You move too fast.
Paul Simon wasn’t wrong. We are moving too quickly. As we continue to release technology that purportedly makes our lives easier (AI-written content and created art? Really?), our humanity is caught up in exactly the opposite state: one in which time feels more and more rushed and anything but easy.
The effect of technology “saving us time” is one in which we (falsely) feel like we should be able to do more. But if we haven’t placed true value on the present moment, on rest, on reflection—then what is that extra time buying us? More work. More “productivity.” More pressure to do, rather than to be.
A couple of weeks ago, my yoga instructor made the observation: “Not moving is the hardest thing we do.” His comment was multitudinous. A plyometric hold can be intense both physically and mentally. But being still with our own thoughts can also be intensely difficult. Being present—not moving our thoughts to the future or through the past—is a challenging practice. Not making choices and thereby remaining stuck in our lives—not moving—is hard on so many levels.
The risk of slowing down is that we might stop moving. And by not moving, we are getting into some of the hard stuff of life.
And that is also often where the best stuff happens. When we slow down, we can be present with our truest selves and thoughts. We can be present with the people who matter most. When we slow down, we can make choices about where to focus the finite time we have.
Although it often seems that our waking hours are reflexively filled (or overfilled), the truth is that we each set the pace of our own life. Setting that pace is a personal responsibility that also offers a measure of control and of letting go. We have to let go of the idea that we can (and must) do every single thing. If your time is extremely constrained, it might be the right time to ask how often you say yes automatically rather than slowing down to choose consciously whether you want to use your time in that way.
Slowing down gives us the space to choose. And in that space, we find freedom.
PS – If you’re seeking a great read on the topic of our finite time, 4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman is extremely worthwhile.
PPS – If you need an exercise in being present, tap into your inner child and hold some space to play. I wrote a previous blog on the wonderful experience of suspended time that is so precious to childhood (and to adulthood, if we choose it).
PPPS – If you’re seeking a series that celebrates timeless childhood friendship and imagination, Maddie and Mabel is a perfect match.