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Slowing Down for the Details, Jill Kemerer

Slowing Down for the Details

It’s no secret I like to get things done. If I have a to-do list (and I do!), I’m continuously working to check things off of it. I work hard to manage my time well Monday through Friday–and I love the loose unstructured feeling of the weekend.

But sometimes I crave less noise, and I find myself slowing down for the details.

On Monday morning more snow arrived and with it a winter storm warning of 10-16 more inches in the next twenty-four hours. Great. More snow. Here in NW Ohio, snow storms happen. No big deal.

I try to be a once-a-week grocery shopper, and I needed to stock up so I headed to the grocery store. Most of the store was well-stocked, but I noticed the entire cooler of eggs was nearly empty. In the produce section, a long shelf sat bare except for six lone bananas. The bins underneath, usually full, had nothing in them. There wasn’t a carton of strawberries (on sale this week) to be found.

The egg situation had me investigating the cooler more closely. I found a 30-pack of large eggs. I didn’t even know they sold 30-packs of eggs. My family eats a lot of them and they stay good for a long time, so I bought it.

As for the bananas, I opted for four of the lone bananas and found a package of blood oranges to buy in place of the strawberries. I knew it would be a mistake to come home without enough fruit.

I headed to the check-out lines where people were scurrying to snag a spot. Monday mornings tend to be not real busy at this store–steady, yes, busy, no. But because of the impending storm, more people were stocking up, and this led to long lines.

There were five carts ahead of me in my line, and I took out my phone–my go-to when I have an odd moment–to check emails. Nothing important. I almost opened another app, but I realized I was just doing it out of habit.

So I put my phone away.

People watching at a grocery store before a snow storm gives you a lot of details you might miss.

Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone. There’s a sense of impending doom, like If we don’t get these groceries into our trunk in 3.2 minutes, we won’t make it out alive!!

Another checkout lane opened up. There was a mad rush to it. The two side-by-side lanes began cranking customers out. I, naturally, was still behind four carts with no signs of moving anytime soon.

Part of me itched to head to a shorter line. But I didn’t need to. I wasn’t in a hurry. It didn’t stress me out to wait in line. And not having to wait in line clearly was a relief for the people who wanted out of there as soon as possible.

While I stood there, I noticed a magazine I’d never seen before. I bravely ignored a display of spring Kit-Kats . Listened with half an ear to the kind chit-chat of the grocery clerk, bagger and lady in front of me.

By the time my groceries were bagged and in my cart, I had a sense of peace. Putting my phone away and choosing to stay in the slow lane was exactly what I needed.

I wonder how many other details I miss when I reach for my phone instead of being aware of what’s going on around me or sitting with my thoughts for five minutes.

I guess I’m going to find out.

Do you reach for your phone when you sense a 5-10 minute lull in your life?

It’s okay to “do nothing” when we’re in line or have a short break. Try it!


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Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hey Jill! I love your blog! I have slowed down and no longer in a hurry since I retired. I also find a peace when stopped by a train. I breathe and say to myself “Oh good! Time for a break.” And for a few minutes I can just be me. And don’t check my phone or emails except in the morning.

    1. Thank you, Marilynn! I’m totally stealing that from you–“Oh good! Time for a break.” What a great reminder! It’s all in our attitude. I hadn’t realized how much I missed out on those moments to just “be me” the way you mentioned. I’m working on it!

  2. Jill, this has been a big part of my life the past few years. I’m trying not to cram something into every second. Or every half-second. While I enjoy goal-setting and getting things done, you know all about that, I no longer feel I have to time-manage every minute. I’ve cut way back on multitasking, especially anything with an open flame. Life is too short.

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