Are you in a rush? No I don’t mean about getting your Christmas shopping done. Are you striving to get to the next milestone? Are you desperate to get to where you see other people shouting about where they are? “Hey, look over here! We made it here and it’s great – why are you still over there? Seriously you should try a bit harder; you clearly don’t want it enough!” How we behave on social media is often an extension of who we are at home, only on a much bigger scale.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are so many people who are achieving great things – Emily included, and I want to celebrate with those who are celebrating. In the world of disability and Down’s syndrome in particularly there is much to celebrate and to be thankful for. People with Down’s syndrome have far more opportunities than at any time in human history.
And with the right kind of support and with encouragement, they’re making something of their lives and it’s wonderful to see and long may it continue. And long may we see the photos and read the articles and rejoice.
But sometimes is it possible that we lose track of what’s real when we see what others are doing. Do you feel under pressure to achieve because that’s all you’re seeing on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and who knows what else these days? So we take pictures of everything and put a positive spin on it to show we’ve not been left behind. And we kid everyone that we’re doing fine, that everything’s ok, yet inside we’re dying. Inside we’re screaming and hurting and silently we’re crying. (But you don’t get many Facebook Likes when you show a picture like that!)
In feeling that pressure to “keep up”, to reach that milestone, we can miss the most precious moments…
You know some journeys are meant to be taken at a slower pace, with smaller steps. We’ve just come back from the Highlands of Scotland. As we drove those narrow, winding, single-track roads we had no option but to take it slowly. We had to regularly stop so others could pass and they did the same for us. But as we did so we were able to look and to see and to absorb the awesome breath-taking scenery; the glint of light upon the loch, the grandeur of each mountain, the trees dressed regally in hues of autumn.
So many times we gasped in awe.
Got out of the car.
And enjoyed living in that moment.
You can’t do that when you’re living on the motorway doing 80mph all the time. All you’re doing is waiting for the crash.
So friends, you who are parents especially, can I encourage you today to take some time to stop racing to the next milestone. Slow down. Enjoy your children. Enjoy your family. Enjoy the opportunities that come your way and don’t beat yourself up for the things you can’t do, the appointments you’re late for, the meals you burn. Stop apologising for the articles you can’t write, the parties you can’t attend and for the kitchen that looks like a bomb site.
Enjoy being alive in this moment.
Enjoy being you.
Celebrate those around you.
It’s the small steps that take us on the journey.