On an Island where our speed has been limited to 40mph, even Jersey isn’t immune to the fascination with doing everything else at a million miles an hour. Fast food, fast information and fast love, it is indoctrinated in our generation that faster is somehow always better. But the quicker we do things the more we start to cram into our lives until you start to wonder exactly how good life in the fast lane is for your health? Is it time to start slowing ourselves down before we crash and burn?
I’m the first to admit that I like a busy life. My catchphrase has slowly become “there aren’t enough hours in the day” in reference to all that I would like to achieve. Would I like to train to be a faster runner? Yes! Would I like to invest time in being a better writer? Practice yoga regularly? Improve my cooking skills? Yes, yes, yes!! I find myself envious of those who claim to only need five hours sleep a night to function, since they can achieve so much more in those waking hours. Do I have a tendency to take on too much and put myself under pressure to achieve it all? Absolutely – you see I am a box ticker!
This culture we have created is becoming increasingly addictive, a drive to be constantly doing; we are a generation of action addicts. We associate speed with progress and progress with success, so it equates that being successful means doing things at light speed and multi-tasking. The thrill of being a box ticker produces a hormone in our brain that gives us a high from meeting our short term goals, but clouds our view of where the end goal really lies. We find it hard to just sit and be, without thinking about the next day’s meeting, the ironing,the list is endless! We get a kick out of balancing all of this, precariously, until we hit a speed bump.
In December of last year I quit my job in a bid to stop and take stock of life and work out what was important, what were my goals? I’d been so busy living I never really took the time to consider what I was doing and whether it was adding value or making me happy? With time on my hands I dabbled in meditation, practiced mindfulness and just glided for a while in a blissful bubble of unemployment, getting to know myself and letting things flow at their own pace.
The result was that I became hugely productive and able to enjoy a sense of accomplishment without rushing onto the next task. I made time for the things that made me happy, took a chance and put myself out there as a writer. I’m still a box ticker, but the number of boxes has been greatly reduced and I attempt to be a single-tasker rather than a multi-tasker to varying degrees of success (I am a woman after all)! I have, of course, had to return to employment, but am conscious not to let working life absorb me. I continue to keep an eye on the speedometer, slowing down when things get too chaotic and checking in with myself emotionally periodically.
Keeping life going at this super speed is a modern form of laziness. We cram so much unimportant information into our days so that we can avoid focusing on life. We assume we are giving time to friends and families by hitting a “Like” button every now and then on Facebook, but some of the best things in life you should take time for and this in itself takes practice.
We are the generation who can’t sit still long enough to see where we’re at or to judge where we want to be. Can you really afford not to try to write some space into your life? Jersey is the ultimate place to practice living slowly. Why rush? There’s nowhere to go that beats where you are! Take a break and embrace the slower things in life and give some thought to lowering your own speed limit.
I’m turning my settings permanently on cruise control…