I didn’t really beat myself up over it because our city was in the midst of a mini heatwave and it was bloody hot. Doesn’t everyone seem to slow down a little when the heat becomes oppressive?
But as I was dripping and walking and thinking, which I love to do when I walk, I began to contemplate the need we have to do things fast.
We, as a society are obsessed with speed.
Think about it.
We work crazy hard to buy really expensive high performance cars to get where we are going in the blink of an eye (even though we can’t because of speed restrictions and the constant volume of traffic and road construction). Nothing like driving a Lamborghini and barreling along at 30km an hour in go-home traffic!!
We embrace technology to allow us to communicate with each other faster than ever before and we get upset when our “in-boxes” are filled with hundreds and hundreds of emails we cannot realistically respond to.
We are shopping online with greater frequency to buy things faster and with fewer hassles (supposedly) instead of the “old school” way of going into a store, taking the time to browse the products offered and maybe interact with someone;
We take up new activities (such as yoga for me) and expect to master them after the first class instead of embracing the learning process (“it’s the journey not the destination”) which can sometimes take a lifetime to perfect.
We buy crappy man-made foods or pay a premium for ready-to-eat meals so that we can get through the task of meal preparation faster, even though we should really use meals (ideally, homemade) as a chance to slow down, pause, spend time with family and catch up.
We are pushed by employers to get more done in a day than is sometimes reasonable. As a result, we stress-out to get the work done, often completing it in a half-ass way because of the need to meet unrealistic deadlines imposed by our bosses.
Athletes train and train and push themselves as far as they can (sometimes doing whatever it takes to be faster) just to have a nano-second advantage over their competitor because thats all it takes to win.
So far, I haven’t been able to see what the benefit is of doing things faster? OK, well maybe the competitive athlete needs speed because this is how success is measured in certain athletic sports (so long as its done legally and safely).
But beyond that, what the hell is the rush?
Many think that the faster we do things; the more we can squeeze into one day, thereby creating more pockets of time allowing us to slow down.
As we enter the summer cottage season many of us rush through the work week to scramble home, throw a bunch of stuff into the car to get ahead of rush hour which seems to extend beyond a single hour, to hurry up to cottage country to get as much cottage time in as possible (which means doing a ton of things cottage-based like boating, fishing, water skiing, swimming) only to hurry to reload the car and get ahead of rush hour as people return “en masse” to the city for the start of the new work week. Not sure if its worth all the effort.
By trying to do everything hyper-fast in an effort to free up some time to slow down, do we really slow down?
Not in this continent!
We don’t know what it is to slow down and smell the coffee (or roses, depending on your preference).
We North Americans are wound up tighter than a drum. We don’t know what it is to just “be”. I think its part of our DNA. I know this because I continue to read about many other cultures that live at a much slower pace, taking in the niceities of life; being outdoors, socializing, exercising, improving their overall wellness. Living life. Can you imagine if Toronto had a daily siesta?
The speed with which we live life is just too fast and has gotten out of control.
How can you truly savor and enjoy anything completely when you are too busy doing things faster?
A good glass of wine can only be completely enjoyed if you sip it slowly. A good meal can only be appreciated if you take the time to let your taste buds enjoy the flavor explosion of the food instead of scarfing it back.
Taking a walk that morning in the sweltering heat made me realize that we need to re-examine how we live our lives and start over by simply slowing down.
Many of us are sick because of speed. Stress, combined with a “fast-food” lifestyle are either killing us or giving us chronic conditions taking away from the quality of our lives.
What will it take for you to put the brakes on?
Obey the speed limit.