Put down phone, stop and smell the roses

People are chasing money, power and success at a wilder, faster pace of life, and it is costing our lives dearly.

This is the new progress in America — always working at moving forward with no limits on how far and how fast one must go.

We can’t take the time to reflect, carefully plan, as you will fall behind if you stop moving forward quickly. Fast at all costs is becoming the standard for life, and the result is a stressed and distressed society that we have not had of this magnitude before. Multitasking is fast becoming our way of life in order to fit in our daily schedules by bedtime.

In a vicious circle of activities, with our fast-paced lives, we are promoting over-stimulation and over-scheduling. We have convinced ourselves that something is wrong with us if we can’t seem to cope with this fast-paced lifestyle and turn to medications, drugs and alcohol to relieve us of our stress.

We were promised that technological advances were going to relieve our minds to allow creative thinking; however, the unbelievable amount of information available to us today has deteriorated our memory, contaminated our minds, limited our creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. The need to act now, a need to be online, on a cellphone and always checking information, much as a robot is designed to do, is taking over our lives.

Maybe the larger cost is the harm our fast-paced society is taking with the lack of personal human relationships with all the technical advancements we communicate with every day. Face-to-face communication now takes too much time, and we resort to Facebook, email, texting, voicemail and other fast communication efforts.

Think about the last time you sat down to write a personal letter to someone in need or you yourself have opened a recent letter from someone who cared about your situation.

Our methods of fast communication today are causing misunderstandings. We may say things, with cyber methods and speed that we would think otherwise with a face-to-face conversation.

Our younger generation is growing up with this addictive inner pressure of a fast-paced lifestyle, which will continue to escalate into major consequences as they grow older in their lives.

Our fast-paced lives are creating many negative health issues, including bad eating habits and improper resting of our minds and bodies. Fast foods are many times the normal eating since little time is left for home meals with events at school for children.

This habit leads to excessive weight gain for all parties with extra calories and no time for exercise. Many other health conditions are initiated with extra weight such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and others.

I am sure you have noticed that safe driving is a battle with the fast-paced world, too. Distracted driving is the No. 1 cause of accidents today, according to Drivers.com. Paying full attention to the road does not include calls, texting, eating, reading, grooming or applying makeup.

Vehicle crashes cost a total of $871 billion in 2010 per a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

We are paying a huge price for our chosen actions which, if we choose, will continue to increase. Most of the professional dealing in mental issues agree that devoting time to meditation every four hours, for 15 minutes, is very productive in dealing with the rest of your day.

Thinking about all the beauty that nature offers is a good starting point. God also provides help with our lives in his book, the Bible.

My very supportive and compassionate wife, Joan, wrote the following poem, “Are you smelling the roses?” which she trusts will help:

People busy everywhere; going here, going there.

In the fast track this life poses, no time to rest or “smell the roses.”

The interstates need time-out lanes

to collect our thoughts, realign our brains.

We eat in the car, and we text while we drive.

It’s really a miracle we get there alive.

We hurry, hurry — and then we wait,

exiting off the interstate.

Awe! Then at last, when we do get home

we kick off our shoes and charge up our phone.

Dean McFarland is a board member for the Central Indiana Council on Aging. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfield reporter.com.