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In the face of frenetic rhythms there is another, calmer and fuller way of living: forget the rush and multitasking and join the revolution of slowness. Adopting a slow life will be the best decision of your life.
Our lives have become an exercise in haste. The goal is to cram in as much stuff per hour as possible. Everyone around me is caught in the same loop.
When was the last time you saw someone just looking out of the train window? Everyone is too busy reading, engrossed in a video game, listening to music with headphones, working on the laptop, chatting on the cell phone…
How can it be that we are in a hurry all day long and barely have time for anything? The fast-paced world we live in offers us a one-way ticket to exhaustion, for the planet and for those of us who inhabit it.
There is something that differentiates humans from other animal species. And no, it is not the ability to reason. According to Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert, what separates us from the rest of the living beings on this planet is that humans spend a large part of our time thinking about past events or possible future events that may never happen. That is, our focus is not the present, but the past and an improbable future.
But is there another way to live more fully? Yes, there is, and we propose that you join its small, quiet, and calm revolution.
HUMANS ARE UNCONSCIOUS FOR A LARGE PART OF OUR LIVES.
DO YOU DOMINATE THE TIME, OR DOES IT DOMINATE YOU?
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Lean out of the window to admire the day? Roll over in bed to hug your partner? No, the first thing you and everyone else do is check the time. The clock points us in the right direction, tells us how to react. If it’s early, I close my eyes and try to go to sleep; if it’s late, you have to hurry.
From that moment on, the clock is in charge. And it continues to do so for the rest of the day, urging us from wherever we are not to fall behind. In our modern world, no matter how fast we go, the day never has enough hours. The capitalist world sped up and the hours proved insufficient for the number of things that needed to be done.
From the beginning, time measurement proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, scheduling can make anyone from the peasant to the engineer more efficient. However, as soon as we start dividing time, the tables turn and time dominates us.
Before the advent of the clock, people ate when they were hungry and slept when they were sleepy. However, from the beginning, telling time went hand in hand with telling people what to do.
A NEW AGE
There was a time, not so long ago, when mankind looked forward to a new era of leisure. Machines promised to free everyone from the monotony of work. Sure, from time to time we would have to stop by the office or factory, glance at the screens, operate controls, sign invoices, but the rest of the day would be spent having fun out and about. With so much free time at our disposal, words like hurry would eventually disappear from our vocabulary.
While the rest of the world roars on, a large and growing minority is leaning against living with the engine revved up to full throttle. In every imaginable human activity, from sex, work, and exercise to food, medicine, and urban design, these rebels are doing the unthinkable: creating space for slowness. And the good news is that slowing down has an effect.
It turns out that doing things slower often means doing them better: health, work, family, cooking, traveling… Everything gets better when you dispense with the rush. But the Slow movement is not about doing things at a snail’s pace.
The slow lifestyle could be summed up in one word: balance. Acting quickly when it makes sense to do so, and being slow when slowness is the most convenient. Being Slow means that one controls the rhythms of one’s life and decides what speed is appropriate in a given context; claiming the right to set one’s own tempos. They affirm that we can live better if we consume, manufacture, and work at a more reasonable pace.
SLOW LIFE: FULL LIFE
It is inevitable that a hurried life becomes superficial. When we rush, we skim the surface and fail to establish real contact with the world, with ourselves, or with other people… How can we adopt a calmer life?
Without realizing it, we consume leisure quickly, compulsively. The word “boredom” did not exist one hundred and fifty years ago, and boredom is a modern invention. If we eliminate all stimuli, we get nervous, panic, and look for something, anything, to fill the time. In this data-saturated age of media and social networks, we have lost the art of doing nothing, of closing the doors to background noise and distractions, of slowing down and remaining alone with our thoughts.
Millions of people go to work even when they are too tired or sick to be effective. And there are also millions who do not take all the vacations they are entitled to. This way of acting is madness. Working so hard is bad both for us and for the economy.
Overwork leaves less time and energy for exercise and makes us more prone to take food in a convenient but inadequate way. Businesses also pay a high price, it’s common sense: we are less productive when we are tired, stressed, unhappy, or sick. Often, working less means working better.
Recent generations of women have been raised in an environment that has made them believe that owning everything is a right and a duty. But “owning it all” has turned out to be a poisoned chalice. They are fed up with being “Superwoman“.
Janice Turner, the renowned columnist, observed that following the path of slowness could be bittersweet for the modern woman: “It is very cruel for a generation of women whose upbringing leads them to success and tireless activity all day long to discover that happiness is not, after all, about being the fastest and busiest. It is a tremendous irony that satisfaction often comes from slowing down: finding pleasure in the bedtime story, rather than skipping pages to make a phone call”.
For the Slow movement to take root in our lives, we need to change our way of thinking, we need to learn to quiet our mind, to free it at some point from the continuous stimuli that push it frantically forward. For this, nothing better than meditation. Even on the fastest, most confused, and stressed minds, it pours calm and tranquility.
Yoga works on our nervous system and our energy, helping us to develop a slow state of mind. It revitalizes us when we have been losing our health or our fullness due to stress, anxiety, illness, and overwork. Yoga makes us healthier and slower.
If you scroll through social media, you may have seen profiles boasting: “120 countries and counting”.
But is that what it’s all about? Do we travel to show off? Do we travel to add countries? Do we travel to make our followers envy our lives? Do we travel to be seen traveling?
That’s not traveling.
For me, travel is slow travel.
As the years go by, most of us look for moments of peace. That’s why I think slow travel will suit you very well.
Because I know that you like to enjoy the serenity of the small alleys of a big city, observe the comings and goings of its people, listen to the sounds of their language, connect deeply with that place, with their experience and enjoy the small big moments.
- Slow down.
- Park the technology as much as possible, and absorb your destination calmly.
- Without consuming experiences.
- Knowing the place with intention.
- Engaging with it.
- Engaging all your senses.
The Slow Food movement invites us to use local foods and traditional dishes, unprocessed foods, that is, to take back control of the ingredients we eat.
This means assimilating what we eat better, taking in fewer calories, and avoiding that potential excess weight that they say comes with age.
By eating Slow we eat with time, enjoying good company, the process of nutrition, recognizing the pleasure that food brings us, thanking the people who have made it possible for those foods to reach our tables.
8.- LOVE AND SEX (SLOW)
Surely most of us could spend more time making love. It seems to us that our world is saturated with sex in the media, but the truth is that we spend very little time having sex. Working fewer hours is a way to free up energy and time to devote to sex (like when we are on vacation). Slow sex, awakening little by little the senses, the hearts, the deep look of one in the other, offers us the gift of feeling complete, at peace, deeply united.
Younger generations tend to be more focused on the future because they have many years ahead of them and most are focused on thinking about what they want to achieve personally and professionally.
But believe me, as the years go by it is in our best interest to change the paradigm. That’s why we should focus more on the present, on savoring it slowly.
Enjoying the present more is a way to slow down the speed of time. And that is priceless!
For this reason, and much more, adopting a slow and minimalist lifestyle is going to be the best decision of your life.