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Slow The F*** Down!

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Today, after a very frustrating and swear-laden drive into work, I sat at my desk only to be further frustrated and annoyed by my inability to log into one system, connect to email on my most important system and the realization that I had left my house without my gym clothes once again.

So, in order to restore a little bit of sanity to my day, I logged into Facebook to get a glimpse into the lives of family, friends (real and Facebook), colleagues and former brothers-in-arms.

As I “liked” a few posts here and there, maybe provided a comment or two to show how intelligent and witty I am or to execute a virtual bitch-slap on someone whose political musings I disagree with, I came upon a posting by an old friend and former brother-in-arms. It was a recording of a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace.

In this speech, Mr. Wallace describes the innate self-centeredness that drives us all as the “default setting.” He describes how most of us speed through the mundaneness of life with the “me” as the focal point, seemingly oblivious to everyone else’s “me.”

While the rest of my rambling here will not be in the same vein as Mr. Wallace’s address, it was an eye-opener for me and got me thinking (uh-oh).

Having spent the first half of my adult life in a perpetual state of hyper- awareness due to the nature of my chosen profession and the relentless training and drilling and rehearsing and practical application of all manner of field craft and tradecraft, I realized that in recent years I have become the very person Mr. Wallace describes in his speech. I have ceased to be aware of the other little universes that surround me and my personal “me.”

My trip to work used to be exciting when it was in a helicopter flying at treetop level. Or nauseating flying nap-of-the-earth in a C-130, usually capped with an adrenalin fueled rush at the end while leaping out the back of said C-130.

Drop Zone

I used to love driving. Beside the freedom of the open road on a Harley, the butt-clenching over-steer of a Porsche 911 in a tight turn on a California mountain road or the thrill of the G-forces from the acceleration of a barely street-legal wannabe dragster, there was scenery to be inspired by, roadside diners to be experienced and people to be met along the way.

Now, stuck in the mundane, I curse the truck drivers passing other trucks at .001 mph faster than the truck he’s passing. Or the person in front of me that has the audacity to only do the speed limit and no more. And I wish my car had laser cannons to vaporize the person in front of me that refuses to go even that fast.

I have become always in a hurry. And in my perpetual hurriedness, I am allowing life to pass me by.

Last year, when my 18 year-old daughter was five, I wanted to take her camping but the all-consuming routine of what I have allowed to become my life took a firm hold and the opportunity slipped by.

I will submit that the saying is true.  “Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.” I would also add that life happens while you are racing through it.

My “take-away” from this is that perhaps it’s time to slow the f*** down and realize that I am not alone in my universe and to try to enjoy the rest of the ride.

With that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a slower-paced, prosperous New Year.

And remember… Life is a Sandwich. Eat it Up!

Mike


  1. Gary W. Sorensen II says:

    Mike,

    I can relate to everything in your message, but the jumping out of perfectly good aircraft part. My babies grew up way too fast and the life we want to live cruises out of reach as we are doing those pseudo-important things.

  2. Dee LaRaia says:

    This is wonderful. Mind if I post it at work?

  3. Not at all, Dee! Feel free!

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