Excerpt from Chapter 1: Lessons in Living

Living in the Fast Lane — June 2007

        "Life's so quick; life's so fast.
        At this rate will I last?
        How on earth will I stay sane?
        Living in the fast lane."

These opening lines from the Simon Icke song "Living in the Fast Lane" reflect the way many of us feel these days. We find ourselves overscheduled and overstressed, rushing around multitasking our way through life. It seems that we might slow down as we get older, but I find I'm actually picking up speed—and it's not a good thing.

Everything I do feels almost like a race, beginning with the way my mind races most of the time. I've always walked fast and talked fast and been generally quick about everything I do, but there seems to be a new intensity these days. Not only am I concerned that I may be harming myself physically, but my hurried, harried state is not good for those around me either.

Recently we took a day off—away from home and computer—and went for a drive and a hike and just exploring places we hadn't seen before. I've often noticed that the only times I feel remotely mellow are when I'm outside my normal environment. And every time this happens, I vow to get out of my (self-imposed) routine more often.

In fact, it's foolish to push myself the way I do, especially since I have flexibility in the way I choose to use my time and energy; so I have no one to blame but myself. Others who have 9 to 5 jobs or are stay-at-home moms don't have as much choice. But all around me I see people who are pushing themselves more and more every day.

So I invite you to join me in committing to try harder to slow down and smell the roses. It's ironic that I use the words 'try harder'—since that's the same mindset that gets us stuck in this fast lane to begin with. But we do need to focus on the trade-offs in our quality of life (and probably in our effectiveness) by virtue of our fast-paced way of living.

Here are a few more lines from the song "Living in the Fast Lane:"

        "Peace of mind I have no more,
        Simple life has gone for sure.
        Always wanted, in constant demand.
        Mobile in car, mobile in hand."

The above verse refers to one of the issues most of us face—being constantly 'connected.' So one thing I've done is to give my cell phone number only to my immediate family. I hope each of you will consider what you can do to take a break from the fast lane—and bring a little more peace and calm into your life.

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