Not long ago I had the privilege of watching someone who really seemed to have really figured out how to slow life down.
I had passed the kids to my husband for the day and headed to the oceanside community of Pacific Grove, California, to write and enjoy some time to myself.
I was scanning titles in a book & coffee shop when he came in. It was hard to miss his scruffy, graying facial hair, frayed shorts, and nearly disintegrated flip flops—and even harder still to miss the bright red and green, watermelon-patterned beanie on his head.
I love to people watch, and the cafe area was full of interesting people. But this was the kind of guy your eye can’t help but follow. He made an order and chatted with the barista, raving over her nail polish choice like they were longtime friends.
I tucked myself into an arm chair and kept an eye on him from over the top of a book I pretended to read.
I was intrigued—maybe a little enamored—with this 50-year-old, self-proclaimed beach bum in the watermelon beanie.
On his way out, he stepped fully behind the counter (I don’t think traditional boundaries get to him much) to say goodbye to the staff.
His parting words?
“Life is too short to be normal! So I’m gonna keep being nice, I’m gonna keep noticing nail polish, and I’m gonna keep wearing my watermelon hat!”
I’m not exaggerating when I say he tipped his beanie as if it were a top hat, gave a gentle bow, and walked out into the fresh seaside air, leaving the bell on the door jingling softly in his wake.
What Would a Slow Life Feel Like?
Isn’t it fascinating to contrast what his life might be like with what our lives are like?
I like to play out his story in my mind, imagining him spending most of his days with sand in his toes… where I spend too many of my days with tired feet from all the hustling.
Maybe he treats everyone he meets with that much kindness and enthusiasm, where I tend to offer a quick hello and carry on with my own busy thoughts.
Maybe he notices things like purple nail polish where I too often rush past the details that really make life worth seeing.
Later on as I drove home, I kept thinking—Not today, my beanie-wearing friend. Not today.
Today I’ll Press Pause.
Today I’ll notice the way the sun casts a golden glow on my children when I call them in from playing outside.
Today I’ll pick up the book I keep meaning to read.
Today I’ll get my daughter dressed in her pajamas (and squeeze that cute belly of hers), instead of letting her do it herself.
Today I’ll eat a meal outside.
Today I’ll set down my worries for a while. (After all, they’ll still be there later.)
Today I’ll spend an extra minute doing my children’s hair, just so I can watch their growing faces through the mirror.
Today I’ll wave another car forward when we meet at a four-way stop.
Today I’ll double the amount of eye contact I share with my family and friends.
Today I’ll press pause.
I’d love to hear—When was a recent time that you managed to press pause and really be right there for a while?
Maybe it was last night when you breathed in the drop off essential oil you put on your pillow… Or maybe it was last week when you left your phone in your car while you hiked with the kids… Whenever it was, let’s hear it!
PS. If this post was about recognizing that you need to hit pause, this one is about how to do it: 5 Ways to Press the Pause Button (The Formula I Swear By)