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The Joys of the Slow Lane

Why going slow may be just the thing we all need to make our lives more meaningful and more sane. Not to mention infinitely more pleasurable.

Two people lounging in the bed of a truck gazing out at a field of sunflowers at sunset.

When I was somewhere around twelve, my family took a vacation to Yellowstone. For months beforehand I looked up all of the animals we would get to see, as my parents brought back guidebook after guidebook on all the other things to see and do. By the time we set off the whole family was excited.

So you can imagine my surprise to find us barreling through the park in our family car at 70 mph. A bear, or maybe a moose, would whiz by us in a blur, as someone in the car would exclaim: “Oh, look! A …” only to have whatever it was gone before we could finish our sentence. Finally, my mom turned to my dad who was driving.

As he looked over at her expectedly,, she asked him, “So when you and your family went through Yellowstone as a kid… Is this the way you did it?” He raised a questioning eyebrow at her, confused, and asked, “What? What do you mean?”

“You know,” my mom retorted, “racing through it at 70 mph?!” He got the message, and slowed down after that, and a good time was had by all. You see, there are some things that are best enjoyed at a slower pace. One where you can enjoy the journey you’re on.

The example above? Pretty obvious. But it’s also a cautionary tale for own lives in these break neck times, where even the news cycle seems to turn over at a breathless pace that’s impossible to keep up with. Where we now work 80 minutes longer than the year before and are 200% more productive in those hours. And it’s not just the news cycle or work. The fast pace has also invaded our personal lives, including on social media where it seems like everybody's lives are richer, faster, and fuller than our own.

There’s always been pressure to keep up the Jones’ next door, but now there’s pressure to out pace, out compete, and outdo the jones’ all across the world, and the only way to do it is speed. To pack our lives with more experiences, more vacations, and more things at a pace we’ve never seen before.

And yet, at some point you have to seriously ask yourself, is the pace of life supposed to be 80 to 90 mph? Is that even worth pursuing?

Aren’t there times, like a family vacation through yellowstone, when it’s more fun, more enjoyable to slow down and appreciate it? And not just vacation times, but also family time, like when you’re kids are still young, the world still magical to them, and you don’t want to miss it? Or time spent laughing with your best friend over a drink? In fact, come to mention it, all of our connections seem to flourish only when we slow down enough to be able forge them.

Now I’m not the first to make this discovery or point out that slowing down can benefit us, in fact there’s been a whole movement around this very idea, called the Slow Movement. Have you heard of it? Carl Honoré describes it as a cultural revolution:

“…against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.”

The slow movement has found it’s way in to many different areas. Slow Food aims to counter fast food, and encourages people to eat at a table with family and friends and even take time to cook together when possible. Slow cities, support having places for walking with less traffic and noise, and more of a sense of place and uniqueness, etc.

But where it can probably make the most impact, is when we, as individuals, start to bring the Slow Movement home and it make it personal to us. What would that look like? Well, here’s another quote by Carl Honoré:

“Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections—with people, culture, work, food, everything.”

Bringing the Slow Movement home means creating time and activities where we choose to go slow, to make them calm, careful, receptive, intuitive, unhurried, and value the quality of that time or the quantity of work we get done.

We might decide to spend a weekend night taking the time to teach our child how to bake cookies, all while connecting, having conversations, being patient enough to explain and help without needing to hurry up and get it all done.

Or it could be deciding to knit. Maybe even joining a knitting group. Starting a garden, just for the pure joy of it, could be your way of slowing down. Or slowly reading a book. Cooking a meal from scratch. Going for a saunter in the park. Sitting down to dinner together for dinner (when possible) and actually talking. The possibilities are endless.

But one thing is for certain, it takes a certain amount of effort. And yet, isn’t the bonds we forge, with our lives, our families, our friends, our homes, and all the moments in between, worth it? I think so. And I hope you do to. So this weekend, find a way to carve out some slow space, just for you and your loved ones.

Dear Reader, I hope you enjoyed this post and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, but in the mean time if you did like this article and you’d like to receive more, read more please heart or like the post and consider signing up for the blog by following the Facebook page, or signing up for the email list!

Thank you again for reading and being here! I look forward to seeing you next week!


3 comentários

31 de ago. de 2021

Feeling this one.


Maryann Haas
Maryann Haas
23 de ago. de 2021

So good! Great ideas in here!


23 de ago. de 2021

This is a good messagwe

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