Maybe it's because I live in New York City or maybe it's because I am really young or maybe it's both.
I notice that many people are in a rush to get somewhere. I am speaking about the literal sense where I often see people rushing on the train to get to work or their next appointment. We do have two designated time slots in New York City known as rush hour.
However, I do also mean that people often rush in a metaphorical sense. Many people, especially youth, seem so hell-bent on accomplishing milestones as quickly as possible: being successful as quickly as possible, getting into relationships as quickly as possible, making as much money as quickly as possible.
There's nothing wrong with ambition. I do take issue with not being able to enjoy the ride in the process though. And I say this because of myself.
I grew up in an success-oriented household. It's very common in immigrant households, especially if you are the child that is a first generation American.
Growing up in such an environment there was a lot of pressure to succeed and outdo yourself and strive for excellence in everything. I wasn't taught to enjoy the journey towards success, to enjoy the bumps along the road. In fact a bump a long the road was blown out of proportion by my mother and considered a failure on her part. So, in NYC, I became like many: rushing on the train platform and ignoring anything else around me that I considered irrelevant. I had tunnel vision.
I was like this in everything: my work, school, relationships, creatively. And I was deeply unhappy. The one thing that I could not be rushed in was when eating food. My mother says that I inherited that from my father.
After I began learning about different Buddhist practices, I happened upon something called mindfulness. It is a form of meditation. You can do it with anything and it's harder than it sounds. Mindfulness can translate to awareness.
Now when I began learning how to meditate, I had a lot of trouble. I thought meditation meant clearing the mind completely (something I find impossible to do at times). However, I've learned that meditation means learning to accept racing thoughts and feelings, allowing them to be, but still remaining present.
Often times when we rush it's because we are so future-oriented. It's alright to be concerned with the future but too much concern makes one anxious. The present is called the present for a reason.
Over time I've learned to use meditation to calm my mind and often times can be seen doing it when I eat (something known as mindful eating). It's a practice that teaches you to enjoy something very simple: eating a bite of food. When was the last time that you truly enjoyed a beverage or a meal?
And mindful eating may not be your thing. You can be mindful about something else. However, if you suffer from “rush syndrome” then you may want to try it from time to time.
What good is being successful if you cannot appreciate that journey towards getting there?