How Do We Smell The Roses?

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Photo by Jovana Nesic on

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Lately I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and researching how to slow down a bit in my life and truly “stop and smell the roses.”  I did a little research on the phrase because I thought to myself this phrase is genius and yet so convenient but also so appropriate to life; yet the phrase is almost unabashedly American in it’s sound and approach and to me it’s such a simple yet profound life lesson. It seems the phrase is greatly attributed to Professional Golfer Walter Hagen in his 1956 book “The Walter Hagen Story.”  Apparently in the book, which I just put on hold at the New York Public Library, he says “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”  I am a huge fan of the phrase; but a terrible follower of it’s principle.

I am looking forward to hearing more from Mr. Hagen in his book and I think his mindsight is right where I want mine to go for a little journey.  You see much like so many other people in life I have been a fool who has been running around each day doing the duties, choirs, parenting, working and relationship role that has made each day go by as fast as a shooting bullet and rarely have I slowed down for a moment to realize how good my life really is or how incredible many of the moments during this hustle really are.  Think of Mr. Hagen out on the course in a competitive game of PGA Golf where every stroke matters and huge money is on the line and in this game he stops maybe only for a couple cherished seconds and leans over and closes his eyes and smells the incredible bushel of flowers near the path on his way to the next tee off.  What an incredible moment and sense of life appreciated in an overall intense life circumstance of a heated golf match.

This is my goal in life now.  When I am walking in NYC on a perfectly sunny day and see a leaf fall off a tree and blow back and forth in the light breeze as it daintily makes its way to the ground and lands perfectly on a bench next to an old man reading a book.  To stop even if for ten seconds to notice that happening and soak it into my mental appreciation for life.  Another reason this phrase is so brilliant is that all the senses play a great role ironically in “smelling” the roses. It’s not so literal after all which is the genius of the phrase.  The feel of a hug from my son after I pick him up from school is a second or two I close my eyes and soak that moment in.  The sight of my friends smile when I make them laugh is a brief moment I try to absorb.  Yes of course the smell of so many things does work as well; like the smell of a warm cup of coffee on a crisp cool morning that I am alive and healthy walking to start my day.

I am so happy I am starting to realize that it’s time to “smell the roses.”  I think I avoided this for so long because I haven’t fulfilled all my dreams yet in my career and personal life.  So I felt like there was not justification or time to allow myself to enjoy with great sincerity what I have.  Thankfully after doing much soul searching and frankly researching other insightful peoples blogs; I have really come to the conclusion I have so much to celebrate right now!  I live in one of the coolest cities in the world, I am healthy and in good physical condition, I have an incredible child who is full of goodness and love, a great girlfriend who loves me dearly and my dreams for my career are only a couple small steps away and definitely within an arms reach.  As the wise Walter Hagen said “Don’t hurry.  Don’t worry”  I may not be across any finish line yet but I don’t need to worry or hurry right now.  It’s time to take life as it comes, keep the ball moving……but definitely time to occasionally stop…..and smell the roses!

-Stan @stanloopholes

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