Slow but steady is the pace I live my life these days, and I am much happier and less stressed for having opted out of the rat race.
RAT RACE (noun, an Americanism dating back to 1935-1940):
“any exhausting, unremitting, and usually competitive activity or routine, especially a pressured urban working life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for leisure, contemplation, etc.” (Dictionary.com)
Chasing Your Tail
Looking back to the days when I was working 9-5, Monday to Friday, every day seemed to be a race against the clock. I was permanently stressed, trying to cram as much as possible into each day. Rushing from one place to the next and I was always late, not to work unless there was a dire emergency, but everything else.
I was racing to get my hair cut, to get petrol. Stopping at a supermarket buy to the ingredients for supper, taking the dog for a walk. Parking on the top floor of a packed multi-story car park, then realising I hadn’t got any parking pay cards, and the lift was out of order. I was cramming in writing time, during my lunch hour and before I went to bed.
Returning home from work, for a quick turn around. A bite to eat, before rushing off again.
- My writers group – then staying up half the night to write that week’s short story challenge
- Going to bed
- Waking up, sleep-deprived, to start the whole damn process all over again.
I even used to look at mowing the lawn as a race against the clock. I would look at my watch before starting, jogging up and down, trying to shave some time off my personal best.
Escaping the Rat Race
Then, I was made redundant—a bolt from the blue, which changed my whole outlook on life. I slowed down and took the time to appreciate everything around me more, which, for the most part, I had been taking for granted.
I worked out the things that were important to me and what I wanted to be doing with the rest of my life, having realised it wasn’t what I’d spent most of my adult life to date doing. For me, deciding to call time on my 9-5 working life was my salvation. I stopped chasing my tail to have one last-ditch attempt to become a better writer.
Lockdown has been a ‘pause for thought’ experience for us all. It has been time for reflection and rethinking in millions of homes around the world, as we tried to assimilate what was going on around us. During Lockdown, many of us proved our roles within the workplace can be carried successfully out from home.
Now, the way we all live and work is about to change for the better. Slow, but steady wins the race. Working at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home, you will be amazed by what you can achieve.