Slow Down for Turtles!

Stop the world, I want to get off!

As I spun into the driveway, rushing home from one errand so I could run out the door again to attend two back-to-back meetings, I felt frazzled, overwhelmed. And understandably so.

My to-do list seemed to be growing by the day. The kitchen table was piled with books and papers. My house was a mess. Emails were piling up.

I had no idea how my life had gotten so out of control. Was it really because school was in session again? I teach a news writing course at a community college. I only teach one class and wonder how other teachers manage to teach more than one. Or teach multiple subjects to one grade.

My textbook was updated this year so I’ve been busy rewriting my notes and updating exercises. I’m the adviser for the school paper with a very young, fresh out of high school but enthusiastic new editor-in-chief.

I’m on La Vista’s board and managing a farm – even with the help of several others’ – takes a lot of time. I’m an officer in my Toastmasters club, responsible for scheduling speakers and meeting roles and filling in for the president when he’s out of town (which has been frequent this summer).

I am trying to start a writing business and have managed to snag one client so far. I basically am responsible for keeping up the house, inside and out. Yard work, painting rooms, cleaning the birdcage – I do it all.

And of course there’s writing on Hub Pages.

I would never give less than 110% of myself – it just isn’t in my make up. But I knew – know – that I have to slow down. Barreling through life isn’t doing anything positive for my physical or mental health.

In fact, I’ve been finding myself having a hard time taking a deep, complete breath. I grew up in a very stressful and chaotic household and I had those same kinds of feelings then. I would struggle to exhale all the air from my lungs – even pounding my chest a couple times - just so I could inhale deeply.

And barreling along isn’t allowing me to fully experience life as I rush from one task to another.


A painted turtle makes its way across a field
A painted turtle makes its way across a field | Source

Slow down for turtles!

My dad passed away several years ago but I still remember a story he told me. Shortly after he retired, he began to play golf with several other men. One day, late to the links, he was speeding down the road to make the tee time.

One thing to know about my dad is that he loved nature and animals. I remember asking him one day why his brothers always came home from hunting with a deer and he never did.

“I could never shoot one,” he told me. “They’re too beautiful. I just go out to be in the woods.”

As he raced down the road on his way to his golf game, he passed a turtle trying to make its way across the road. Normally my dad would have stopped and moved the creature off the road. Not today. Too much in a hurry, he sped past it.

If the turtle wasn’t able to slow down my dad, flashing lights and sirens sure did. The cop nailed him coming around a curve and handed him a hefty fine.

The moral, my dad told me, is “Slow down for turtles!”


Source

Tips for slowing down

If you find yourself rushing headlong through life, unable to enjoy a single moment because you are always thinking of the next thing you have to get done, then try these tips:

1. Learn to say NO! Literally sit on your hands if you must so you aren't tempted to raise them to volunteer for yet another project. If you have a hard time with this, try to look at it this way: you are depriving someone else of the opportunity to learn skills you may already have, whether that is managing time, people or projects.

2. Find a balance in your life. You don't have to do it all and you most certainly don't have to do it perfectly. Take a hard look at your schedule and decide what you can drop from your list. Resist the temptation to fill the hole with another activity, even if it's "supposed" to be a fun one. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is the best thing to do.

3. Don't be proud. It's ok to show your vulnerability and to ask for help. No one will think less of you for that but they'll have a different thought if you start dropping all the balls you are trying to keep in the air in an effort to prove you can do it all.

4. Have fun! Laugh a little! Children have a natural joy for life so take a cue from them. Rent a comedy that is guaranteed to give belly laughs. Find a pond or stream to wade in or lie on the grass and watch the clouds drift by.

5. Be nice to your spouse, your kids, your coworkers. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, the baggage they carry around with them through life, even you. Perfection doesn't exist in the real world.

6. Breathe! Shallow breathing can be triggered by stress and anxiety. When you find yourself in this position, pause and focus on your breath. Inhale, counting until your lungs are as full as you can make them. Exhale but make it twice as long as the inhale. If you inhale for a count of 8, exhale for a count of 16.

No one is asking you to ditch your obligations - that's unreasonable to expect from anyone. But give at least one of these tips a try and you should soon be managing your time a little better and enjoying your life in the process.

More by this Author


Comments 19 comments

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I like your ideas for "slowing down", Danette. It's so true that for many of us life seems to get out of control at times. I know that I'm in danger of that happening now that the school year is about to begin. I'll keep your suggestions in mind. Good luck with your time management and relaxation techniques, too!


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

Yes, I relate to this, and I shamed to add a little story further to your Dad's. One day we were hurtling down the road, in a hurry to somewhere. A car was stopped beside the road and a lady was walking along in a hurry. We were so busy getting where we were going, and looking to see what this lady was doing that we didn't notice what was on the road in front of us. We hit something and it flew up into the air behind the car. We hit a dear little turtle, the lady had stopped to save it and we mowed straight through. I have always felt full of shame for that moment. Your Dad's words are very wise, I can vouch for that. Very good advice in this crazy non stop world we live in. Thank you, my votes to you.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Danette, we get so use to the same fast pace everyday, that we don't always realise we need to slow down.

I love your Dad's turtle story.

Some excellent tips on slowing down, we will feel so much better for it!

Many thanks for sharing.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 5 years ago from Midwest

I totally needed to read this today Danette thank you! Ironically enough I have been seeing turtles crossing the road a couple of times lately and even thought to myself - I wish I could slow down like that guy. I usually stop to help them out because I know they tend to get hit with how fast people drive out here.

I am taking a full load of classes this semester because the scholarship I won requires full time status - with that, my writing, web design, kids, house, etc. I know your breathless feeling and can certainly appreciate the need to take a breath.

I think you are so right - better to ask for help than end up dropping the ball. Great hub :) thanks for the reminder!


poetvix profile image

poetvix 5 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

Isn't it the truth? We get so caught up in the rush we feel sometimes we can't slow down. It's not just us. More and more teens and tweens are showing signs of stress. This was great, needed advice. An old professor once told me if you need an immediate stress relief fix to try closing your eyes and smelling baby powder for ten seconds. It works! I think it has to do with associations to the safety and simplicity of childhood. Thanks for the useful, practical tips.


conradofontanilla 5 years ago

I have a joke? A horse can never overtake a turtle. For in every place the horse had been the turtle had been in a place also.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Alicia and I hope you have a great school year as well!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Fennelseed - I'm sorry you had such an awful experience. Try not to feel ashamed about it. Perhaps the silver lining here is that every time you think of that incident you'll remember to slow down.

Thanks Movie Master for ("slowing down") to read and take the time to leave a comment.

Hi Christin - well you know we get the messages we need to hear, we just need to recognize them. It sounds like you will be extremely busy with all your obligations and I hope you'll take a little time for yourself when you are able to.

Poetvix - when my kids were much younger (grade and middle school aged) we discouraged them from being involved in more than 2 after school activities. We didn't want them to be overbooked and over-scheduled. Everyone needs down time. Interesting idea about the powder, I have some in my bathroom cabinet - I'll have to give it that a try!

conradofontanilla- Thanks for taking the time to read my hub. I guess that's true - eventually the turtle is going to get to where the horse once was!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

This is definitely a timely hub with the rat race of school starting. I know that I am feeling the fast pace of the school year already as well. I was actually going to run for union rep for our building this year and decided against it for that exact reason, I just couldn't take on any more problems this year. I love your ideas and will be rereading this hub often. Grandpa was a wise man!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Cara. Yes he was wise in many ways.

I'm glad you decided against being union rep. The problem with people like us is that we can't do anything in a half-a** way, we give a project our all. Then we overextend and over-commit and get stressed. Wish I could be up there to help out with the kids.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Danette-GREAT STORY and hub. I didn't know that one that dad told you. I absolutely loved your tips and ESPECIALLY love the sound advice at the end of tip #1-that you are depriving someone else of the opportunity to help out.

Thanks for sharing. I agree with you re: cara's saying no to the union rep position. Glad to know that she has no need to do it all and then some...

Voted up and across (including funny...sorry, warped family humor I suppose!).


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Dee, thanks for the thumbs up. I appreciate all your support


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

No problem, sister...glad to do it. :)


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@Danette Watt...Fun and informative! Thanks! Your Dad passed along a worthy piece of philosophy!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Barbsbitsnpieces, thanks for reading and commenting. I agree that this is a nugget of wisdom worth remembering.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

I must have missed this great hub when it first came out. You've given some stellar advice in a very entertaining way and I liked the way you included personal examples.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Gail. It's sometimes easy to miss hubs when so many come out. I'm glad you found the advice useful.


Milli Thornton 4 years ago

I don't have trouble saying No to others when they want my time. I have more trouble winding down from my own internal ticking clock. This was just what I needed to hear. I've already dropped a few obligations I've been developing inwardly just while I was reading this. Thank you! Loved the story about your dad and the turtle on the road. Even without the copper stopping him it was poignant.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Milli, thanks for reading. I will be completing 2 obligations at the end of this year and the closer I get to that time, the more I'm looking forward to reclaiming my own time.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working