My son started walking a few weeks ago. He'd taken his time with it, even though he'd been cruising throughout the house for months, he needed to get a bit more confidence for walking 'hands-free'. What started with walking from one side of our living room to the other soon progressed to walking all over, in and out of any room he liked and then outside. It was exciting for us to see him walk and he looked so pleased with himself too!
This week, we've been getting plenty of practice in. We've walked to our local shops, just around the corner from where we live and on a quiet road. We've walked in the park too, on the path and also in the playground. It's still quite new to him so he walks very slowly and it gives a whole new meaning to a leisurely stroll. He looks up at anyone we pass and gives them a big smile. I get ever so slightly annoyed if the person doesn't look at him and misses out on his sweet smile! Strangers stop and talk to us, usually other parents or grandparents, and this brings out even bigger smiles from my son. He slows down to look at pebbles in a driveway or a particular stone in a wall and everything is so new and fascinating for him.
Maybe you'll tell me the novelty will soon wear off, but I have been enjoying our slow walks. I'm naturally quite a brisk walker so it feels funny to be taking steps at such a slower pace. The way I look at it, is that I have the time to take my time. I'm not rushing off anywhere, I don't have to be at a certain place for a certain time. Whilst the pebbles in a driveway may not have the same fascination for me as they do my son, I am taking in other things that I'd otherwise not be looking at or noticing if I was walking at my usual speed. I'm taking in all the beautiful blossom on the trees and seeing so many more trees than I'd previously been aware of. I'm doing more people watching than I ordinarily get to do and being more conscious of the warm sun on my face or a slight breeze in the air. It's really quite enjoyable and relaxing.
When I think back to when I was working, (pre-baby) such a slow pace in my life didn't exist. I was always rushing somewhere, or hurriedly getting work done to meet tight deadlines, cramming in the gym after work, meeting friends in an evening, going out.....Even though I got to walk through a lovely London park to get to and from work each day, it was never leisurely, always a means to get from A to B. Walking in busy central London during rush hour with all those other people, pushing and shoving as everyone's wanting to get somewhere fast is a horrible thought to me now.
Not that my life has now turned into one long slow stroll and I never have to rush to get things done, but I'm realising that taking a bit of time to consciously slow down can be beneficial. I always urge my husband to get out of the office even for just a few minutes on a nice day. A change of scene, feeling the sun on his face and getting some air can only be a break well spent. Getting wrapped up in everything that's going on in our lives, feeling like there's always something else to be done, or somewhere else to go can leave us little time to purposefully stop for a minute or two. Once we make the effort to slow down our pace, it can help both to relax and reinvigorate. It can clear all the busy thoughts in our heads and reawaken our appreciation of the here and now.
Do you find it hard to take time to slow down? If you are working, are you good about taking a breather from the office and getting outside for a break?