I have been ruminating over writing this for a couple of weeks – just one more reason to write it! I have had a slow Christmas day: got up and started some breakfast – a traditional Christmas bubble loaf of doughy, cinnamon cream cheese goodness that my family makes every year, then good coffee. We opened presents. There was a dusting of snow outside, and a few people walking across the golf course. Their dog came right up to the window, wagging his tail. I read the first ten pages of all my new books. Then I went back to bed. It was a perfect day.
I am not advocating for total laziness on a day-to-day basis, but I just read yet another article on “how to be more productive,” and it was really quite depressing. You know, those articles written by “successful,” modern, hip people, to try to help you become the next social media superstar or TEDTalker. It wasn’t even “how to make the hours that you work more productive,” it was basically, how you can steal little bits of your personal life, and put them in the work folder where they belong.
This included tidbits like: don’t waste time actually reading newspapers, scan Twitter headlines and save yourself hours! Instead of settling in with wine and a good book – listen to an audiobook on your commute or morning exercise. And certainly don’t ever watch Netflix, whatever you do. I can safely assume that sitting by my fire pit, or watching the birds at my backyard feeder are also no-nos.
Other articles are all about how to make ten-minute meals to save time, or even better: skip food all-together and drink nutrition shakes instead.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like some sort of post-apocalyptic robot hell to me.
I say: slow down! Take the time to know about things in the world. Take in the beautiful sentences and words and ideas that people spent time carefully choosing and crafting. Actually experience your daily run – get some fresh air, watch people, see the seasons change. Immerse yourself in the aromas and flavors of making a good meal — with real food. Hell, even grow your own food if that makes you happy. It will probably make you feel more productive, and it will certainly give you more purpose.
There’s no shame in loving what you do for work, or spending a lot of time doing it, if it’s something you consider to be worth your while. There are a lot of important and innovative things being done by busy people, and I am glad of that. But there’s also something to be said for putting on the brakes, and doing something besides work until you die.
At the end of your life, do you really want to be thinking, “Thank GOD I saved 2,389 hours by drinking nutrition shakes instead of wasting all that time cooking?”
2 thoughts on “In Defense of Slow”
This should be required reading for everyone…..bravo, Anna. You nailed it.
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Wow. The article confuses enjoyment for work, as if reading or cooking is only a chore that we must do and not something any one does for enjoyment. If these things are a chore, the article is spot on, but damn. .. what a sad life to live where you never stop to smell the roses.
Amen to slowing down and appreciating the life you lead. Happiness is found in many places. For most, these places don’t include minimizing all life aspects in the name of productivity.
I’m happy you had a good Christmas! Your family breakfast tradition sounds like it’s to die for.
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