Tragedies remind us to slow down, take in

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Monday morning I received news that my good friend and Fredericksburg High School classmate of 2010, Aaron Chavarria, passed away in a car accident.

He was the nicest, kindest person I have ever met. He gave the biggest bear hug imagined and I’ll never forget his happy attitude.

You remember him as the smiling, loud, big guy you saw first thing when entering Gatti’s Pizza, where he worked as manager for some time. A hard worker, he also held jobs at other eating establishments around town.

As I wrote this Monday, I quietly trembled against the clicks of my keyboard and prayed it wasn’t real.

But life doesn’t allow that, it forces things upon us daily, and we must all continue to move on. I recently had a close call myself.

Last week, I totaled my car after falling asleep at the wheel. Although I am physically fine, I am still shaken.

My car wreck was a friendly reminder to slow down. And I hope this message of “SLOW DOWN” gets across to the readers of this beautiful community.

Last December, four were killed on U.S. Highway 290 East, and the Texas Department of Transportation made the educated and swift decision to lower the speed limit, giving us all the reminder to slow down!

But we mustn’t simply slow down in our cars. WE must take time to slow down in everything we do.

For a small town, Fredericksburg can seem awfully fast-paced, especially during this time of the year. Spring has sprung, flowers are blooming and we are all moving, quickly to the next place, to the next photo, next meal, next interaction and next experience.

And technology has forced us on a quick path to everything.

We weren’t always this distracted. Attention used to last much longer.

I recently saw an article by Time Magazine that said humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, which loses interest after nine seconds.

The worst thing was, I skimmed the article and had to reread it to truly get the meaning.

And it was only seven short paragraphs.

Millennials were brought up in this fast-paced world and it can be tough to slow down. The housing market is very pricey in this area, so we must work extra hard around the clock to try and earn our living. 

And it’s not just millennials who are running around, feeling the pressure of time. I see it everywhere: at restaurants, at museums and even in church.

I see people getting annoyed after having to wait an extra five minutes. People get so angry and flustered when the stop light doesn’t change and they have to wait an extra turn.

We’re rushed, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Chew your food.

Take a few extra photos.

Breathe.

Act like a tourist for once and slow down on the streets.

Read the historical markers.

Speak to the people.

Feel Fredericksburg.

Listen to the slow flow of a tiny Texas creek.

Smell those flowers you walk past every day.

Get to know your neighbors.

The world is a fast place nowadays, but it hasn’t been that way forever. Not terribly long ago, it was a simpler life.

When the Germans founded Fredericksburg in 1846, the town and everyday interaction was significantly more of a gelassen Lebensstil (calm lifestyle) and we must all remember that.

Take time to enjoy this beautiful Texas oasis we live in and talk to each other for just a little bit longer.

You never know when goodbye will be just that.

 

scott@fredericksburgstandard.com