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  • Writer's pictureKhawla Shehadeh

Slowing Down

On LinkedIn, I read the moving post of a young woman who was terminally ill with breast cancer. She wrote about how she started looking at life differently. Something you hear more often from people in the final stages of their lives. However, what she described so beautifully was that her grief of loss in life was not about things on her 'bucket list'. She no longer longed to see the pyramids with her own eyes, to bungee jump, to party in Ibiza, to perform live once with her singing voice or to hold her own baby for the first time. Her longing went amazingly to the little things she missed from her life. Doing groceries and thinking of what she will make, binging on the couch in her boyfriend's arms, bickering about nonsensical things, cycling in the drizzle rain, getting ready for a party, enjoying good food, being able to laugh carefree until your stomach aches, smelling the coming of spring in the air, connecting with the children in her class, etc.

It was confronting to read because these are precisely the moments that are so often lost in the hustle and bustle of the day. They are moments that are less well appreciated and take for granted. After all, they are nothing special. We have neither put much effort into them nor spent much money on them. Nothing impressive, let alone to boast about on social media. I can already picture it "Am enjoying myself at Albert Heijn, so nice to take my time for this". They might like your post but I fear they might also be thinking to themselves, "What a pathetic life you have!". In many eyes, it makes you a bit of a loser.

A beautiful quote by Warren Buffett, businessman and philanthropist, reads, "What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end". Very apt in this case. Only at the finish line do we realise what really matters and what brings true happiness. Life is already short enough and haste only makes it shorter. We live from weekend to weekend and work towards the holidays. What do we have to do before we can finally go on holiday? We are tired before we can start enjoying ourselves, maybe even too tired to really enjoy ourselves.

Instead of just wanting more and bigger things in life, we could pay more attention and open up to what is already there. Finding the wonder in the little things. Choosing quality over quantity of experiences, so to speak.

Life happens here and now. This is all there really is. The plans, the dreams, the ambitions and all the fretting about it, that is only in the head. Let us open our eyes to this moment. Look around you as you read this, what can you enjoy more consciously right now? Live your life, every moment is precious.

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