Smelling the Roses As I Go

I've always been a go-go-go person; a plan for what's ahead, onward & upward, must keep moving type of go-getter.

When I had my first baby 11 months ago, I felt like my own personal timeline had abruptly halted—life froze as I soaked in every moment with my newborn. At times, though, I felt I was watching in discouragement as the regular lives and activities of everyone around me continued on like normal. I was being left behind. I was missing out. I wasn't completing the same to-do lists I once had capacity for. Although I was enjoying (and also learning to enjoy) the equally rewarding and challenging new life of parenthood, I couldn't help but feel trapped in some unfair time warp.

Then at some point over the last few months, in the slow transition of adapting to my new role and rhythm, it's as if I tried shifting into high speed mode to catch up on all the lost time and forgotten endeavors. Even our schedule as a family has been kicked up several notches with a non-stop string of work trips, travels, special occasions and hosting of visitors in our home.

During our most recent visit with friends from out-of-town, we took them to see Duke Gardens. We were truly basking in the moments with them, pressing pause on anything else that may have been pressing. In the fresh, crisp air of the morning, we admired the tulips and daffodils, observed the relationships of the swimming ducks, engaged in meaningful conversation and enjoyed a peaceful stroll with one another. It was there, in those enjoyable slow moments that it hit me—I actually miss that slow-motion, one-moment-at-a-time mode that had become so normal. Why was I in such a rush to leave it?

But like all things, we must find a healthy balance. “Life is part making things happen and part letting things happen," Arianna Huffington once said at a California Women's Conference. So true!

Rather than treating my life like a pendulum swinging from the extremes of tirelessly creating progress and stopping completely to breathe in moments, it's more important to find balance between the two. While I am pushing forward, working hard and making things happen, the pace needs to be such that I can also enjoy the present and each moment it includes. Instead of stopping progress to smell the roses, I want to live at a consistent, healthy pace so I can smell everything along the way.

I desire to notice the sweet expressions of my baby, the subtle and loving gestures of my husband, the friend who just needs a hug while improving my relationships. I will be careful to prioritize bedtime stories over house cleaning and occasional in-person coffee dates over everyday office chores while keeping my house and business in order. While I may experience a quicker pace of living, I will embrace the fact that building my networks, participating in my community, and executing wise business decisions help set a solid foundation—and therefore, future—for me and my family.

Why not live in that sweet spot of appreciation & reflection + movement & progress? Why not smell the roses—or whatever's under my nose—as I walk along?