Here’s a back story. About 5 or 6 years ago my dental hygienist recommended this electronic toothbrush. She said it has a fancy timer, fancy brush heads, and gives you a cleaner brush than you’ve ever had in your life. You use it for two minutes, and it vibrates every thirty seconds to let you know when to switch to another part of your mouth, and has a fancy digital display that rests on the sink.
(Don’t worry, this topic of this entry isn’t to explain how to brush your teeth. I’ll get to the point, just bear with me for a few minutes. 🙂 )
At the time this fancy brush seemed pretty pricey, but hey, I figured it was a good investment. So I bought it and started using it. At first it was kind of a pain. I never realized how long two minutes seems when you’re doing something like brushing your teeth. I always manually brushed for like a minute tops, on a good day. It just seemed to take for-ev-errrrr to brush my teeth for two minutes twice per day. Seems crazy right? Do you know how long it takes to stand there and brush for two minutes? (Don’t answer that. Yet.)
So – after a few years of this, I started getting sloppy with my brush strokes. I was tired of brushing slow methodical strokes for two minutes each time. It’s very monotonous. So instead of the slow, smooth, even strokes I’d been doing, I decided to brush really fast. Rapid back and forth motions, anywhere and everywhere, rampantly all over my mouth. Pressing hard, smashing the brush against my teeth, I was like a Ninja on a mission. No rhyme or reason, the point was to “hurry up and get this over with”.
I did this for weeks… actually several months. At my next cleaning, my hygienist noticed I had more buildup than before. She asked if I was still using my new toothbrush. I said “of course, in fact I’m brushing harder and faster”. That’s when I got my scolding and I had the light bulb moment. Instead of cleaning my teeth the right way, I was rushing through the process, going 100 mph, making it “seem” like I was brushing faster… but you know what? I was still brushing for two minutes. Brushing for two minutes, but not getting my teeth clean.
Finally the moral of the story – you can’t rush through time. Time is time. Two minutes is two minutes. A month is a month. A year is a year. No matter what you are going through that you wish was over, use that time to your advantage in any way you can. Don’t just rush through it and waste it away.
I’ve been on dialysis for 2 years and 1 month. The first year I was rushing through it. I was going on vacations, going out a lot, trying not to be phased by my handicap. I was wearing myself out. I finally realized that I had to slow down. I had to live by my new limitations, to relax and enjoy life as it came to me. So that’s what I did during the second year of dialysis. I still went out on occasion, but I took more extended relaxing breaks instead of all the “go go go breaks”. I’ve really enjoyed the pace of the second year over the first year.
Do you want to know the cool part? The first year lasted 365 days… and the second year lasted 365 days too. Neither went faster than the other. Remember that as you go through different segments of your life.
Well look at the clock – it’s time to go brush my teeth.