I recently saw this hashtag on Instagram and a photo that embodied it. Since then, I’ve been on a big kick to figure out what it means. Here’s a succinct, beautiful description:
“Most of us today are consumed with speed. We work quickly, play quickly, love quickly – all while multi-tasking. We drive in the fast lane and eat fast food. We text instead of talk, pursue quantity instead of quality, and swallow life whole instead of taking the time to savor it.
All this speed takes a toll. Our relationships suffer. Our productivity suffers. Our finances suffer. And our health, both mental and physical, suffers.
The antidote is to slow down. Yet with so much speed embedded in our DNA, slowing down can be a real challenge.
The very word has negative connotations. When we think of slow we typically think that someone is dumb, or that we are falling behind.
But in the context of how we live our lives, slow can save us.
Carl Honoré, whom the Huffington Post calls the godfather of the Slow movement, says, “the central tenet of the slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more.”
So slow isn’t dumb, it’s purposeful. And slow won’t cause you to fall behind, it will allow you to catch up – with your friends, your family, your digestive system.
A slow life restores balance. Some things we do want to do quickly, but not everything. Ride your bike. Take a walk. Hell, stay home.
In a slow life you will pursue mastery in your work. Gaining comprehensive knowledge and expert skill will become more meaningful than mindlessly climbing a ladder.
Likewise, your work will not define who you are. Granted it’s a significant part, but only a part. Your character is more important.
In a slow life you will gather with your friends and family and laugh, cry, hug, cheer, and simply be there for one another. You will listen as earnestly as you speak. Your relationships will come to mean more to you than your job.
In a slow life you will focus on food. You will value its cultivation and preparation as much as you relish the meal. When you think of food you will automatically think of friendship, rather than associate it with something fast.
In a slow life you will choose a home and a community that nurtures you and your lifestyle. Quality and comfort will become the touchstone of your physical surroundings.
In a slow life time will become circular, rather than linear. As opposed to a simple unit of measurement, the concept of time will expand for you as anxiety turns to joy.
A slow life is a simple – though it need not be a spartan – life. The quality of the “things” in your life will come to mean so much more than the quantity. Clutter means chaos.
A slow life is more healthy, more jubilant, and more compassionate. It is less stressful, less taxing, and less harmful.
A slow life is a better life.”
The central tenet of the slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more.