Don't rush me
I've been working on an email for two weeks on trust and discernment - especially when it comes to big business, government and religious leaders. It's a big topic and, there are no easy answers. I've gotten to the point where I end up vacuuming every time I open up Scrivener to start writing. I decided there is only so much cleaning I can do, so I'm moving on until I have more clarity about what I want to say.
This week I've been thinking about slowing down. I was driving home the other day, and I got to the intersection coming off the highway, and I knew the light was about to change, so I sped up and raced through it. It was red when I was about halfway through the intersection. It was the second time that day that I found myself accelerating to make it through a light. I started thinking about why I was feeling such urgency in my life. The truth is, sometimes I feel like I am in a race with every other driver on the road. Have you felt that way?
Does getting home a couple of minutes quicker make that much of a difference?
Driving isn't the only thing I do in a hurry. I can rush through meals, hurry through walks, skip paragraphs in books, fast forward through programs and listen to podcasts at a faster speed. WHY? Why am I in such a hurry all the time?
I just purchased a new laptop. It is much faster than the old machine I have been using. And I wonder - is it making that much difference? Am I getting more work done as a result?
I've also been thinking about how valued speed is in our world. We get impatient with people taking too much time to pack their groceries or get money out of the bank machine. We equate speed with efficiency. I read a funny post the other day, "One time the light turned green, and the car in front of me didn't immediately go, but instead of honking, I waited 1 second, and they went."
I know how impatient I can get when people take their time. I think that it is one of my biggest fears about ageing. I see slow as a negative thing, and I want to reframe it. I wonder if the wisdom that comes with ageing is relaxing into life fully aware that doing more faster doesn't necessarily make our lives fuller in the ways that matter. Speed isn't the only measurement of a task well done.
There's evidence that other people are on to this idea of slowing down. We have slow food, slow fashion and slow travel movements. There is a recognition that fast isn't always better. Fast can be wasteful, inefficient, and anxiety-producing. Slowing down can help us become more present, more relaxed and more mindful. And it can save lives. So many accidents happen when we are rushing. We cut our fingers, trying to emulate the fast chopping skills of our favourite chef. Car accidents are often speed-related. When we are in a hurry, we aren't paying attention.
Slow is my word right now. I may be sitting with it for a little while. I'm not in a rush to learn the lessons of this word. I plan to resist the pressure to move quickly through my life because I want to be seen as efficient and nimble. If it means adjusting my schedule, missing a newsletter the occasional week or taking 90 seconds longer to get home from the grocery store, it's OK.