I left the house this morning geared up for at least a four-mile run. I headed out to one of the parks in my neighborhood. The sites were particularly active and sensory this morning with kids playing soccer, families barbecuing, and photographers canonizing their subjects. Along the way I felt like what I really needed was to slow down and enjoy the scene around me. This shift in focus meant I would have to change my course of action from running to walking and even sitting on a park bench to people watch.

There are times in life when we have to be willing to surrender our plans and shift to what we need in the moment. It’s easy to live life by routine or on autopilot. We take this same tact with our graduate studies and related career choices even when we feel undecided or unsettled about our current career paths. “But this is the career I said I wanted 5 years ago when I began my PhD program so of course I must continue on this path.” Or “if I slow down I won’t fulfill my goal of getting to comprehensive exams or dissertation writing in the time I’d set.”

So this morning as I decided to walk and sit (and jot this post) rather than run, I ask you to think about areas in your life where you are running and on autopilot. A shift in routine and a pause in the hustle bustle of life’s activities can help to refocus and refresh you. Embrace the pause from the routine when you sense the need to attend to your soul. Tomorrow is coming and I’ll have another chance to get in my four miles.

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