I found this in my drafts from 2019. I had returned home from a 45 day stay at the Center for Excellence (COE) in Marlboro, Maryland, an in-patient mental health facility for firefighters and paramedics. The center was created and is sponsored by The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). The program and therapy methods are specifically for first responders. I was beyond blessed to be able to go there as a member of my local IAFF. This post is what I feel like is the beginning of my “awakening ” journey.

A few years later I have been enlightened. That will be Part 2 at some point.

I’d love to get you perspective in the comment section!

I have some questions at the end that I came up with at the time I wrote this. Feel free to answer the questions or tell me how you feel about keeping up with the pace set by the society you live in.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and/or interact.

(Written in November 2019)

Every day will have it’s own pace. And you will either be able to keep up…..or you won’t.

What if you change your way of thinking about pace and instead of the “day” setting the pace, YOU set the pace? Your pace. Not the day’s pace. Not your family or friend’s pace. Not work’s pace. Not life’s pace.

Nowdays I’m usually unable to keep up with the pace going around me.

Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it is the changes to my body and brain from working in emergency services for so long. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’ve just lost interest in trying to keep up. The “why” is yet to be determined.

Some days I have to write down the things I did just to prove I was present for the day…prove to myself that I made some sort of effort.

Yesterday my “things” were “I put on regular clothes”, “I painted a flower”, I paid some bills online”, and “I picked up some trash”.

Somedays it’s just “I got out of bed before noon”.

When you spend time in a mental health facility, solely working on yourself with no outside distractions, you tend to hold yourself to a new standard as soon as you re-enter your regular life.

You expect to remain the mindful person you created in that controlled environment. The person who began to keep up with what I call a ‘regulated pace that you owned’.

I expected myself to keep moving forward at a steady pace like I had been doing at COE.

The COE clinician’s warned us about the hard work it would take to reintegrate into our lives and to keep doing what we had learned.

And it took a couple of weeks for me to realize just how right they were.

We aren’t automatically healed and we have to continue to use the skills we were taught.

I knew all of that leaving and returning home. I got home with a steady pace and a fresh mind.

Yet as time ticks away and I get further from mindfulness to keep a steady pace, my pace starts to get erratic. And everything becomes overwhelming.

So I ask:

What is so important that you have to keep up the rat-race pace?

While we stress to “Keep up with the Jones’s”, what do we truly gain?

As we allow life to fly by in a blur what do we miss out on?

What pace do you feel you should set for yourself and how do you remain mindful of it?


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