Saturday, 3 July 2010

Slowing down

Being jobless, I have the luxury of being able to take my time over everything. I don't have to rush to meet deadlines, or sweat to keep up with an ever-expanding workload. I can just trundle along at a natural pace that doesn't send my blood pressure rocketing.

I'm a splendid example of what's known as the Slow Movement, the worldwide campaign to stop us all hurtling around like maniacs and slow us down so we can enjoy things rather than ticking them off as Jobs Done.

Most people have accumulated so many daily chores and commitments they simply don't have the time to savour their favourite activities or just watch the world go by. They're zooming from pillar to post, frantically getting little Johnny to his music lesson, or doing Granny's shopping, or merely fixing that aching tooth.

The Slow Movement wants us to take everything at a more leisurely pace. Take more time over your meals, your conversations, your outings, your orgasms, your kids, your daydreaming. If you've too much to do, work out what's really essential or important, and dump the rest. If you're doing things out of a sense of duty or habit, then ditch them. Get your life back!

The prevailing wisdom says that by doing things faster you do them more efficiently. You're making better use of your time and being more productive. But do we really want to be "efficient" and "productive" or do we just want to enjoy life and soak it all up?

Yes, we want to speed things up if that means the endless queue at the airport check-in or a ten-mile traffic jam. But if it means bolting our meals or never having enough time for friends, what are we gaining?

Let's all just slow down and start smelling the coffee. And the roses. And the sweet fragrance of life.

19 comments:

Liz said...

This reminds me of the Cadburys Caramel advert!

Nick said...

Liz - I'd never seen them. Just looked them up on You Tube. I think those ads express the sentiments of the Slow Movement very well.

kylie said...

reading your list, i take my time over all the things on it, the ones i do, i mean ;)

Baino said...

Hmmm . . .I am an expert in slow movement on the weekends. Which reminds me, I must get a wiggle on. Still in my pj's at 10am.

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm not all the way there yet, Nick, but truly slowing down and loving it. Taking the time to watch a spider build a web, watching my carrots and new plantings grow.
Nothing like it.
We need to reconfigure life this way.

e said...

Nick,

Slowing is great unless it is forced by circumstance and one must distance themselves from goals, dreams and expectations...Starting again can be a bit painful...

Have you heard of slow food ? Same general concept.

kylie said...

whats the best thing thats happened from you slowing down

Scarlet Blue said...

My laptop is a follower of the slow movement, but it likes being here because you have a nice old fashioned template.
Sx

Nick said...

Kylie - That's good. I hereby make you an honorary member of the Slow Movement.

Baino - Still in your pjs at 10 am, whatever next? As you know, I envy the exemplary slowness of the koala lifestyle.

www - I'm sure you have a typical Slow lifestyle in your remote corner of Newfoundland. It sounds very healthy.

Nick said...

e - Yes, your circumstances have meant some enforced Slowness, which can be frustrating as well as life-enhancing. I have indeed heard of Slow Food and the idea of taking your time over every step from growing to cooking. Excellent concept.

Kylie - The best thing? Goodness, never thought about it. Maybe letting things happen to me instead of trying to make things happen. I've had some wonderful experiences when I'm just being open to all possibilities.

Scarlet - Your poor old laptop, I hope you manage to replace it soon. Yes, I like my old fashioned template, I've never been tempted to change it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, I say.

Clare said...

Here here! We are human beings, not human doers. I try to remind myself of this regularly. As I get older, I get better at making time to sit and soak it all up. I'd recommend it :)

Nick said...

Clare - Exactly. That recalls Erich Fromm's famous book To Have Or To Be. And of course the Biblical reference to gaining the whole world but losing your soul.

Rummuser said...

I can't possibly get any slower than I am! If I do, I may simply levitate away. I am in the same enviable state of unemployment and am loving every moment of it.

Nick said...

Ramana - I don't think I'm in danger of levitating away, there's always a few domestic chores beckoning!

secret agent woman said...

I do that when I can - in fact, I am taking this entire weekend to do not much of anything. But as a single Mom who also works full-time (runs a business, in fact) I don't have the luxury of always getting to live the slow life.

Grannymar said...

I was forced to slow down by health issues, but have learned to live within the limitations and enjoy the slower pace and the smell of the coffee. That reminds me.... I'll be in touch soon.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Sure, if you're a single mum running your own business, that's pretty demanding, it must be hard to slow down or take a break. But taking the weekend off should be revitalising.

Grannymar - You seem to get the maximum out of life despite the limitations. You have plenty of friends and interesting activities.

Los Angelista said...

If I had a clone it would be much easier to slow down during the week. A maid would be good, too. Between working full-time, two kids, a husband and a puppy, I'd be very happy if the founders of the Slow Movement sent me someone to wash dishes and do the laundry. That would really help me slow down! ;)

Nick said...

Liz - This is the snag in the Slow approach. If you're already heavily committed, working full-time, kids etc, slowing down is not so easy. But I guess it's still possible to dump unnecessary activities and take things at a slower pace. A maid would help though!