A woman moving from the front door to a car with a giant on/off switch on her back.

Take Your Time

Take your time. That is one of the most irritating yet nice things people often say to me.  Here are just a few examples of when I am most likely to hear this phrase.

The MS clinic

I’m sitting in the waiting room at the MS clinic and my name is called. I look at the medical assistant to indicate I heard the all-call for me and begin the effort to get up out of their unbelievably low-slung chairs. It’s at that moment when I usually hear "take your time."

Lyft or taxi

I’m trying to fold my long uncooperative spastic legs into the small, cramped back seat of the Lyft or taxi, and the driver will comment "take your time."

A stranger holding the door

I’m walking toward an entrance and a stranger kindly is holding the door. I tell the person to go on ahead because I don’t need the door held open, but usually, I hear as a reply "take your time."

Everyone seems to do it

Whether it’s a stranger or a family member, I understand their intentions are good. They want to be helpful and let me know they will wait for me, but it still grates at me.

My response to "take your time" remains the same. I will look at the person and say "I have one speed. On and off." How fast I go or how much time it takes is almost always beyond my control. If I’m feeling particularly feisty about it, I will toss in that this is as fast as I go and there’s nothing to be done that would speed me up.

I’ve grown somewhat comfortable with knowing this about my speed, and when strangers implore me to "take your time" I have to wonder if it is because of their own discomfort or if it does just come from their desire to be kind.


Most likely they are being kind and I am just overly aware of my own limitations. There are other reminders of my limits but "take your time" is the one I encounter most often.

I wish I could just take my time. I want to be able to speed up and slow down at will, rather than wait to see how my body is going to move. Unfortunately, my MS controls that master switch and the best I can do when moving is be in either the on or off mode.

Wishing you well,


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