Friday, May 8, 2009

Delayed Reaction

At twenty-one, I hated interning for a political newsletter in DC. I was stressed out all summer, convinced my boss thought I couldn’t do anything right. In my quest to be a serious reporter, I tripped and fell on the floor of the capitol building in front of five congressmen. I asked Jesse Jackson “How’s it goin’?” blowing any opportunity to get exclusive quotes. When Florida’s democratic congressman Wexler asked me if I had any questions following a press conference on off-shore drilling, I panicked “No, sir. I just wanted to thank you.” I was nervous and nauseous, my editor was pissed. It took a year before I was able to appreciate all I learned: how to bounce back and work under pressure.

In a society valuing speed and instant gratification, people don’t have patience. We text on our i-phones while speeding down highways in SUVs. I enjoy a slower pace. It’s nice to be able to take my time. I love the small details, tiny moments otherwise overlooked. During a hike in the Adirondacks I saw a small, grey mouse in the underbrush alongside the dirt trail. I stood and watched, wondering weather the tiny creature would find adequate food and safety. I named him Gus-Gus. Far ahead, no one else saw.

The future comes fast enough. I knew people who were looking forward to the senior prom as sophomores in high school. As juniors, they looked toward college. When their college graduation day arrived, these habitual hurriers had already picked retirement homes. It’s not that I don’t plan for my future. As an unemployed would-be journalist, I’m always dreaming of deadlines. I truly believe sometimes 24 hours is not enough time to get everything done.

However, at the risk of sounding like a meditation guru who’s had a little too much ganja with her morning cup of hibiscus tea, I think we should all take a deep breath. Take another. Notice nothing happened. The world did not end because we took a few extra seconds to live.

-Carly Okyle


Charles said...

I needed to read this today. It takes a human 10 years to master anything with fluency whether its reporting, painting, writing, etc. Back when painters had to be apprentices first, they would spend ten years working their way up from the small subtle details, such as fruits and curtains, to the more difficult ones such as hands and faces. Only after ten years of subtleties where they then allowed to make their own painting. After 10 years though, they had the proper foundation to work with fluidity. Sometimes we are our own prison guards, maybe even the most intimidating and oppressive.

Anonymous said...

i need to read this pretty much every day. it is so hard to remember to just sit back and enjoy the moment we're in.