If I were to describe the first 22 years of my life, I would compare it to a formula one car. The years as a young adult especially. The moment I left middle school and entered the life of high school my life has been in constant motion. There were the occasional stops and moments of relaxation, which I would compare to the pitstops that the formula one car makes. Other than that I feel like I am constantly moving from one to the other thing, with no room to breathe. I take time to relax, time to meditate and read. But those moments seem to have no impact on the way I experience the speed of my life. Everything passes by so quickly, I feel a constant feeling of anxiety, and feel the pressure of never letting my focus slip because if that happens I will crash my formula one car.
This isn’t a healthy way to live. Let alone a way I want to live. It’s time for me to learn how to relax. Learn how to slow down, and instead of being in a formula one car all the time, maybe start to change things up. Take the bike at times, or the helicopter, maybe even a high-speed train. As long as I feel alive I don’t care at which speed I go through life. It’s just that I never feel relaxed, at peace, calm. That is a feeling I would wish to experience more.
Don’t Touch The Steering Wheel
Yet where do we begin? I have big ambitions, large dreams, many things I want to do in life. All beautiful things that I can’t wait to accomplish, but I believe it’s this strive for accomplishment that made me take the wrong turn. Going down the road of life at 280 km an hour. To be young means to be ambitious. We are full of energy when we are young, and we should use that energy to go after our dreams. The thing to be careful with though is that we have not yet learned how to press the brake. We don’t yet know how to slow it down and to relax, to enjoy the scenery. Or at least we have stopped to embrace that. The moment we entered the school system we’ve been trained to go from one to the next thing, and the only moments of pure relaxation we had, were during the summer breaks.
That’s the way of life we’ve been following for years now and will follow for years if we don’t learn how to relax, and take it easy. To be honest with you, I don’t know yet how to relax. How to slow down that formula one car. All I know is that it’s important to take time off. To put the formula one car in the pit lane, and step on a bike to ride it into the city and enjoy it. So that’s what I will be doing. Taking my bike and ride it into someplace quiet. Taking time off. I think that’s all we can do when we are in a formula one car and want to relax.
Relaxation is Like a Bike Ride
If we want to learn how to relax we just at first completely stop. Park our cars on the side of the road and for a few days, or weeks, maybe months, not touching the steering wheel again. Close our eyes. Sleep in the middle of the grass fields. Go for a lot of walks, feel what it means to be alive outside your high-speed car of ambitions and goals. Learning to appreciate what life is like without any ambitions and goals first, is like stepping on a bike again after you’ve not ridden it for years. It will be wobbly, and scary at first, yet you quickly regain what it was like to ride a bike. You remember the way you move your legs, you pick up the pace, you feel the wind against your body, the road underneath the tires. Soon after you are riding your bike fluently again and you enjoy it. You decide to never stop riding your bike ever again because it’s one of those amazing experiences in life you appreciate so much.
Learning to relax and enjoy life without ambitions and goals is just like that first bike ride again. It’s wobbly, scary because you fear that you are not doing enough, that you will never reach your ambitions if you stop moving towards them. But if you continue you’ll feel more comfortable riding the bike of relaxation. You feel more comfortable relaxing, to lay in the grass and do nothing. You realize how much you’ve missed it to be alive, to not just focus on your ambitions but to do nothing more than to live. You continue for a while, and decide that this is a feeling you never want to let go of again. Not just this specific feeling, but the feeling of being alive. Of taking your time with things, enjoying them, falling in love with every day of your life.
That’s an experience you don’t want to let go of anymore. Relaxation I feel is that overlooked skill to learn when it comes to living a great life. It’s all about the things we should do, like habits, working consistently, clear goals, helping others, but it’s never about learning how to relax. How to let all the tension that gets into your body go. It’s an important skill to learn I now realize.
To begin that process of learning to relax, take time off more frequently. Stop your formula one car, and get on a bike. Learn to appreciate the slow, and deliberate pace of life, and take that lesson with you when you decide to once in a while step back into your formula one car, to go after your dreams again. The bike and the formula one car should complement one another. If they do, then both the speed of the formula one car will exhilarate you, as well as the nurturing quiet and smooth motion of riding a bike.
Learn to do ride the car of ambition as well as the bike of relaxation, and learn when to step out of your car and onto your bike and vice versa. I believe that that balance will make you say at the end of your day. Today I Lived! I made the most of it.