30 In Series/ Women Now

Women Now: Slowing down to the speed of life

How fast do you live life on BrendaKinsel.com

Questioning my speed limit

 

I’ve pretty much been a 75 mph person when it comes to moving through life. I’ve always been fast. My kids tease me. They used to go to sleep at night, wake up in the morning, come downstairs and all the furniture would be moved around. I’m not manic. I just like getting an idea and running with it. It’s happened with my career. I read an article in the paper about an SF image consultant and thought to myself, Maybe I’d like to do that. The next day I was hunting down trainers and signing up for courses.

As the saying goes, grass doesn’t grow under my feet.

I’m beginning to question that speed now. Moving into my sixties, speed of life is on my mind a lot. I’m thinking about choices: slowing down, saying no so I can say yes, accepting that I can’t and won’t do it all, rethinking what matters, contemplating what I really want to be doing. The finish line is a whole lot closer at 60 than it was at 35.

Some of this came up when I was talking to an artist friend of mine. We both have full lives with family, work and our creative endeavors. I was quizzing her about how she finds time to do it all. We both questioned our speed of life. In the course of our discussion about time and speed I told her my 35 mph story. She said, “Oh, you have to write about that.”

The time is now. I want to open up the topic and have a discussion with you. Let’s begin with the 35 mph story.

Thinking about pacing at 60 on BrendaKinsel.com

What speed do you live life?

Dropping from 75 mph to 35 mph only because I had to

Living life at 75 mph wasn’t an option when I was going through cancer treatment over fifteen years ago. Enforced slowness made me mad.

Talking about women now on BrendaKinsel.com

Are you slowing down or speeding up?

 

A breast cancer survivor in Texas helped me with this struggle. Her name was Mrs. Connie Taylor. She loved beige. Every time I visited her she was wearing a Max Mara beige pencil skirt. She wore beige cardigan sets and beige pumps to match. She lived in a large sprawling ranch house (decorated in shades of beige) with open land all around it. What I loved about Mrs. Taylor is that she was so calm, kind and patient. If I was all upset about something, we’d sit on her beige couch and I’d tell her all about it. She never got rattled. She’d listen and then share a short sentence or two of wisdom.

Sometimes she’d take me for drives in her pink Cadillac convertible. I loved those rides. I felt so safe in that pink Cadillac with Mrs. Taylor at the wheel. I loved the cushy ivory leather seats. Sometimes someone else would drive and she’d sit in the backseat with me. We didn’t go fast; we went 35 miles per hour. More than that was too much for me at the time. We’d be on a gravel road (funny, there was never any dust up from the gravel) and there would be farmland and rustic fences on both sides of the road. Riding in a car going 35 miles per hour was surprisingly very enjoyable. I quite liked it!

Those afternoons I spent with Mrs. Taylor and the drives we took together in the pink Cadillac convertible didn’t happen in real time. They happened within the hour of my guided visualization sessions. My doctor had suggested I try guided visualization, one of the healing modalities they had downstairs from where I got chemo treatments. She respected the mind-body intervention and thought it would help me.

That’s where I met Karin, the professional guided visualization practitioner. Near the end of each session Karin would bring me out of that dreamlike state I’d enter at the beginning of our session and we’d talk about what it all could mean. I got relief and relief was good for my immune system.

 

Pink talisman on BrendaKinsel.com

Russ bought me this toy-size pink Cadillac which was just like Connie Taylor’s car

 

My speed limit was tested with my out-of-town paid gig from Nordstrom

I was put to the speeding test when three weeks after I’d finished radiation (consider now that I’ve spent 9 months in treatment and was pooped) I was under contract by Nordstrom to fly to Minneapolis, pull together a fashion show, give a 30-minute talk on fashion for women over 40, and then hang out with shoppers helping them make purchases. Normally I’m running at 75-90 miles per hour when I’m preparing and delivering a professional public event like this.

 

Is this part of aging or just facing a different choice?

What are the advantages now of going 35 mph?

 

The morning of the event I was going over my notes in my hotel room. I kept reminding myself, Brenda, just remember, you only have to do this at 35 mph. I knew that if I switched into a higher gear, my stamina would be gone in five minutes.

I arrived at Nordstrom in the Mall of America. The audience was showing up early and getting the good seats. About five minutes before I was supposed to get behind the podium and open my mouth I realized my notes, all of my notes, were back in the car. Oh boy! I had no time to go get them. But then I heard “35 mph, Brenda, 35 mph” inside my head. I took a breath, thought of Connie Taylor and the ivory leather seats of the pink Cadillac. I relaxed, opened my mouth and gave the best talk to date. It was fun, breezy, informative, uplifting – all at 35 mph.

 

Is slower better on BrendaKinsel.com

Shifting lanes

When my health returned, I started adding more and more things to my schedule because I had more stamina. It seemed natural to do. I was slowly getting back to my old speed.

Turning sixty has made me question the speed of life. I know I’m not going 75 mph. It’s more like 60 mph. I’ve spoken to a client of mine and friends of mine who are all talking about the fact that we can’t seem to pack so much in like we used to. We don’t have that same energy. We value getting our beauty rest, making time for friends, yet we still want to get things done!

So I turn to you, dear friends. What speed are you living at these days? Are you satisfied? Do you miss the old days/ways? What’s changed for you? What choices are you making? Let’s talk!

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    La semaine d'une gourmette
    March 9, 2017 at 5:28 am

    I was always, and still am, a very lazy gal. I *can* do things at 80mph (I’m a fast thinker and a fast worker), and I do, but in between, I just enjoy a much more leisurely pace – I read, watch movies, eat good meals, daydream and enjoy life in general. So actually I have a dual speed limit ;-). It hasn’t changed with the years actually (I’m 56).

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 8:17 am

      I’m so glad we’re talking about this! “Doing things at a leisurely pace” is something that happened to me last week when I got a last minute free day to roam where I wanted to roam and let my mind drift. It was heaven. I love daydreaming and you mentioning that reminds me of how soothing that is. Thank you for this insightful share!

  • Reply
    Beverly Feldt
    March 9, 2017 at 6:44 am

    After a lifetime of doing everything at top speed, I’ve been discovering slowness, and I love it. So much that I had a tiny snail tattooed on the inside of my forearm to help me remember that sometimes slow is better. (And thanks for the timely reminder this morning: I’m in the middle of a very busy two weeks, and now I realize I’ll get everything done if I slow down.)

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Oh Beverly, this is gorgeous! A client of mine has a snail ring (big, cocktail size) and your tattoo reminded me of that. I think I need a snail talisman to remind me of “slower.” I have learned that when I’m busy, busy, busy that that is exactly the moment to slow down. After I do, things just get done easier and more quickly even. Gosh, I really appreciate your share! I’ll be thinking of your tattoo all day!

  • Reply
    Susan B.
    March 9, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Brenda, this post is so timely for me. I’ve always been one of those 65 mph people, and now that I’m able to work at a more leisurely pace, I find I sometimes have a hard time settling my mind and focusing. And after decades of full-time office work and having every minute of the day scheduled, I’m almost loathe to schedule anything. Learning to pace ourselves can be quite the task!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Yes, yes, yes, I hear you! I have built in (but sometimes I break it) a few hours on Friday that are just for me. But even then I feel like I need to be doing something. Russ will come home and say, “How was your day?” I’ll say, “I was a lazy bum.” (And feeling guilty about that!) And then he’ll say, “That’s great! You need that!” I agree with you, pacing is challenging! Who knew? Thanks, Susan!

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    March 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

    This really made me think, Brenda! Because how did we get it into our head that getting more done is better?
    I’m pretty much the same way, although since retiring, I try hard to relax more and enjoy every day. Maybe realizing this makes us better??
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Oh, I quite agree with you. Although not retired, I have been focusing on creating those relaxing, reflective, slower paced activities. But it’s not easy! I also wonder how much of this is in our wiring and how much is cultural. And that equation about time and getting things done really does need examining. Last week, a couple of times, I walked out of my home office and said, “That’s enough.” The world wasn’t going to end if I didn’t finish what seemed pressing. It’s a process! Thanks for your perspective!

  • Reply
    Penelope Chandra- Shekar
    March 9, 2017 at 7:28 am

    This week I got the chance to meet one of my “Sheroes” , Tao Porchon Lynch. Do you know of her? She is a 98 year old yoga teacher and competitive tango dancer. She wears high heels(hiked the Inca trail in them ) and marched with Gandhi and MLK. She was also a model in Paris for Schiaparelli and other top designers. She thinks nothing of teaching three yoga classes a day in two different cities, yet her energy is calm and peaceful and she glows with joy and excitement. She pointed out the first evening star and closed her eyes to make a wish. She says “Yes” to life and she breathes deeply and seems present in every moment. I think that is the secret no matter what the schedule demands. She deeply inspires me and I thought I would share.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 8:28 am

      I have seen pictures of her. I’m definitely getting clues to how I want to live life from what you’ve shared here. Although I can’t imagine retiring, learning how to be internally calm and peaceful needs to be a part of the formula, for sure. Nothing else is sustainable when I think about it. I’m so glad you told us this story about her!!!

  • Reply
    Amy Roseveare
    March 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Fabulous article, Brenda! I find it so interesting how going “fast” and being “busy” is almost a badge of honor in our culture! Taking ones time, savoring the small moments, and truly being discriminating about HOW to spend ones time is so important. I’ve been consciously trying to eliminate the word “busy” from my vocabulary lately. Because when it comes down to it, I’m never too busy for what is truly a priority in my life. It’s an interesting lens to view ones day through.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      I always look to you as a forerunner on issues like this. When I find myself about to say “I’ve been so busy” I catch myself as it bores me to death to hear myself say it! It’s pretty meaningless as we’re all busy. And you’re so right. Being discerning is everything. I feel more “confronted” about that in my sixties. You’re a younger one and smart already!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    March 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I’m a member of the Slow Club–not the former, “Slow Club” in SF which closed in 2015. Pondering the word ‘slow’ is delicious for me. I have defended my slow ways and most always–lose the debate–especially using that descriptor. As Amy Roseveare notes, “busy” is to be honored in our culture. ‘Slow’ has unfortunately not been revered other than slow-roasted. The current approach of ‘Mindfulness’ has revived my naturally slow, ways-of-being. It is possible however, to be slow and not mindful. There is a difference. Finding balance, I can drive fast folks bonkers, so I do add speed as needed. If it is possible, I am becoming even slower in my 60s which provides additional contrast to times when I add speed. Admittedly, I also enjoy speed bursts as long as they are not sustained over long periods of time. I welcome all who come over to the slow side. Life in the Slow Club is saturated with color, beauty and story. I imagine you have discovered that for yourself. Great post Brenda!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Katherine, again, so much to savor here! I’m realizing that my mother was in the slow club. Oh my gosh, we had some great laughs over how slow she could be in a checkout line. She’d take the time to line up all her bills so they’d be face forward. Jefferson first, then Lincoln, then Hamilton, then Jackson. I’d watch her in amazement. When she felt my gaze she turned to me and said, “What?” But of course, she knew what. We laughed out loud. Honestly, she filed them so slowly! Anyway, now I want to know more about slow. I’m appreciating it more! Life in the Slow Club. Okay, interested!

  • Reply
    Holly
    March 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I used to be the employee at work who raced down the hallways. Often others would stop & let me pass by them, it kind of turned into a joke. People used to marvel at me, look at her go, she’s so busy! And sometimes work still is that busy. But when there are slow periods, I really savour them now. I don’t feel like rushing around anymore to give myself a heart attack or a stroke. lol At 51 I’m trying to become a less anxious person. And rushing around fed that anxiety and didn’t really accomplish a whole lot of good. It sure looked impressive to others though Lol

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Again, I’m learning so much! Thank you, Holly. I know exactly what you mean about anxiety going along with the rushing around. I’ve been there! I do feel less anxious than I used to. Not sure what I attribute that to. But being aware of that by you sharing will help me and I bet others too!

  • Reply
    Mary Lou Hartman
    March 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Great post. I have reordered my priorities since retiring at 62 and feel that it is a result of the wisdom I’ve gained over the years. I now take time to focus on my physical and mental health and trying new hobbies and experiences. It’s so much more fun than constantly rushing around and I seem to accomplish more. I always enjoy your posts and thoughtful commenters.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks Mary Lou. I enjoy your comment and yes, I too very much appreciate the thoughtful commenters on this blog. I’m reminded of a chapter in a book. It was asking the reader to list the things they don’t have time to do. And then the author put out the challenge to take that top thing on the list and start doing it. There are stories I want to write that are about family and moments that I cherish but I thought I had no time to do that. But now, I am allowing time to remember, reflect and write down some of the meaningful, fun stories that have come from family life. I think I’d still be saying I didn’t have time for it if I hadn’t heeded that advice. It was eye-opening. I’m also struck by how you’re accomplishing more. Interesting! Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Jacqueline UK
    March 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve always been first to the finishing post both when I worked and for the first few years of retirement. Masses of voluntary commitment, interspersed with an allotment (large vegetable garden in the U.K.) and twin grandchildren – now aged 7 years. However I am now 70 and realise my limitations. I have been looking after my daughter and the grandchildren after she has had a major spinal operation for 4 weeks and am exhausted. So I am definitely moving down to 35 mph for a few weeks and having an honest conversation with myself about pacing and being kind to myself. Unlike Holly I don’t think that I looked good to others but actually achieved a lot professionally but I could have done it at a less taxing pace.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 9, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Such wisdom here! I think you really nailed something that I’ve been trying to figure out and that is realizing your limitations. Can I work for 12 hours in a day? Yes. Do I want to? Well, certainly not on a regular basis. Sometimes with clients and writing for professional stylists for a program I created can lead to long days. But I don’t try to do that regularly. I can recognize when I’ve gone too long and am not playing enough. Wow, 7 year olds and a daughter having been through major surgery–yes, that sounds exhausting! Good luck on your 35 mph and I support you in being kind to yourself. Thank you for sharing, Jacqueline! (And I’d love to see your garden!)

  • Reply
    Jen
    March 9, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Brenda. What a timely story as my dear friend and I ponder how we get perspective after wearing what we call our “superman capes” for so many years – Capes On is our motto! Together we nigh on ran a department at work full time with 7 small children, sick parents, loads of work pressure etc between us. Now in our early 50s we are sitting round stunned from the prior frenzy and pondering 60 or even 55 miles an hour. I love your beautiful story telling Brenda and the glorious images too – that blue is gorgeous! We are taking this as permission to slow Queen Brenda!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 11, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Just loved reading your post. And yes, I can relate to your conversation with your friend. We’ve been through lifetimes already, haven’t we? And we’re entering a new one. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I love hearing about women and their stories and how it all works. Thanks so much, Jen!

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    March 10, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Great post, Brenda. I was going 75 mph up to the time my father became ill & he needed my assistance. I planned to work until 72 but my career took an abrupt halt and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Now that I’m caring for my mother, I realize creating memories with my love ones and enjoying life is most important. Will I ever resume a faster pace? No, life passes too quickly, creating memories last forever.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Thanks, Genevieve, your story is an example of what happens in life. Things can change in a moment and there’s a new reality. In a way, isn’t it amazing how we make those adjustments? We’re charging along and then something changes and we have to shift our speed to match what we’re dealing with. I lost my mom nearly 2 years ago and Dad has turned 91. Visiting him in a month. Every moment with him is precious. Thanks for your wisdom!

  • Reply
    1010ParkPlace
    March 11, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Brenda, My name is Brenda as well and 13-years-ago I went through breast cancer treatment. I did Guided Imagery as well and still practice it along with Dr Andrew Weil’s breathing exercises. I’m over 60 and not burning rubber like I used to either. My husband died, unexpectedly, Christmas Day, six years ago, and I haven’t gotten back into the dating world. We’ll see where I go with that one…

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 11, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Wow, Brenda! First of all, it’s always wonderful to meet another Brenda. And to meet someone who has that link to Guided Imagery. So interesting. Maybe I need to check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s breathing exercises. I’m intrigued. I am sorry for the sudden loss of your husband. I can’t even imagine all the shifting and adjustments you went through. Sounds like you’re entering a new chapter. All the best to you, Brenda!

  • Reply
    Vicki Wingo Grant
    March 17, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    I love the guided imagery descriptions of beige everything, except the pink cadillac, the soothing quality of thematic same color neutrals with the pop of color to drive at 35. It’s impressive to know the emotional meanings of color as represented by Mrs. Taylor.

    The flip side benefit of my cancers is learning the discipline of staying in the moment, recognizing “bonus time” and not wasting emotional coinage on that which does not add value. The upending of health reordered self care, instead of the continuous sacrifice of self for others–a major bit of unlearning from the “family narrative” of “what women do” (at high speed, I might add).

    The focus here becomes joyously laser sharp, because all is not a given.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 18, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Vicki, you are articulating exactly what I live. It’s a practice that I’m practicing–staying in the moment, not fretting over what I cannot control and I really relate to bonus time. Every Christmas is a bonus, every family member’s birthday is a bonus, every sunny day is a bonus. You speak about this so very well. I can’t thank you enough!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    March 18, 2017 at 6:29 am

    I’ve been facing this same question over the past couple of years, especially right after my mother died. I’d been caring for her while she battled vascular dementia and other serious health problems for nearly 7 years. I also have a family and a freelance journalism career … and so on. As a high achiever, I always feel guilty when I slow down, plus I worry that I will lose my edge (and/or stop getting work).

    But now that Mom’s gone, I’m realizing that I haven’t taken as much time to reflect upon — and appreciate — how much I’ve accomplished. I haven’t always enjoyed my own successes because I’ve been on the run trying to grasp the next big thing. Over the past year, I’ve worked toward ENJOYING life, savoring moments, and being fully present to things. It’s opened up new worlds for me, including the enjoyment of clothing and fashion — which is how I found your blog and other mature fashion bloggers.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 18, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      I’ve read and reread this comment from you, Cindy. I can so relate. My mother would have been the one to help me see those accomplishments and contributions. I feel at this age, we need to start doing that for sure! Some self appreciation. It’s a amazing how many many things gurgle to the top when our mothers pass. Lots and lots of stories. So glad you found the blog and thanks for contributing your words to it!

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