The world is moving at warp speed. But that doesn’t mean that you have to move with it. In fact, it can be quite fun and refreshing to slam on the brakes sometimes. Minivan-driving mom of three Tsh Oxenreider wouldn’t even have brakes if it were up to her. She’d ride her blue bicycle everywhere—not to burn calories and save on gas—but to go slowly enough so that she could fully soak in her surroundings. Tsh is the author of the recently released Notes From a Blue Bike, and even though she’s about to embark on a year-long trip around the world with her young family of five, she’s encouraging others to slow down and lead more intentional lives.
In her book, Tsh talks about the popular Slow Food movement and mentions that slowing down in general has been beneficial to her health. After living overseas, she returned to the U.S. where she became extremely sick, something she partially attributes to the added preservatives in American food. Instead of adopting the fast food lifestyle, Tsh opted to reinstate her healthy and more deliberate habits picked up abroad. Her symptoms soon went away. Lucky for us, we don’t have to wait until we’re physically ill to realize that we’re moving too fast. Here are five signs that life is leading you and it may be time to tighten the reigns.
1. You’re Never Bored
Have you ever noticed how bored is a term used primarily by children? It’s true, and Tsh reminds us that boredom is not a centuries-old dilemma. “In the eighteenth century, no one was bored. If you were bored, you were probably on your way to certain death, because if you wanted to eat, you had to work,” she writes. The benefit of being bored is that in order to beat it, you have to tap into your inner reserves of inventiveness—a resource that is seldom used in this chaotic world that is constantly bombarding us with endless entertainment. Boredom begets creation, and if you’re not bored, you’re not creating. Creating takes time, and if you’re not creating, you’re probably moving too fast.
2. You’re On Cruise Control
After moving back to the U.S. following a three-year stint in Turkey, it didn’t take long for Tsh to realize that she had reset her autopilot to hurry. In some cases, it’s perfectly fine to fly by in the fast lane, but if you’re always in that lane and on cruise control, you’re most likely missing out. Tsh writes that it’s important to “increase your sensitivity” and that means adjusting your acceleration in order to absorb what’s happening in your immediate environment. No one uses cruise control when they’re going 15 mph. If you’re on cruise control, you’re probably going too fast. Fortunately, you don’t always have to come to a complete stop in order to smell the roses. Go slow enough and there’s a good chance you’ll still get a whiff.
3. You use “DVR” as a verb
It’s been fifteen years since TiVo debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Since then, DVRs have become household must-haves and while they’re not intrinsically harmful, if you own one and regularly use the term “DVR” as a verb, you’re probably moving too fast. If you’re not able to watch your favorite shows when they’re on (which is usually in the evening), chances are that it’s not because you’re resting in savasana or finishing a new novel. Tsh recommends slowing down and actually making time for TV if it’s that important to you. For her family, it’s their Friday night movies—any other TV is watched in moderation. After all, she writes, “We adjust our schedules and budgets to allow ample time for our favorite shows, and then complain how busy and tired we are.”
4. Your To-do List is Done
If you think about it, your day is filled with checkmarks. Probably hundreds, and for most of us, they are recurring checkmarks. While being productive is not a bad thing, it can come at a price if at the end of the day, when all is checked and done, you can’t honestly say that you did something that you really, truly wanted to do—something that’s 100% you. Tsh seems happy and fulfilled, despite owning and running a blog business while homeschooling her three children—all under the age of ten. Granted, she has the help of her husband (who also works from home), but still, she writes, “I cannot remember one day in five years when my to-do list was completely finished. Not one.”
5. You Haven’t Even Considered Raising Chickens
Most people, especially athletes, eat eggs. Investing in chickens should be a no-brainer for anyone who eats a high-protein breakfast or enjoys baked goods. But of course, no one has time to find the space and order the birds and buy the food and collect the eggs and clean the coop. It’s perfectly acceptable to never own chickens, but if you haven’t even considered it, you’re most likely moving too fast. Tsh dreams of the day when her family can raise their own flock, and devotes a whole chapter to the idea in her book. However, she’s smart enough to realize that her family travels too much and writes, “Until we’re ready to raise our own chickens, I’m happy to support those who do.”
For more information about Tsh or Notes From a Blue Bike, visit TheArtofSimple.net. Keep in mind—“Notes From a Blue Bike is written for anyone who feels like culture wears like an itchy sweater because it just moves too fast, that it worships productivity, that it defines “normal” as whatever anyone else is watching, doing, loving. And that in order to live well, with intention, you have to swim upstream with your daily choices.”