December 2019

Every day I ask myself why everyone seems to live in perpetual overdrive - on a pace that burns the candle at both ends; it stresses me out just thinking about it. Of course you’re probably thinking technology is the most likely culprit. Certainly technology compels us to be “continually on”, yet I’m most intrigued by my friends and peers alike who are constantly on the go – living to “just to get things done”.  The million-dollar question is, why? Is it really “just to keep up”?  I try to wrap my head around what we’re all trying to keep up with since none of it seems to be forced or planned. 

You have to wonder, is our fast-paced lifestyle really pushing us toward success? Or are we racing against time because, well, it has become the new normal. My guess is that its unfortunately the new normal that’s sadly driving our generation into a world of stress, anxiety, poor health, and irritability. I’m sure you have heard of the classic song Stairway to Heaven. Well, today’s fast paced world feels more like a stairway to hell. 

Is this how we want to live? Is this really what millennials want to experience in life? I really hope not, which begs the question, then how do we change? 

For me, I’ve made the decision to take a step back from the fast and furious and consider some alternatives - call it a bit of self-awareness therapy. I have experienced this “rat race” lifestyle long enough to know that life will still go on whether I stay in the fast lane or take the exit and slow down. It is a choice; nobody is forcing me to keep up. Once I accept that making a change of pace is good for the soul, perhaps I’ll finally be able to stop and smell the roses.  

Have you ever self-reflected and thought about what you would do differently if you had the chance to go back and try it again? Well, I have, many times. Each time my initial thought is to stop rushing through life. I am trying to reach the “success” of a 30-year-old while I am only 21. I am trying to build my resume as if I had already graduated. And for what? Just to do it again at 30. When I ask other people the same question, they all say they’d “take life slower because you only get one shot to do it right. Find your passion and never drift apart from that because that is what will bring happiness and success.” 

Maybe the need to stay ahead and succeed no matter what it takes is imbedded in our brains by the way society is changing, but nobody knows that for sure. I do know that we sacrifice a lot to follow the concept of “no matter what.” Think about it; there are 365 days in one year. The amount of time you have in your life to “keep up” is relative to how you use it. What is this driving force that is pushing us to accelerate the process of success? Competition? Fear? Parents? Me? 

If I were to sit Lily down and tell her something it would be this: step back, reset the clock, take a deep breath, and begin to move out of the fast lane. Take life one step at a time, day by day, hour by hour. What’s the rush? Plus, the more you try to speed up the process, the more likely you will miss out on the best moment’s life has to offer. Set the pace. Focus on the now. 

What do you think?  We’d love to hear.

Lily Di Silvestro
Fall Intern, 78Madison
Student, University of Central Florida