Are you moving too fast to be happy?

When the speed of your life can change the happiness in your heart

UPDATE: This post has turned into one of the most popular posts on Confessions of a Terrible Husband! Because of that I took a few minutes to talk about it a bit more on the Confessions of a Terrible Husband Podcast. You can listen to the episode by clicking the play button at the bottom of this post or by visiting any of the listening options linked on the top of the page!

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Are you moving too fast to be happy-I did something different yesterday morning that reminded me of the importance of the pace with which we live our lives.

If you want to listen to the story, click the play button at the end of this post where it says “Listen Here.”

If you prefer to read, here's what happened:

My six-year-old son, Pavlos, woke up super early (6am, compared to 7:15 or so).

He was (as he usually is) full of energy.

The house was quiet. My wife and 4-year-old daughter were asleep.

I was up reading.

We normally tell Pavlos when he wakes up to look at the clock and if it is before 7am he can get up, brush his teeth, and get changed, but he then has to get back into bed until at least 7.

He's pretty good with that routine.

At about 6am yesterday, I heard the thud of him jumping out of his bed followed by the pitter patter of his tiny little footsteps going from his bedroom to our bedroom.

For some reason, however, I decided to interrupt his routine yesterday.

“Pavlos,” I yelled.

The footsteps stopped, and then started again, growing louder and louder as he bolted down the stairs.

He turned the corner and, as Zig Ziglar would say, smiled so wide he could eat a banana sideways.

I smiled, too, said good morning, and gave him a big hug and kiss.

He knew I wasn't sending him back to bed, so he asked me if I could help him find his bag of popsicle sticks and some post-it notes because he and his friends had planted jellybeans at school and the kindergarteners kept digging them up.

He wanted to make “flags” to put around the jellybeans so the kindergarteners would know there were plants there that the first graders were wanting to grow into lollipops.

We made flags.

It was such a fun time, with him writing “plants here” nice and neatly on the post-its, me making some, too, and then me reinforcing the post-it notes on the sticks with scotch tape.

When we were done, he gathered his “flags,” put them in a ziplock bag, and stuck the ziplock bag in his backpack.

He was so excited.

I then asked him if he wanted to take a walk with me.

We had never taken a walk before school, and we hadn't taken a walk at all since well before winter.

We both put on the closest gear available, him wearing bright red rain boots, the first coat he could find, and a baseball cap, and me wearing black pajama pants, a white t-shirt, a wool hat, and my winter coat.

We took a 10-15 minute walk to the end of the cul-de-sac and back.

I led him in conversation a bit, but mostly let his mind wander and asked him questions about things that are important to him.

When we got home, he grabbed the post-it notes, again, and ran to the corner of the room.

I got ready for work.

He told me when I get to work to look in my backpack and “dig deep.”

I did.

At the bottom of my backpack was the crumpled post-it note you see right here.

Is your pace limiting your hapiness?I called my wife to let her know about the note because I knew she would find it cute.

She told the kids that I was on the phone and to say hi.

Pavlos yelled in the background:

“Hi Dad! I had a great time with you this morning!”

The sincerity and joy in his voice were obvious.

I melted.

Then I paused.

Then I realized that I sometimes let my mind speed through the day, racing through the minutes and hours like an athlete training to win the next race. I spend the whole day focused on what I need to do next to accomplish a goal I have set for my personal or professional life.

I stick to my routine, wanting to finish my reading goal, have a certain amount of quiet time, or otherwise just continue according to my “plan.”

I spend the whole day focused on what I need to do next to accomplish some personal or business goal months or years out.

Other times, I slow down and realize that I'm already winning, right now, in ways that are way more important than whatever comes next.

How can you slow down today?

What can you interrupt?

What can you say yes to?

How are you already winning in ways that are more important than whatever comes next?

Listen Here:

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Love this – what sweetness. The little love notes always stop me in my tracks and bring me back to the present moment. And, it’s a reminder to me how something small can create such significance. I have pushed myself to write more little notes as well – for the kids, for my husband, and even sending snail mail letters to others just to say “thanks.” Those little notes bring you into the present and remind you that someone loves you and is seeing the way you live your life. Make it an aware, present, and grateful life. 🙂

    • Thanks Ashley! That’s awesome. Handwritten notes are such an awesome way to show someone you were thinking of them – one of the quickest ways to a sincere smile. So true!

  • bitfs

    Awww, yay for a good dad! Yeah, when unplanned family or friends stuff pops up, I try to really throw myself into it and ignore the voice in my head yelling at me about my plan. Screw the plan and live life when you can, the people you love are way more important than pretty much anything else. 🙂

    • Thanks Crystal! That’s awesome! I know you and Len do a great job of investing in and supporting each other! Those voices are hard to ignore, for sure. It seems every time I listen to my heart instead of those pesky voices I make a wise decision.

      P.s. I’ve literally assigned the voice of Gilbert Gottfried to those voices in my head and it’s helped! Makes it much easier to not listen to… just like real life. 🙂

      P.p.s. Good lock getting the voice of Gilbert Gottfried out of your head. 🙂

  • This is so simple and beautiful. Routine is great, but breaking it once in a while to stop and take a walk is just as great, if not better. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks so much, Lisa! So true! The past few days have been pretty incredible. This break of routine looks like it’s becoming a pretty awesome routine. I’m journaling about it and will be sharing more content about it over time. 🙂

  • David Mike

    I am guilty of trying to keep the routine. I wonder how many of these moments I have missed? Great post!

  • Thanks for this, Nick, just what I needed to read this morning!

  • I genuinely had tears in my eyes reading this. I am such a softie 🙂 that is so adorable. Kids say and do the cutest things, time with their parents is so important to them. Just lovely!

  • Sweet post, Nick. I’m pleased to know dads like you are tuning in! I thought that only came in the grandparent stage of life! Great wisdom and keep up the great work.

  • MarriednNaked

    Great article and a great reminder. Thank you!