At the basis of existence for all of us are the fundamental biological needs and functions of our bodies.
However sophisticated and evolved we might think we’ve become, we all still have the same basic needs as when we entered the world.
Air, water, sustenance, sleep, warmth, shelter, and so on.
Given the recent arrival of a new baby in our household, it’s no wonder I’ve come around to these kind of thought cycles again.
Once kids start walking and talking, I find them fascinating, and, whilst exhausting, generally a delight to be around.
Prior to that stage, they essentially just feed, sleep, and go to the toilet. Well, the padded toilet that’s permanently wrapped around their lower regions.
There’s not much else they do, or we see.
But in looking after such a young baby, it’s a healthy, in my view, reminder, of how much simpler and more relaxed life can be.
Whatever a family’s existing routines are, whilst a new arrival will in time need to learn to fall in with those, initially it’s just figuring out the fundamentals, trying to find its own patterns and rhythms, based largely on those core bodily functions and needs.
What if we as adults just rested when we were tired, rather than forcing ourselves to try to sleep when we’re too wired and awake, or delaying sleep when we desperately need it with hollow screen time, because we feel we should be doing something more “productive”?
What if we just ate when we were truly hungry, replenishing our bodies with nutritious food to keep us healthy, rather than skipping vital meals altogether and/or gorging on sugary, fatty snacks that don’t nourish us in any way, physically or mentally?
What if we just drank when thirsty, little and often, and you know, that miraculous liquid known as water, rather than any number of other beverages that contain something else or other that isn’t good for us?
What if we just visited the bathroom as and when we needed it to, instead of holding on too long and causing pain and discomfort, or forcing what’s not ready?
Nature has been performing these, well, natural, functions since time immemorial. If we just get out of the way and let it.
What I’ve also been noticing aside from letting things happen in their own natural way, is how when life is centred around these, it becomes not only simpler, but less stressful too.
The major triggers of stress on a day to day basis for me personally are mess, noise, and rushing about.
Mess and noise you can control to an extent, then we just have to let go of their inevitable presence of these to a certain level, and just try to reset again at the end of each day, ready for the next.
Rushing about can only happen if you think you should be somewhere at a certain time, but you’re running late.
If there were no assumed, manufactured deadlines, there’d be no need for rushing.
Back to the baby, it has no concept of any deadlines.
For him, nothing needs to be rushed – or indeed planned at all. Things just happen when they happen.
Our nearly three year old is another good example.
When I walk anywhere alone it tends to be brisk, almost a march. From our home to school would take me under 10 minutes on my own.
With my son in tow it can take anything from 15 mins, if he feels like running most of it, to 30 or 40 or more, if he stops to pick up a dozen flowers/sticks/pine cones along the way and walk back and forth through every puddle ten times.
But again there is such a blissful freedom in his natural, ever changing, pace.
He just walks as fast as he feels like in that moment, oblivious to any kind of measure of time.
Now of course with adult responsibilities we do need a certain time structure in place.
But again, what if we built this more around natural needs and rhythms, rather than an arbitrary number on a clock face?
This was never going to be the most factual or water tight post I’ve ever written, but it’s not meant to be. It’s just some of my current – and oft-returning – thoughts about the speed of our lives, what we prioritise, and why.
And if we listened more to nature, perhaps we’d all have simpler, richer, happier lives.
How about you? Which parts of your life are running at a speed you’re not happy with, and why?
As always, please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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12 thoughts on “Life At The Speed Of Nature”
Congratulations for the baby, Dan. Family is always a source of happiness.
Thank you Francis. Yes agreed, very fulfilling.
Long time ago for new babies in the house for me, but I remember it well! Congratulations! I take it, unlike our PM, you know how many you have now?
You’re touching on some elements of Daoism with your thinking there, going with the flow, and not expending pointless energy and stress fighting back against the natural way of things, with all our nature-controlling and measuring ways, is ultimately a happier way of being I think.
Thanks Bear. Everyone with grown up kids says treasure every moment as it goes so fast. And with our oldest approaching 14 already I can attest to that too.
I can see why people have large families, to re-experience each stage of a child’s life over and over again, but a little different each time.
Yes I definitely know how many we have!
Yes there are a number of different versions of this kind of philosophy I’ve come across, and they all come back to the same principle – if we try to fight what’s beyond our control and influence, we’ll never be happy.
Hi Dan, I tried to send congratulations using my iPhone but it didn’t work so here I am on my laptop saying congratulations. I was just telling my brother on FaceTime about your salsa dancing days and look at you now!! I’m so happy for you Dan. Sending you lots of love
Thank you Susan, always good to hear from you. Well salsa is how it all started! That’s where I met my wife, and a few years later we got together, and haven’t looked back.
My babies are 21 and 22 but they are still keeping me busy.
One of our neighbours has this saying about having children. Don’t worry, once you get past the first 18 years, then it’s only for the rest of your life. 🙂
Looking back, the arriving of a new baby, while always surrounded by a lot of stress, is just such a wonderful moment.
I’m very happy for you and your family and wish you the best!
Yeh, very happy times. It’s such a shame other things like work get in the way of enjoying them!
Congratulations again on the new baby boy, Dan. What a family you’ve got! Maybe you can send me a picture of you and the baby later on, on email, if you’re so inclined!
I’m pretty lucky, life is pretty slow for me. It’s getting a little busier this spring because of the boys doing athletic sport activities, lots of running around getting them to practices and whatnot. But by and large, I feel like I’m very privileged in the ability to do things like very slow walks home from school with my youngest. I wish that more people had the chance for that kind of time. I try to not take it for granted. It’s the best part of my life.
I agree, I’m able to do the school run for Max three, sometimes four times a week, and usually take Albie and sometimes my wife and the baby too. Just little things like this are what makes up the fabric of family life and experiences.