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Monday, January 3, 2011

Need To Slow Down?

The speed of life is fast.  Incredibly fast.  Maybe too fast.

And one of the reasons I like spending time with my elderly father is because he reminds me to slow down.

What does slowing down look like?  I’m really not sure.  I think it might involve taking a micro-sabbatical.  I also think it might involve drinking more tea with my new hand-made teapot, compliments of hubby. (I didn’t ask for the teapot, so I think it’s his way of telling me I’m drinking too much coffee.)

There’s one thing I do know.  When I’m in a hurry, I tend to step on other people.  I tend to think my time is more important than their time.  I tend to be rude and even a bit self-absorbed.

Shocking, I know.

I was keenly reminded of my need to slow down when I was helping my father set up his new computer.  He was adding a favorite financial website to his desktop, but we couldn’t seem to get his password to work.  He had already called customer service and had been given a “temporary password” but we were still locked out of his account.  And he was frustrated.

So I told him, “Just call customer service back.  I’m sure they can straighten it out.”

He dialed customer service.  He got re-routed.  He tried to explain.  And he got frustrated again.  I could hear a woman named “Lori” on the other end of the phone. 

“Sir, I already gave you the temporary password.  You must be typing it in wrong.”

I could tell Lori was in a hurry, and she was getting annoyed with his repeated calls. 

This old guy doesn’t understand.  He doesn’t know what he’s doing.  I already gave him the temporary password, and he probably can’t type.

Enter Lawyer Daughter.

My blood was starting to boil.  Instinctively, I ripped the phone out of his hands. I tried to explain that the temporary password wasn’t working, but Lori didn’t want to hear it.  She became even more annoyed with me.  (And, no, she wasn’t about to give me her last name.)

After several rounds of trouble shooting and two more calls to Lori, we finally convinced her to slow down and listen.  It wasn’t the password that was the problem, and together we figured out that the account just needed an adjustment.

Lori wasn’t so bad after all.  And I can’t blame her for being in a hurry.  (Heck, she probably gets paid on how many calls she takes a day.)

Some days, I feel a lot like Lori.  Some days, I need to slow down and listen.


Wendy Paine Miller said...


I'm right there with you on this.

I spent some slow time over the holidays and it's amazing how it realigned some of my thinking.

But now I'm in birthday mom mode. You'll love this, everyone in my family was born in Jan. and I have three parties to throw (already managed the surprise for Steve a few nights ago). Oi.

I'll have to get creative with how I can slow it down this month.
~ Wendy

Unpolished Parenting said...

Yes isn't that the truth? Some how I got transferred a call this morning that wasn't actually for me, but I figured I'd try to quickly help the guy out. But when we ran into an issue, I was ready to pass the buck & FAST. Because he wasn't suppose to be my problem any way. I could have handled that better.

Susan DiMickele said...

Yep, it's so easy to pass the buck.

Wendy, my birthday is in January too! Might just crash one of your parties.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Susan, I just posted about this because we lost a wonderful woman at our church who was slow, and listened. I think the secret to slowing down is listening.

Bradley J. Moore said...

Ah, yes. Thanks for holding up the mirror, my friend. I am also guilty. But I am trying to become aware, and am working on it. Actually, blogging slows me down, which is a good thing, when I take the time for it.

Now about Lori... What kind of customer service is that, where the customer is perceived as a pain in the neck? Good thing lawyer-daughter stepped in to straighten her out. I hope she learned to slow down, too. (Next time maybe you could get her boss on the phone?) ;)

Graceful said...

I love this post, Susan -- so honest (and funny, too!). I am a rush, rush, rush girl. Just today I wrote about how I love to drive in the snow because it forces me to slow down. Now that's pathetic!

Susan DiMickele said...

Interesting, blogging slows me down too. I know my friends and family think I'm crazy to add one more thing to my schedule, but it actually calms me down.

(Now, as much as I admit I need to slow down, I really can't stand driving in the snow....I'm way too impatient.)

Erin MacPherson said...

Hi Susan!! I wanted to check in with you after the holidays and I'm so glad I did.. this post is exactly what I needed. It's so hard to slow down when you have a family and a job and birthdays and holidays and EVERYTHING going on at once. Thanks for the awesome and helpful post!

Amanda said...

I'm glad you enjoyed my post last week. :) You mentioned wanting more information on can link to the website here: It's a great way to unwind, relax and destress. Hope you enjoy it!

Jennie said...

I've had the interesting experience of being laid off since the beginning of December. I thought it would help me slow down (by default), but instead I still feel rushed, always late, and in a hurry. I think it's my nature - somehow.

It's like that old country song - "I'm in a hurry to get things done. I rush and rush until life's no fun."

Why do we torture ourselves in this way? I'm SO trying to relax, but I'm wound up pretty tightly. Needless to say, I relate to your post - and I always manage to get some perspective when I spend time with those who are older, wiser, and have already figured out that rushing is simply *not* important.

mrsgleffter said...

Slow Down and Mom don't seem to be two things that go together well for me. Still trying to find the balance in juggling all the balls of life.

I think for me - slowing down means taking time to savor moments with my kids and husband that I can never get back. God is continuing to work in me on that one.