The cover story on the new issue of the Costco Connection magazine: Go with the Slow – Putting the brakes on our sped-up, filled-up lifestyles.
Last night, late-day sun shone bright through round windows at the top of the very tall walls of the Detroit Boat Club. We leaned in to learn the rhythm of rowing, pulling the harness back, then bending forward into the stroke once again.
After we’d practiced inside, we ventured out to the dock and stepped into a barge outfitted with oars to learn the practical side of rowing, in the water. The sun had sunk lower in the summer sky, gleaming in diamonds off the river’s surface.
The oar parted the water as it mellifluously pulled back and forth in swift, smooth strokes. I closed my eyes, letting the sun wash over me, basking in the warmth of another great day.
Earlier, Dan and I had biked around Belle Isle, the island in the middle of the Detroit River, celebrating four years of wedded bliss. We picnicked on a bluff overlooking the green-blue waters, which lapped at the shore beneath us and sparkled in the sunshine.
To one side, another country, Canada, our view of apartment towers and old riverfront homes quiet and peaceful. On the other side, the landscape of our city, some urban blight, some urban harmony, all together as one magnificent place.
And us: taking a day out of the rest to be together, to talk, to be quiet together.
It was, in a word, wonderful.
I went to bed pleasantly exhausted, slipping into sleep with windows open and waking today to birdsong. My body feels the good kind of sore you get when you enjoy life. I can’t wait to do more. I can’t wait to fill my days with more good living.
And I began to wonder, as I always do, why we push so hard, why we strap ourselves to routine and lists. Why do I insist on checking my phone obsessively, and running between appointments. Why I ever worry over anything – because worry or not, it all works out in some way, and I handle whatever bumps I roll over.
It’s a shame that where I live, this blissful season of activity and sunshine lasts for such a short time. Just as I get into the groove of waking early to sunlight and birds and cool-kissed air, the planet spins on its axis and tilts away from the sun and the sunrise takes longer to find its way here and the days end sooner.
The nectar of a good life is fresh air and sunshine. Even the rain is welcome when you can feel it on your skin.
Hiding inside locked rooms is no way to live. Stifling ourselves in offices with windows that won’t open is a disservice to our souls.
I love my life. And I love it more when I can actually enjoy it.
A person I know suffers from depression when he can’t enjoy his life. The minute he is set free to find true joy – to run, to play, to just be, to be loved – the depression melts away.
Driving home from rowing, I heard an interview with a famed expert on depression. He himself suffers from it and spoke about the “cocktail” of medications he takes every day to maintain equilibrium. Some medicines offset the effects of the others. And he believes he couldn’t function without these pills.
What if he could live in a place and a way that encouraged him to feel freedom? The sheer number of Americans battling depression makes me wonder if it is perhaps something about our societal framework that causes this disease – which is really unhappiness with one’s life.
What if we felt the freedom to live, to travel, to take time off, to bake a cake. What if we replaced the dis-ease with the things that made our soul sing.
What if. I’m thinking it’s a pretty good investment of our energies to find that place and live it.