In the past couple years I have had the privilege (and the sense) to ease off of the accelerator in my work and free time. A while back I stopped working in the office to pursue work at home as a “housewife” (I still haven’t found a title I like…). Since then I have been on a continuous journey toward downsizing my commitments whilst attempting to maintain a realistic amount of purpose and activity for the individual that I am.
In short, I am working on my momentum.
Going Fast Feels Easy
The first thing I learned after slowing down is that going fast keeps the momentum coming. I reckon my life in the faster pace can be likened to a bicyclist traveling down-hill. The cyclist doesn’t need to peddle too much to keep the wheels going to move him from point A to point B. Moving from work to home to an evening commitment to class to sleep rolls around like the quickly revolving wheels of that bicycle.
My life in slow-motion, however, looks a lot like that cyclist traveling up the hill, one strenuous revolution at a time, with point A over his shoulder in the distance, and point B somewhere above the ridge. Momentum is a conscious bodily effort the entire distance, and the purpose of the journey may become blurred as the starting and destination points lurk in either distance.
Keeping Up The Resistance
My life and work now look a lot different than they used to. Long stretches of nothing dotted with small, yet significant, somethings. In the midst of this new, quieter way I find myself wrestling with the resistance. Too much activity, not enough sleep one day. Or, too much sleep, not enough connection with my community another day. Each day, each decision is an intentional push through to the next “where I am supposed to be.”
Slow and Strong
While I found going fast to be much easier – was the quality of the momentum as good as the slow? That is a philosophical question that I cannot answer yet. However, I do notice that while I may be slow, I am building strength in areas I was previously very weak. Saying no has become a hobby, for example. Working through my identity and feelings of guilt over not being who I was expected to be have challenged my self-awareness.
It took me a long time to get where I am at now – plus a sickness coupled with a doctor’s recommendation to seal the deal. If I could recommend anything with the knowledge I have gained through my small journey – it would be: Try slowing down just for fun, before the fatigue and doctors get a say. Who knows, it might be liberating! And I think you might find it’ll make you stronger, too.
If you’re like me and have learned over a period of time and through trial and error that living fast has it’s bumps in the road, then try not to beat yourself up about it. Breathe and start fresh. You always have time for another try at slowing down. The choice is yours. If I can, then you can, too.