“I think I’m moving too fast through life. I’m busy … like really busy,” a dear friend of mine from back home, Lydia, shared on her Instagram. “But I want to live slow. I want to taste every moment.”
While mindlessly scrolling through my feed during class on a Wednesday morning, I paused after reading this. “I want to live life slow.”
The phrase seemed out of reach, as my full schedule and always-busy lifestyle laughed at the concept of a “slow” life. However, her post really struck a chord with me. I know Lydia; she is a friend who has lived so authentically and so fully, with an amazing ability to appreciate the beautiful things in life despite any circumstance.
This semester, I have been rushing through life, constantly worried about preparing myself for the future: worried about not having an internship this summer, worried about what classes to take next semester, worried about whether or not I was doing the right thing now so I would be in the “right place” later.
Not 20 minutes later, I noticed that I left class already slightly anxious that I hadn’t driven to Brock from the dorm, meaning that I would lose about 12 minutes of time in walking back to my room. I instantly felt like I was falling slightly behind, despite having woken up at 5:45 a.m. to get ahead of my day. While walking back to my room, I beat myself up more for not being able to enjoy the lovely weather in the moment, as my mind egged me on to walk faster and think about everything that I had to do that day.
“I want to live slow. I want to taste every moment,” Lydia’s words rung in my head. “You need to slow down, Elise,” I said to myself. I realized that by constantly rushing to the next deadline and always brainstorming ideas of how to get ahead, I was never actually enjoying myself. For the entire semester I had been asking, “What’s the point of all this stress?” Even when I made the time to swim in the mornings or style clothes in a photoshoot, which are some of my favorite things, I could never escape that feeling of needing to rush through it rather than enjoy it as it happened.
For the five days following the initial reading of Lydia’s words, I felt the tangible change in my perspective and feelings throughout the day. Instead of waking up and feeling like I was already behind, I woke up and went through the motions of my morning routine, reminding myself to just exist without constantly checking what time it was.
Although I was a few minutes behind, my morning was actually incredibly relaxing, and I wasn’t really bothered by the three minutes “lost.” When I felt myself drifting off in class and awaiting for the 50 minutes to be over, I recognized that I was once again rushing time and that it would be best to just relax and pay attention to what the teacher was actually saying.
Suddenly, my days felt longer in the best way possible. By fighting that constant desire to rush, get ahead and cram as much into my day as possible, my days ended up more productive in every aspect. My work became more honest and thoughtful, as I gave actual attention to assignments rather than rushing to just get it done. I noticed more color and felt more happiness while driving with the windows down to the coffee shop I was going to study at rather than moving on autopilot to get there as fast as possible. By taking my time in all that I do, I spent way less time worrying about what I had to do and way more time actually enjoying the process of doing it.
Living life slow doesn’t mean working less hard or even being any less busy. Living life slow is simply a means of giving yourself the reason to work in the first place.
Instead of beating ourselves up for not being able to “live in the moment” or “relax a little,” we can instead show grace to ourselves by recognizing our anxious, rushing attitudes and reminding ourselves to live life slow.