57 Years to Learn a Lesson
Yesterday I celebrated my 57th birthday.
“What? You’re 57?!” Shouted my inner (forever) younger self.
Yep. And it’s a good thing. In fact, it’s not just good—it’s fantastic.
Fantastic because it’s taken this long to learn one of life’s biggest lessons: it’s okay to slow down and enjoy life.
Did you hear that? Just in case you missed it, I’m going to state it again with emphasis:
It’s okay to slow down and enjoy life.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Now this time, personalize it and say it out loud:
“It’s okay for me to slow down and enjoy my life.”
Did you say it? Did you believe it? Or were you just doing what I asked you to do? Uh huh.
Whether or not you believed it, speaking thoughts out loud is powerful—and this is how we create the beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.
You’re doing great! Let’s break it down one more level:
“It’s okay for me” When something is okay, we are content with it. No resistance, no denial. Just acceptance. Even if it’s something new, it can still be okay. We trust our intuition and believe that our experience will show whether or not it works for us. If not, we can always choose again.
“to slow down” Ahhh, now we’re getting to the good stuff. There’s a false belief that big things happen quickly. However, many of the most meaningful things in our lives happen over time. And the longer we’ve been around, the more we have to appreciate. There is an abundance of great things and people in your life because of you!
“and enjoy” To enjoy something is to be in-joy: a natural state of happiness. Experiencing feelings of joy connects us to a sense of well-being (also a natural state) and reminds us that we have the capacity to find pleasure in small things. Take time to savor the people and experiences you’ve already created.
“my life.” Your life is your creation, and you are the only one in the driver’s seat. Sure, you invite in other passengers who influence your journey, but in the end, you are in charge of your speed and direction. And if you find yourself speeding, you can take your foot off the gas pedal.
The final step is to say it slowly and deliberately—and appreciate each of the words as they leave your mouth:
“It’s okay for me… to slow down… and enjoy… my life.”
How did it feel this time? Possible? Believable? If this is something you want, the more you say it, the more realistic it becomes. And once you believe something’s believable, it’s achievable.
Our lives already have so much momentum—too much momentum. And the only way to slow things down so we can enjoy them is by giving ourselves permission to do so.
Hopefully, this affirmation will have as much impact on you as it has on me. And although it took me 57 years to learn, once I finally believed it, I’ve begun slowing down and really enjoying my life.
Maybe it’s time for you to do the same.
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg
P.S. Need a good book that helps you appreciate your journey? I love The Second Mountain by David Brooks. He lays this out very nicely :o)