed, with missed opportunities adding up all along the way. Time won’t stop marching on that’s for sure, but with some intentional and purposeful approaches and planning we might just be able to get it down to a crawl instead of a sprint.
Okay, I’m off to call my parents and my boy, and then I’ll be off to explore this beautiful city with my wife and daughter…I’m committed to making the most of our time here, and it’s going to be the time of our lives, for right now at least. Have a wonderful week ahead everyone, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.
Quote of the Week…
Forever is composed of nows – Emily Dickinson
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