5 Reasons We Should Slow Down in Life
I work at a grocery store three times a week. Working at a grocery store is magical not only because there is a cathartic therapy involved in putting things back on shelves and stocking bags, but also because you are able to see people performing tasks that they have to do. Some people are dressed up and others are wearing pajamas. Some people are under the weather and others are wearing gym shorts. The life of a grocery store clerk allows you to take in all the ways in which we as humans live our lives. Everyone needs groceries, so the store spares no one.
But there’s one thing that knocks all of this magic and harmony off-balance while making everyone a little crankier and a little more defensive: Being in a hurry.
We live in a culture that wants everything RIGHT NOW! And some of the luxuries associated with such instant gratification are really wonderful (see Netflix, everything involving computers, and produce available during off seasons). But I worry about all the things that are lost when we are in a rush. We miss the little sunbursts life presents to us because we are just too busy to notice.
I am a profoundly slow-moving person. My family and friends joke about me perpetually being on “grandma time,” which is less a dig on grandmas, and more an observation. I am by the world around me, so much so that what would take someone five minutes to do, often takes me 10.
Here are a few things I’ve gained (and you will too!) from some much-needed “grandma time”:
1. You’ll get to know people better
Because I’m so drawn to the tiniest of details, I don’t find it difficult to notice people: People I don’t know, but whom I’d like to. People who wear smiles that look like question marks. People who look full of energy and have kaleidoscopes in their eyes. I like to take time talking to people because I want to know them. I like that I know about my customer’s weird date last Thursday, or that I know my other customer’s daughter just got glasses and feels weird about wearing them. And I like knowing these things because they are constant reminders of how impossibly delicate and fiercely determined we are as humans to not get swallowed up by a world moving so quickly that it barely notices us at all.
2. You’ll have better intuition
If my mind is racing and I am agitated that things aren’t moving quickly enough, I lose one of my most important virtues: intuition. Intuition allows me to give my Mom a hug when I notice she’s a little blue. It helps me be more aware of my surroundings and in touch with what is presently happening in front of me. When we move faster than we are comfortable on a regular basis, we get jerkier and more defensive. We don’t have to put ourselves through that just to finish something a few minutes faster. Take time to be sweet and empathetic to yourself and the other humans around you.
3. You’ll learn the difference between rushing and being busy
I think we rush because we feel busy, we feel overwhelmed with everything we have to do and we are itching to be “done” for the day. But what happens to your heart if you’re always spinning around trying to get to the next thing? Does your brain get cloudy and your heart a little more tense because it too is overwhelmed and can’t stretch out a little?
4. You’ll set a good example for others to do the same
I’ve noticed my pace influences the people around me to slow down a little, too. By moving just the tiniest bit slower, it gives those around you a chance to gather their thoughts. Maybe they won’t or feel like they can’t afford to slow down, but for those few seconds they might take a deeper breath than they normally would.
5. It’ll give you time to yourself
We don’t get a lot of time to ourselves these days. We are constantly status-updating, picture-uploading, pin-number-remembering and line-waiting. Give yourself a few moments each day to be still and think about whatever you want. Try to avoid thinking about tasks or lists of things you need to do, but instead think about things that make your heart glow like a hot air balloon.
So maybe you will slow down a little bit, or maybe you won’t, but if you take a few extra seconds today to just enjoy what you’re doing, I think your heart will feel a lot more like a daffodil than a scrunched up Kleenex.
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