Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind I mean – where you schedule in a million things so you end up being late for all of them, where you are running, running, running, being productive and yet overwhelmed and you forget to eat (actually that part has never happened; I have never in my life forgotten to eat!) and you’re frantic and famished and stretched to the maximum and by the time the end of the day finally arrives you are too tired to even speak?

I had one of those days today. Then I realized something – I have one of those every day! From the moment I wake up and push my “on” button, I keep going, going, going until the battery finally dies. I seem to be on either high or off; I can find my medium mode. Even if I go on vacation, I keep running, guide book in hand. Lying on a beautiful beach? I’m afraid I’d get bored. So I keep going.

But I can’t keep up the pace I once did (yes I recently wrote about my friends turning 60 and I am not far behind) and I’m starting to wonder if I should pull back, if I’m pushing too hard, if it’s healthy to move at this pace or if I would benefit from slowing it down, from coming up for air, for a little breathing space. All this frantic rushing around can’t be good for me – physically, spiritually or emotionally.

It’s so hard to stop, to say no, to move at a more leisurely pace. It threatens my whole sense of self (who am I if I am not in constant motion?) and yet…and yet…I think that is where the next step in growth my life. I always say about my children that I can’t stop the overachievers, I can’t sell them on an A instead of an A++ and I can’t light a fire under the kids who aren’t motivated; I can’t make them care.

But does that mean I can’t change myself? Doesn’t that mean I’m stuck on one speed for the rest of my life (barring illness, God forbid)? It can’t be. A fundamental tenet of Judaism is that change is ALWAYS possible. It is never too late. If we stop changing, we stop growing. If we stop growing, we stop living.

There are different ways of growing – and they certainly don’t all involve doing more, more and then some more. Some of us grow by saying no, by slowing things down, by stopping to look around and savor the beauty in our world and the gifts in our lives.

I can’t change my children, I can’t slow them down or speed them up because they are unique individuals with their own ability to exercise their free will and make choices. I can’t change them but I can change myself. I just have to decide I really want it. I have to decide that life on the merry-go-round is wearing me out and that in the end is counterproductive. It’s a tough choice. It’s a fine line. It’s a matter of subtleties and nuances, of introspection and self-awareness.

But if you’ve ever had one of those days – or, if like me, all days are “one of those days” – there’s no other option. I have to make a change. I have to catch my breath. I’ll begin tomorrow; I have too much to take care of today!