Are you living a good life or a fast life? Our current pace of life can sometimes feel stuck in fast forward. Even if you take the time to slow down; how we use things, how we shop, how we communicate even what and how we eat is set to the “speed” dial.
Consider what you have in your life that requires speed. The most obvious is technology; how our communication systems have gone from days, or even weeks waiting for a response, to now within seconds when we send a text/email or What’s App. When I lived in New Zealand in the late 1980s airmail to and from the UK could take a week but it was often well worth anticipating and waiting. Now our expectations are that we receive a response quickly and it can be so easy to get caught up in that urgency.
Do you get annoyed if left waiting on the phone to get put through to a person you need to talk to? Do you worry if someone has not replied to your text instantly? We speed dial friends and family and rather than talk to them just fire off a text. Our perspective on time and what is the norm has changed dramatically.
Fast food, drive through meals, readymade meals, microwave meals were all introduced to save time in busy lives. Have we lost the enjoyment of taking time to prepare, cook and eat a meal? Remember when the whole family sat down around a table for a meal, no distractions from phones, instead conversation!
Entertainment has speeded up with the ability to binge watch or get to the final episode before it is broadcast. It’s as if we have lost the ability to wait, to get on with other things in our lives whilst we look forward to the next programme. Maybe you are an Amazon Prime customer and pay to have parcels delivered the next day – how would you cope if you had to wait 3-4 days? Could you manage?
Decades ago the Slow Movement was formed in Italy, after a MacDonald was due to be opened in Rome, to defend regional food traditions. The movement has spread to incorporate culture, art, fashion and music. It is not about doing things really slowly but doing things better and at the right speed.
Apparently oak beams that were used to build an Oxford college in 14th century were ready to be replaced in the 21st century. 600 years ago a grove was set aside to grow the oaks that would be needed specifically for this purpose. Our actions today do not necessarily need to have an instant result.
A 10,000 year Clock of the Long Now is being built inside a mountain to tick only once a year, for the hand to advance every century and for the cuckoo to come out every millennium! That is really waiting!!!
Are you speeding through life, even a bit fearful that not to be busy leads to feeling guilty? We can all learn from mindfulness but we can also take the opportunity to embrace waiting, slowing down at times whether that is how you eat meals, taking time out just to sit and observe in the garden or park or waiting for the next exciting instalment of a programme. Are you able to put quality before quantity? In his song “Slow” by Leonard Cohen his sentiment is all about taking time to nurture relationships, to enjoy the now.
If you chose to live your best life rather than your fastest life what would it look like? What would be different in a slower lane? Are you able to embrace time to be rather than time to do?