The other day I sat in the passenger seat of my uber pool with tears trickling down my face. I had 10,000 things to do and needed to get back to my car, but my elderly uber driver was in no rush. His slow driving, wrinkled hands and button-up shirt tucked into his jeans reminded me of my grandfather who passed last year after ubering the night before. They both rode through life soaking in the fullness of every moment. I need to do more of that myself. Maybe pop-pop is still teaching me in his death.
My grandfather was always busy. Even though he was 83 when he passed, you couldn’t tell him he wasn’t 38. The difference between us was that he didn’t fly through the day. He gave every task and every person particular attention. Time worked on his schedule. I wish I could say the same.
I'm always rushing. I zoom through the hallways at work, speed to destinations in the car, and rarely go into an event without calculating the end time. My brain and body operate on autopilot. Everything is a checklist item, client, or appointment. I even pencil in spontaneity and girl time to make sure it happens. Too often, I’m getting a lot done, but I not always present. Sitting in the uber that day, I chose to let go of my time constraints and embrace the moment by sparking a conversation with my driver, Willie.
When you take time to be in the moment, experiences become more than to-do lists.
I learned that Willie was also a grandfather who attended a church in my neighborhood. We talked about his grand-daughter and the tenure of his uber career. For the moment, he wasn’t just another driver. We connected, and I saw him beyond his title.
When we speed through life, we limit ourselves and others to roles and titles. Lately, I’ve been saying how I’m always performing. I’m often teacher, host, or poet more than I’m Jasmine. I’m still learning how to be all those things while staying grounded and connected. It’s a practice that is strengthened through repetition. Instead of rushing through the day to get to a space where I can get centered, I need to start finding ways to get present in each moment.
If I’m honest, part of the reason I cry so easily when I think of my grandfather is because I was too busy to fully mourn when he passed. I was more concerned about being the strong big cousin and older grand-child than I was about checking in on Jasmine.
There’s nothing weak about needing a continual space to breakdown. It’s healing.
Over the next few months, I'm inviting everyone who identifies with my story to join me in taking time to slow down. Throw away the timer, and engage with each person in the moment. Get out of your head. Set your titles aside, and allow yourself to feel every emotion without judgment. You owe it to yourself to get centered.
Thank you, Willie for the reminder. Rest in heavenly peace, Pop-pop.