Taking a ‘time out’ from the chaos

dougles adams quoteExcuse me while I dust off the keyboard here!

I can’t believe it has been almost a month since I last posted.

Let me start today’s post with this question: Did you get everything done this summer that you planned to do?

For many of you, the summer season is full of activities – you know… family activities full of fun and adventure. Well, my summer has been busy with family activities, but of the ‘let’s catch up’ kind. I have no idea where the summer went, but it was fast and furious. I still haven’t gotten to that family weekend camping trip I had originally set in my mind to get done.

If you are like me, you may not have gotten where you wanted to go, but you ended up where you needed to be.

Doing a mental inventory of my summer, I realize that all is not lost. I started a business. I started a new blog. I started writing a second book in addition to my first one. I became a grandma for the first time. I tackled a ton of items on my never-ending to-do list.

But what I am most thankful for is what I didn’t do. I didn’t stress about as many little things as I usually do. I didn’t get caught up in other people’s drama. I let go of a lot of anger when it surfaced. I gave myself more time for reflection, which translated into thinking about all the good things I’ve done, no matter how big or small, which allows me to approach things better than I did a few years ago. The time I’ve spent networking, reading, listening, working, thinking, writing and just being thankful helped me realize that my time was well spent.

You see, I took time developing me. Just me.

Not the business. Not the blogs. Not the books. Just me.

And that has been my best investment of time, no matter the season.

I am learning that in my fast-paced mindset of go, go, GO! I need to learn to infuse a slower philosophy in life. When I do this, the little things don’t bother me as much. I release the pressure valve in my mind to slow down and reflect.

Our lives are comprised of both individual epiphanies and ongoing evolutions. Every day presents opportunities for changes, both big and small. Every moment is a chance to choose.

Yes, I still get caught up in the frustration of each day, but I choose to be kind to myself and let it go. I choose to reflect on the good instead of dwelling on the bad. I choose to listen instead of falling into a propensity of dominating the discussion. I choose to think things through before reacting and regretting it later.

Last year when I started my “Do-Over” experiment, I was fueled by a desire to wipe the slate clean and tackle life with a new outlook. Well, the honest truth is, I now believe there is no such thing as wiping the slate clean and starting over…but you can change your outlook as fuel for change. I may have failed to see that at first, but over time I am learning that the best thing we can do is to just keep going with a new-and-improved mindset.

It may not look like it if you look at my social media activity, but I’ve been taking a step back from things like Facebook. This blog is a testimony of taking time off to do other things. It’s been almost a month, but I don’t have regrets. My mindset is better as a result.

Let me share an example:

Today I reflected on how much I miss being with my husband, just the two of us. I am practically with him 24/7, but never just the two of us. I took the initiative to go for a long walk. At first he balked because it meant changing his routine, but after he thought about it for a bit, he was eager to get going. He was ready before I was. ๐Ÿ™‚

We set out on our journey.

At the end of our driveway we witnessed a dust devil form and whip past us. If you have never seen one, it’s fascinating to watch. The grass will swirl at first. The wind collects in a perfect storm of sorts, and as as it gains momentum, it will pick up dirt and suck it up in a mini-tornado reaching for the sky. The more it swirls, the bigger it will grow and the more it will suck up to take with it.

I took a moment to reflect how it resembles and parallels our own lives. When chaos comes our way, it gains momentum.

As we moved along the road, we held hands. We strolled and chatted about life in general. We dreamed. We connected. We re-engaged our brains to come together as one.

It felt SO good to just be with one another.

At the end of our walk, once again at the end of our driveway, a dust devil was forming behind me. I was in direct line with its path. I was hot, sweaty and exhausted. I had to choose whether to anticipate the chaos of its path and try to step aside, or brace myself for a potential impact. I braced and let it swirl around me. I decided to fully feel its impact, grit and all.

Once it hit me it broke up and lost momentum. It continued on down the road, but it was smaller than if I were never there in the first place. That’s when it hit me: much like life, we have to try to sidestep the chaos or brace ourselves and stand fast. If you stand fast, you give it less momentum later. All I had to do was choose.

By investing time and a mindset of going slower, I was able to reflect and reconnect. Not just with myself, but with my own husband.

I am so glad I slowed down enough to choose. Otherwise I wouldn’t have realized I am exactly where I need to be. ๐Ÿ˜‰


About The Author

Torrey Shannon

My name is Torrey Shannon and I am a writer, author, blogger, movie consultant, speaker, veteran's advocate and Blue Star Mom. I am also a full-time caregiver and spouse of a wounded warrior. My husband survived a gunshot wound to the head in a gunfight in Iraq in 2004 after serving in the Army for more than 23 years. We spent three years of his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He has severe PTSD and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Dealing with the invisible wounds of war first-hand allows me to bring a human element to the problems our military communities face. Blogging gives me the chance to do what I love the most: write about life after combat and help create awareness and solutions for military members and their families. When I am not writing here, I freelance for a variety of publications and media outlets and am currently writing a book.