The Art of Slowing Down

From twicepix, Flickr Creative Commons

I really wish the media would just get out of my head already… Every time I turn around someone is writing an article about or doing a show on something I’ve been thinking about. Most recently, I saw an article from the New York Times pop up in my newsfeed, talking about “The ‘Busy’ Trap.” The basic premise is that you’re probably only busy because you’ve made it that way:

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.

I think about this a lot while I’m lying, motionless, on my couch, or reading a book on the lounge chair in my backyard, or taking an unnecessarily long walk with the dog. Actually, I started thinking about it after my best-friend returned from a  trip to Italy saying she wanted to move there because it was so relaxing and work wasn’t such an all-consuming part of life. Then I started thinking about it again when another friend said he wanted to move to Austin (or really any city outside of the northeast) to find a slower pace of life.

Now, this second friend and I have a tendency to wander in the woods together where we talk about…every… last… thing. I told him that I think moving somewhere with the idea that your life will become less hectic is a cop out. Your life is what you make it, no matter where you live. Surely the pace might be more laconic in Savannah, GA  than it is in Boston, MA. But if you’re the kind of person who packs your days with activity, or who works 60 hour workweeks to buy big houses or fast cars, that’s not going to change, no matter where you live.

It’s not the place that changes you, it’s the conscious decision you make to change your life–and you can do that right where you are.

Quite often when I find myself thinking about how busy I am and why I just can’t do whatever someone is asking me to do, the truth is simply that I’m avoiding getting too busy. I find myself pulling back, and reserving time to do nothing… No moving truck required.

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3 thoughts on “The Art of Slowing Down

  1. Jason Matthews says:

    Theresa, have you been in my head recently? I was just thinking the same thing, reminding myself that life is about enjoying the everyday moments along the way and not rush rush rushing to a final (perceived) destination.

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