Slow Down and Live It Up

I am 32 years old and running out of time. Over the past year I have been steadily building my business, adding more clients, more responsibility, and more tasks to be completed within the hours of a single day. I have two cell phones, two computers, I read 5 newspapers a day and countless online articles. In one work day I will schedule and complete at least a dozen conference calls. I work in PR so staying on top (or even a few steps ahead) of everything that is going on is imperative to my business. Weekends are spent speaking at writing and publishing events and my nights are spent researching and writing.  I also added a daily 4 mile run with the pace increasing every day.

Every year it seems that my life becomes more filled with responsibility and the time in which these tasks must be completed shrinks. Everything is moving at a faster pace and I can barely keep up, let alone grow and thrive.

And with all of this I am finding that the attention I give to the ones I love is shrinking steadily. I have less time to listen to stories or funny anecdotes. I don’t have long, drawn out conversations with friends, those have been replaced with short, clipped emails tapped out in a sliver of a free moment.  I am short on time, so I am short with people.

The words languish, indulge, relax, restore don’t exist in my life anymore. I have no patience. I am literally running out of time and I am only 32.

We truly need to slow down. But how? How when we have programmed ourselves to fill up every minute of the day with busyness? How when we read story after story about young people working night and day to develop a business model that results in multi-million dollar payouts? We are spurred on and inspired by these stories but we are killing ourselves to emulate this success. Is it time we slow down? Or does it go against everything we have been taught?

Research has found that slow thinking actually promotes and inspires creativity. A recent study found that people fighting a clock were the least creative because they were unable to truly focus and let their minds zero in on the most important and powerful ideas.

Google is one of the first companies to truly implement this slow movement. They advise their employees to devote 20% of their time to personal projects. Gmail and Adsense are two innovations that came from the 20% downtime.

I would love to see if the slow life is the way to a healthy and happy heart and a well-adjusted brain. I want to take the long, windy road instead of the fast lane. The obstacles I face, to do more and do it faster, is a common problem among young women today. Fearing the pressure to fit it all in before settling down with kids, a husband, a mortgage or fitting it all in with those added pressures of family already in place, is something that women are battling more frequently and with more intensity than ever before.

With books like Carl Honore’s IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS and Dominque Browning’s SLOW LOVE, this is something that people are learning later in life. But what would happen if we could discover the power of slow living NOW, when we are still in the throes of building our lives, when things are just beginning? Is the slow movement more than just a theory to test? Is it the secret to happiness and fulfillment in life?


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