I Was Too Busy To Notice My Dad’s Hair Turned Gray.

It was only a few years ago when I lived in the hustle and bustle of New York City, falling in love with all it had to offer.

Never once did I question New York; I actually fell in love with it pretty quickly. I loved the pace, the way the people made me feel, the food, the lifestyle, all of it. I felt empowered and motivated when I was there, watching people run from one job to the next, back from their ten minute lunch to their next meeting, into the grocery store at 3AM for eggs in two hours. It made me feel alive.

Miss you love you. Be careful today. It all goes quick, have fun. And have a beer for me, will ya!

A text from my dad, almost every single day. Just a reminder to take in the life I was given, to stop worrying about the future, to be a kid.

I kept my slow pace, always giving up cabs to walk and saying sorry to people who body slammed me on their rushed walk to the next best thing. The city that never sleeps really opened my eyes, turning me from a fast paced millennial to a 24-year-old looking for less.

I found patches of grass behind random apartments where I could lay out and call my mom and dad without horns being honked and sirens going viral. I bought small amounts of grocerys and walked back home with two or three bags max, taking in the rushing souls around me. I walked the East River early mornings to see the sunrise. I read books from the library — flipping through the old pages with faded words. I spent the grocery money my dad gave me on beers at Yankee Stadium since he said to have a beer for him and I needed to be a kid. I sat at those games, learning how to take in the simplicity of slower things — and yes, it was hard. Baseball games are tough when your mind runs a million miles a minute and you’re just a girl trying to figure out life. But, hey, it got the job done. It became a place for me to teach myself how to stop rushing through life. Instead, I learned to take it like the game, to slow down the pace, to live in the moment. Fouls come, strikes happen, home-runs are rare but damn they are good and it’s much easier to live in the moment, to stop looking for the game to be over, if you can just accept the simplicity of slowing down.

Millennials have this weird thing about them, they’re always looking for something better. Take it from me, a millennial who used to rush to anything but the present, forgetting the moment I was just in, not sleeping because my mind was focused on the future, not tasting the food because I was basically swallowing it whole to finish faster, not noticing that my dad’s hair was turning gray and that life was moving in fast forward.

Staring at my dad’s head of dark brown hair with gray splatterd onto it last weekend, wondering when all of those light colors appeared, questioning how I missed them arise, shocked at how taken back I was… I put my phone away. I thought about the simple baseball games I watched a few years ago, sipping the warm beer with five dollars left in my bank account and not worrying about my future, not worrying about the fact that I couldn’t go grocery shopping for organic kale tomorrow, but instead going home and eating stale crackers with peanut butter. Laughing. Living. I thought about the times I called him at 2am asking for a ride. The times I crashed his stone wall over with my car. The times he was there and the times he forgave. The times he hugged me telling me it’s okay, life is too short to cry over spilled milk and dented cars. The times he brought my high-anxiety filled moments back down with a simple hug. I forgot to remember what it was like to slow down. I got caught up in the writing, the money, the future goals, the social media. I forgot to look up from my life I was creating for myself and watch my dad change stages of life. I forgot to watch myself change stages of life.

I stared at him simply because I felt like I couldn’t look away. I felt my eyes glued to him. My mind raced back to when he would text me saying “Miss you love you. Be careful today. It all goes quick, have fun. And have a beer for me, will ya!.” I forgot to listen to his words, I forgot to take in what he was trying to tell me.

At the age of 24, with a family I am so blessed to have, I have decided to accept a slower life. Looking for the future and the next best thing, all of that is fun and games… until you miss what was right in front of you. I have, on my own, decided to want less instead of wanting more. The bags, the clothes, the perfect shot for Instagram pictures — they are all great until you realize that you didn’t notice your dad’s hair changing colors.

You can, on your own, accept wanting less. You can, on your own, work at a slower lifestyle to take in what was put in front of you. It may be hard at times, it may be confusing at other times and you may even feel lost here and there. You may want to scroll through Instagram instead of staring at your dads head, I get it, but maybe — just maybe — if you look up for a quick second, you’ll see something that inspires you to put the phone away because there is no need to capture the moment anywhere but your mind. And, if you’re lucky, it will inspire you to do this often. To see your family, to look at your loved ones, to talk instead of text, to hug instead of FaceTime.

Life’s too short to miss colors changing and suns rising.