How many of you out there feel like you are always rushing through the day with never a moment to yourselves? When you are working, do you actually take a real lunch hour? Or do you grab some junk food from a vending machine or stumble through a checkout line with barely a word to a fellow human being, only to return to your desk, eating while you work, not even enjoying your meal?
Did you ever stop to realize how many convenience stores in the United States have names that are geared toward all the busy people with no time to spare, names that lead you to believe that you will be in and out within a short period of time? To quote Shakespeare, “What’s in a name?” What indeed, when you stop to examine some of the names of these chains: Quick Trip, GetGo, GoMart, Express Mart, Quick Chek, Git N Go, Snappy’s, and of course, On The Run are but a few of these food marts. In some areas, there are even drive-through grocery stores. It’s all about not having to leave your car if you just need to grab some basics such as milk, eggs, and bread. And hey, these drive-throughs are great if you have kids who would otherwise attack the items on the aisles like army ants swarming over prey on the African veldt.
When you think about it, it seems as if we have been rushing to get somewhere or do something for most of our lives. We can all identify with some major events when we’d counted down the days. For example, we couldn’t wait until we turned 16 to get our drivers’ licenses, or 18, when we could be free of high school and vote, or 21, when we could legally enjoy an alcoholic drink. How many times after “becoming legal” have we mentally and verbally conducted a countdown (i.e., two days until Friday, and when Friday rolled around: TGIF!).
With this in mind, think about the benefits of slowing down a bit and taking an extra step, for others or us. If we don’t rush through out lives at every turn, we may start to appreciate life more, including our loved ones as well as other people with whom we may come in contact. We need to make a little extra effort to be more pleasant to the clerks that help us at checkout lines, and people in the service industry. We could practice small, random acts of kindness that would make us, as well as the recipients of these good deeds, feel a little special. It’s not always easy to make the extra effort, because we can get so wrapped up in our own lives and concerns that we see little else.
But sometimes when you least expect it, a friendly comment can turn into something wonderful; you never know when a kindness can reap a great reward. You could end up meeting your next new friend or your soul mate. Or, you might get a lead on your next new job or encounter a person who can have a profound affect upon your life. As a matter of fact, this is how my writing journey began, when I started talking to the editor of this site. It all came about with continued small talk, when he stopped into my place of business to buy a soda and a lottery ticket. A friendly word at the checkout counter transformed itself into an opportunity to spread my writing wings in his forum.
As you go about your busy day, remember to keep a smile on your face and a friendly word on your tongue. Slow down, so that life becomes less a meaningless blur and more of a pleasant and perhaps fruitful journey.