David Moseley

Don’t race towards the end

2015-02-27 15:00

David Moseley

In the two-and-a-bit years I’ve been married things have moved pretty quickly. Just last week someone asked how long I’d been married and I confidently answered “a year”. Then I realised it’s been over two years. As the famous line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off goes, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

That movie was made in 1986, when I dare suggest that the pace of life was far less frenetic than it is today. Mobile phones, email on the go, social media, work demands plus the fact that almost every single person with a job is hustling as hard as they can to get by can all tie you up in despair while the important things slip past.

For instance, my wife and I have a great time together. We run, we ride, we walk the dog and so on. But we’re always squeezing it in. it’s a mad scramble to get home after work, then exercise with the dog, then make dinner and the next thing you know you’re back in bed and as soon as you close your eyes the alarm goes off again. It’s life Jim, as we know it.

I’m fully aware that this daily grind is even worse for the less fortunate people of South Africa. You only need to look at the glum faces pressed up against the windows of taxis and busses to see how the Routine of Life takes its toll.

I appreciate the fact that I don’t leave for work in the dark and return well into the evening. I also appreciate the fact that I can do something about it, something that maybe skips people focussed on surviving – which we are all doing to relative degrees. We, people like you and me, can slow things down if we want to. We just have to want to.

I only realised this last year. My wife was completing a Masters in Engineering while also working at a fairly famous, yet highly unpopular company. She left that job, and so before starting her new gig she had a week off. I took a few days off too because I realised whenever we’ve been off work at the same time it’s always been at Christmas, where we’re surrounded by family and bogged down by other responsibilities.  

I wouldn’t say the experience was life-changing, but it was certainly eye-opening. For the first time since we’d met, we did nothing. We woke up late, walked the dog together, drank coffee and flopped around house. That was it. No family, no friends, no pressure. It was probably the best day I’ve spent with my wife.

The opportunities to do the same again are a few and far between. Her work is quite intense, and my hours are odd. When we do take time off we also need to cram in as much as we can.

Life is obviously not the same for everyone. But if you can slow it down to a walk (a crawl would be too much to ask for in this day and age, right), it gives you time to put things into perspective. Don’t race towards the end. It’s not the prize you’re looking for.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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