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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.

Limits

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,

Laura

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Toddlius
    4 months ago

    When I hear them say it, I always think, “Do I look like I’m hurrying? I don’t feel like I’m moving very quickly.” It kind of annoys me too.

  • Yoshitail9
    4 months ago

    Laura

    I guess I would just say “If I take my time the office will be paying you overtime “

  • CC714
    4 months ago

    I always say “I have no choice. I cannot hurry. I’ll get there when I get there.”

  • wolfmom21fl
    4 months ago

    :'(

  • StephanieEVC
    4 months ago

    And the constant comparison to any moving person regardless of the age is another one for me. I always came up short though even as a child in gym class and the playground, I never understood why I couldn’t move my legs when I wanted to or jump as high or far as I wanted to. So in my life I kinda slap myself cause how can I miss something I never really had.

  • ClaudiaS
    4 months ago

    Last week I was very, very HAPPY busy but paying for it this week. I was told don’t overdo by a non MS’er. My rebound catches up with me BUT I NEED to do while I can. It is frustrating and now since I am getting older they say “you know you are older”, yes I am but I WANT to do. So hard for them to understand why it is important to do all on that day I can. I do believe people are being nice but my mind does not want to accept. Let Go and Let God.

  • JimmyMac
    4 months ago

    I think your negative feelings are caused by you missing the old you. The you that would be right behind the nurse or threw the door being held open. I know it’s taken me awhile to get use to this. When I get uncomfortable I turn to humor. I’m worried that the person doing their job or doing me a favor will be somehow inconveinced so I say something like, “I swear I’m worth the wait”, with a wry grin and hope the person laughs. I guess I’m comforted by saying I’m slow and appreciate the other person waiting. I know this really puts pressure on me to be worth the wait but the appointment always happens or the door always remains open.

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi @jimmymacy, I think you offer great insight into the heart of this sensitivity, and I love your technique! Laughter does a great job of immediately easing any tensions and infusing the moment with warmth and connection. And I believe you’re always the worth the wait! Thanks so much for sharing. – Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • ClaudiaS
    4 months ago

    You have this! Humor is a great balance. Someone told me “let them help” “that is a blessing for them, don’t take it away”. I want to do and when can’t don’t feel I have run out of “I need help”.

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi @claudiss – ohh that is so sweet and such a great perspective! Thank you for sharing 🙂 – Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • ColletteLeonor
    4 months ago

    I assume people are being kind. But, I agree that my one one speed is slow…..if I try to hurry it is absolutely a risky situation in terms of falling.

  • ColletteLeonor
    4 months ago

    Actually, I often preempt their kind comment by saying “I am just a bit slow….thanks for waiting”.

  • SueK
    4 months ago

    So sorry these words upset you so. I personally wish I heard them more often. Nothing is worse than being called to see your doctor by a nurse that abruptly turns and walks ahead, expecting me to be right there behind her. Sometimes I am move so slowly due to pain, that I completely lose track of her, just to be met with a cold stare, foot impatiently tapping while waiting for me. And whether getting into taxi’s or what ever, is “take your time” nearly as bad as”come on lady! I don’t have all day!” And I love having a door held for me by a kind and patient individual. But that’s just me. You’d probably hate me if we were to meet, because I would be offering the same kindness as others have offered me.

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi @SueK, thanks so much for sharing your perspective and shedding light on the opposite experiences you’ve endured. It is a shame that kindness and patience can be so difficult to find in the world sometimes, and I appreciate you reminding us to appreciate it when it comes. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share. – Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • THobbs
    4 months ago

    Laura, I’m sorry to hear that hear those words are so irritating , but I’m so glad you posted how you feel! That’s what this forum is for….so we can vent and then others have the chance to encourage. So as a fellow MSer, I want to encourage you to think…to have another perspective. If I said those words to someone it would mean that I care, that I see them. Would you prefer they shrug their shoulders impatiently while they wait on you? Our society can be so cold and uncaring which is why I think it’s important to show love and care to others as we go throughout the day. We are human beings and we all need the care and concern of others. Maybe this is more about you and the anger you feel at being so slow. I’m not saying this to be cruel, but because I care about you. The attitude we have, whether we have MS or not, is so important. Try thinking about the other person who irritates you. They have struggles too, but they are choosing to care about you in that moment. You have the opportunity you have care and concern for others which is a huge blessing

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi @thobbs, thank you so much for taking the time the share your perspective! One of the things that makes this community so special is that it’s a safe space to share our views, even if they differ, as long as it’s done with respect. We so appreciate you upholding this principle and sharing your kind thoughts. I love your advice – try thinking about how the person who is irritating you is choosing to care about you in that moment. I’m definitely going to keep that in mind in my daily life! Best, Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • chong61
    4 months ago

    I kind of like the “take your time”, but this is what puts me into a mental vortex and it is “but, you look so good.” All the while I am in pain just moving step by step and trying not to fall or cry. Sometimes I do both. Nobody tells me “take your time” when I am crying and just trying to cope.

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