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By Trish Reyburn
For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed going fast.
My mind moves fast.
I like to drive fast.
I like to rollerblade and ride my bike fast.
My first memory of experiencing adrenaline-rushing speed was while riding fast on my skateboard. My family lived on a big hill in a suburban neighborhood that was great for speed.
I found that I could actually go faster if I sat down on the board. And, because the hill was so long and so steep, I used the heels of my sneakers to slow down.
After some time, the rubber on the heels would burn off and my “brakes” would be gone.
One such day happened in the autumn of my tenth year of life. I was flying down the hill, faster than I’d ever gone before!
I tried to slow down but there were no heels left on my shoes! The pavement started burning through to my feet and I quickly had to pick them up.
I couldn’t stop!! I kept getting closer and closer to the main road, closer than I had ever gotten before. Eventually, I put my hands down to stop myself. I lifted my bum off the board and it continued down the hill without me.
A moment later, a speeding car went by and collided with the skateboard, shattering it into pieces before my eyes.
Still, that experience did not deter my need for speed.
One springtime afternoon after leaving high school for the day, I participated in a drag race down a winding country road. There were three other teenagers in my car. I caught onto the adrenaline rush and thought I was so clever. It was the most dangerous and stupidiest thing I have ever done in my life and I am blessed to say we all arrived home safely that day.
I have gone on many white water rafting trips in my life, along with downhill skiing, and, once, skydiving (tandem style). I used to pride myself on being an excellent multi-tasker. As I grew up, the internet got faster and life became faster with more efficient ways to transfer information and travel.
I hadn’t realized my need for speed was a type of addiction. The body gets used to certain chemical rushes and then looks out for another hit. Anger is another form of an adrenaline rush. I lived on that for many years as well.
Only recently, have I begun to understand the need to slow down.
Maybe it’s an age thing. I’m over 50 now. and have entered a new stage of life. I’m not that young whippersnapper I once was.
And thanks to the pandemic, I’ve adjusted my lifestyle. I’ve had some much-needed down time and more time and attention to give to my inner experience. Having more quiet time and interacting less with others has given me an opportunity to just be. I don’t need the adrenaline rushes the way I did before. This beingness has led me down new avenues of creativity and fostered in me a renewed commitment to my health and well-being.
I also believe it is through the influence of a close friend that I have learned to slow down and appreciate more beauty: To feel the difference between driving the highway and taking the back roads and to appreciate the cycles of nature, watching the world around me subtly change from day to day.
Do I still enjoy going fast? Mmmmmm, yes.
But now I find balance and remind to myself:
Slow down and pay close attention, life moves fast.