The Importance of Slowing Down for the Details

observation

Quick—how many of you can remember what your significant other ate for breakfast this morning? What was your daughter’s stance as she stood by the bus stop?  Can you describe something unique about the barista who handed you your Venti Caramel Macchiato?  What song played on the radio during your commute?  What was the headline?  Can you name at least five things you witnessed before reaching your destination?

How long did it take to answer the questions above?  If you could answer them all instantaneously, you win the washer and dryer set behind Door #3.  Just kidding.  Really, though, how many needed a few minutes or maybe even quite a few to conjure up the images of the morning?  Or worse, how many couldn’t remember a single one?

It’s difficult when we live in a world obsessed with the destinations rather than living in present.  We race here, race there, trying to stay afloat and miss out on all the beautiful scenery around us.  What a sad thought to think of all the opportunities missed not just to live in the moment, but also to add texture and truth to our writing.

Maybe this week is a wake-up call.  Slow down.  Open your eyes and pay attention to the details.  Allow your gaze to wander.  Notice how the morning mist floats across the lake like an apparition.  Wonder about the woman sitting across the aisle from you on the subway.  Ask yourself why the man in the checkout ahead of you is buying only one pork chop and a pint of ice cream.  Listen to the rain hit the dry corn leaves or catalog the scents and sounds of the raucous city outside your window.  Take it all in.  Write it all down.  Treasure it.

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