Krista Paulson | Learning to Slow Down

Krista Paulson grew up in Southern California and now resides in Colorado.  Krista graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Music (violin performance/pedagogy).  She spends her time supporting her husband of 16 years through “sickness and health”, while raising three inspiring children.  Krista enjoys snow skiing, embarrassing her kids by singing too loud, traveling, and eating “great” food.  She dreams of growing old with her husband and enjoying the journey while getting there.

When I was a little girl I loved to go to the beach, play in the sand, and Boogie Board in the ocean.  I loved being in the sun and playing in the sand and waves. My favorite pictures of me as a little girl are of me at the beach: they capture the happiest moments of my childhood.  My time spent at the beach was a time for me to slow down in the busy world of growing up.

Source:  istockphoto

Four years ago my adult world stopped and sped up all at once.  I was a mother of three small children, helping them engage in ‘busy' activities, keep our family organized, while supporting my husband in his career when he was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML).  He was hospitalized  almost immediately, and we soon began preparing for his bone marrow transplant.  From the outset I was hopeful. He had to and would beat this cancer for our children.  And I wasn't ready to be a young widow. I remember wishing desperately that this would all go away quickly so things would get back to normal.

When I was going into 3rd grade, my elementary school closed, and I had to attend a new elementary school and was worried about making new friends.  I don't know exactly when it happened, but I met a girl who would become my Best Friend for life.  If I hadn't had to change schools, I would have missed out on many happy memories.  Roller skating in her backyard, birthday parties, sleepovers with special apple pancake breakfasts, and our countless inside jokes.  Going to a new school and feeling uncomfortable as a 3rd grader brought an unexpected and irreplaceable friendship that has brought much joy to my life.

Source:  istockphoto

My husband was told he was cancer-free two months after his transplant.  I joyously looked forward to life getting back to normal.  When he began to have side effects from the transplant which required many doctor visits and more drugs, I found myself increasingly impatient, still looking forward, but unwilling to live in the moment.

I was born the youngest of five children.  I have memories of family dinners during which my two oldest siblings who were married would talk about different kinds of furniture they wanted and how many kids they would have.  My day-to-day life of trying to “fit” in at junior high and my recent loss of being voted 8th grade president seemed irrelevant and unimportant compared to their grown-up conversations.  As the youngest I always felt behind.  I wanted to catch up to my siblings so we could share and have things in common. But I was never going to catch up.  I would have to experience life on my own calendar.

Source:  istockphoto

A year into my husband's illness I went to the cancer center to meet with the psychologist on staff.  I was talking very fast about all my concerns.  I was overwhelmed.  My husband wasn't getting better.  I had so much to do.  So many responsibilities between taking care of our kids and my husband.  I was at the end of my rope.  I could NOT do it all.  She looked at me and calmly said, “What if I told you to slow down?” Slow down?  How can I slow down when I have too much to do?


As I've experienced the hardest trial of my adult life, I have come face-to-face with two life lessons from my childhood.  First, the difficulty of changing elementary schools as an eight year-old brought a lifelong friendship.  My husband having cancer has been a difficult change, but it has also blessed my life. Second, as the youngest I was in a hurry to be an adult, and yet I needed to enjoy my life exactly where I was.  As my husband dealt with his bone marrow transplant I wanted the process to speed up and end.  I have NOW learned to not be afraid of dramatic changes and to not be in a hurry for the next milestone.

Every summer I still go to the beach.  I now go with my husband and children.  It is our favorite place to be together as a family.  It always brings me back to living as I did as a child — in the moment.  My lifelong friend and I still get together and continue to make memories.

Three children beach
Source:  istockphoto 

Wanting time to go faster is a thought of the past.  I love to live in the moment.  I love having my children do less in this busy world so we can have more family time.  I think of more possibilities because I have time to dream.  Maybe I will go back to school and get a nursing degree or get that Masters in Music that has alluded me.  Oddly enough, slowing down has taught me to look forward to my future.


Do you remember when you were a child?  What was it like to luxuriate in an entire day?

Have you ever tried slowing down when you are overwhelmed?  Sometimes I do — I just take 10 minutes at a time — shift from everything I have to do — to right now.  It helps me — it certainly has made all the difference for Krista.  What about for you?

I love the idea of slowing down, giving us time to dream.  Will you try to slow down? 

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