I think it’s safe to assume that most people would prefer to live a slower-paced existence, but feel boxed into certain lifestyles by a modern-day affliction best described as “too many things to do, places to be and people to please.”
Way too busy myself for many years, I used to dream of pausing the world around me, working like a machine to catch up, then resuming life as usual – only with clean closets and junk drawers, the garden properly tended, a fresh coat of paint on the walls and every neglected bullet point from to-do lists of old made right, fulfilled and checked, once and for all.
With or without a magic pause button, this “hurry up and slow down” mentality simply doesn’t work. It’s an illusion perpetuated by our progress-obsessed culture that keeps us slightly on edge, discontent in the now and forever focused on tomorrow for the balance we seek.
Equally futile is the accumulation of things to help us slow down. The latest gadgets may very well make some aspects of our lives easier, but the more conveniences we chose to rely on, the faster we are able to live. Likewise, that new set of patio furniture or stainless BBQ grill – on sale or not – will not ensure you’ll be sipping sweet tea in the shade every weekend. Most of us can be assured, however, that to afford these luxuries we’ll be putting in longer hours (which, consequentially, equals fewer BBQs).
So what does it take? Is it really possible to significantly slow your life amidst all the busy? Absolutely. But like anything else, you have to want it bad enough to make sacrifices. Much like losing weight or sticking to a budget or quitting a nasty habit, in order to slow down, you have to retrain your brain. Until you are ready, you will continue to make excuses and hold tight to what is familiar. You’ll know when you’re truly ready when you’re willing to let things go.
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”
– Eddie Cantor