• Why I Decided To Live Slow


    Anna Pirkola

    One of the biggest human struggles since the beginning of modern times has been the attempt to achieve a balanced life. We push, pull and try to fit everything in, falsely believing that we can be everywhere and do everything all at once–spreading ourselves thin.

    If you were born in the late 80’s like me, you can attest to the revolution of technology. Life as we knew it changed before our eyes . . . suddenly everything went wireless, we no longer needed booth phones to call when away from home, video games were all the rage and all we could hear was that technology was here to make our lives easier.

    What started off as something that could ease the pace of our lives, ended up making us feel dissatisfied. It’s made us work harder, longer and feel a constant sense of unfulfillment. It’s like we cannot ever achieve our goals. Technology was supposed to connect us . . . but it’s pulled us away from real life–to the point where we now understand the difference between being “in” and “out of” real life (well, some of us still do).

    I used to think that faster was better. Only a year ago I was living my life like a race, doing everything on autopilot and living my entire life logged on, isolated from the real world–incapable of switching off even for the sake of my health or my relationships.

    The non-stop mentality is making us sick. In my book 30 Days To Minimal Blogging I explain how my response to anxiety in the past was to do more, to try harder and to never, ever stop hacking at the things that were difficult to deal with. We are tackling our challenges in the wrong way; we are doing more than ever but in that we are getting less and less life out of our days.

    Fast living at all times isn’t natural; the bigger, better, stronger philosophy is what brought us fast food–a disconnect with what we put on our plates. It’s made way for big chains, for dehumanizing services, for automating our consumption–without truly making things that once used to be an experience, what they should be.

    That’s why after spending my life trapped in the "do-not-stop" and the "boss-everything" mantras, I reached the tipping point and I needed to rewire the way I defined living.

    I’ve said this before: that often times the answer to changing a radical point of view is to start with a new radical approach and tweak that. So, my response to my fast-paced life was to make a 180 degree turn and start living slowly. Rethinking my approach to work, to myself, to my family, my relationships and my surroundings. In other words, I started being mindful.

    The Slow movement is not just about diminishing the speed at which we do things–it’s about being aware of ourselves and the things outside ourselves, about understanding when the right time is to be slow and when it’s time to be fast–and recognizing the difference at all times.

    Certainly, living on the slow side is a challenge in this modern era we live in and it has doubly so been a challenge for me and for my business. We live in times where people feel entitled to a response almost immediately as they send in an email, where everything is urgent and no one can wait. I’ve had to force myself to comply with a daily schedule, to switch off on my weekends, to connect more outside of social media and find gratification in simple things–in cooking a simple meal, in spending 15 minutes in meditation, in having a conversation with my daughter and sitting in the learner’s seat once in a while.

    By taking simple actions in our lives, we contribute to everyone’s life–we add significance to the lives of the people we love, we contribute to our communities by buying local, we say no to dehumanizing treatment by making better choices. We re-educate people to wait and at the same time we allow ourselves to be better at what we ourselves do.

    It’s imperative for our health and our happiness that we learn to slow down by doing what we can to add more life to our days and we that we collectively start redefining what’s truly good and what it means to be truly stronger.

    It is time for all of us to remember that slow can also be a good thing.

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