Have you ever noticed how fast you’re moving?

You’re cruising down a highway at 80 miles an hour, and a cop pulls you. “Ma’am,” He starts, “Do you know how fast you were driving?” You might say get uncomfortable at first. Do you tell him how fast you were going? Do you acknowledge that you knew you were speeding? Better yet: did you even know you were speeding? Hey, I’m not one to judge. Sometimes my foot gets a little heavy on the gas pedal.

But do you know when to take your foot off?

These days, there isn’t enough white space in our calendars. If you color code your planner, you’ll get a sense that every single moment of your day has become booked. From classes to dinners with friends and date nights, from jobs to riding and internships… do we even have free time? Hold up. What even is free time.

For a long time, I felt like if I wasn’t busy something was wrong with me. If I wasn’t rushing from point A to point B, frazzled to the point of anxiety, I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t enough. The more commitments you have, the better. The busier you are, the better. Why are we in a competition to see who can hold the tightest schedule? But, we are. And we all lose.

When was the last time you had enough time to graze your horse after your evening ride? Did you clean your tack, or did you have to wipe it down hastily so you could rush home to get started on your homework? Between working out and getting to class or work, did you grab that coffee you love? I bet you didn’t have time to sip it slow and savor the taste. When was the last time you picked up the phone when your mother called? I know that’s usually a long conversation. It’s hard to pick up the phone when you’re 10 minutes late to your lesson already because traffic was awful, and you haven’t changed into your breeches yet.

We miss something important when we’re operating on overdrive. We miss the opportunity to take care of ourselves. How many times have you skipped lunch because you “forgot” or couldn’t leave your desk? Caffeine isn’t a substitute for sleep, even though sometimes there aren’t any other options. I’m guilty of downing energy drinks to perk me up and get me through the day. It’s almost like I’m trying to fill my empty tank, but the energy drinks leave me with less than I had before. Without a proper refuel, my car is going to break down. Or, you know, not go anywhere.

Remember to take care of yourself. Of your space, of your world. There’s no reason we have to be in overdrive all the time, even if it feels like we do. The world keeps turning, and turning, and turning whether we slow down to notice or not. But, I can’t help thinking that if we took our foot off of the gas pedal before the police officer pulled us over, we wouldn’t have to answer the question of how fast we were going. There’s nothing wrong with getting off the highway to drive a back road. The scenery is prettier, anyway.

So, take care. Find more white space in your calendar. Get rid of the commitments that don’t fill you with enthusiasm. Fall in love with the small things that make you happy all over again. Fill up your tank, and take care.

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