Viva La Slowvoultion
“Slow Down” We hear it all the time, but how many of us actually take this advice to heart? With so much to do, so much to see, so much to consume, so much to be, the thought of slowing down seems… impossible. And then COVID happened and suddenly people were forced to slow down. With no place to run to, we just stopped… running. The world opened back up and we did, too, but it felt hard to keep up the pace of “go, go, go” that we’d been used to. Two years later, I think people are still struggling to find the right pace of life. I know I am.
I’ve never really understood what slowing down meant. I have an anxious disposition and find value in productivity. I’ve even adopted “be like a hummingbird” as my personal mantra because like a hummingbird, I feel like I’m in constant motion (albeit, not nearly as gracefully or effortlessly). When the pandemic hit, I was a newly single mom working three jobs at the time. My shows got shutdown, but I still had an episode to write, and work resumed (from home) after only a few weeks. I’d zoom with friends who were suddenly bread-makers and bakers, binging on shows, and losing their minds from boredom. I felt like I was treading water— just enough to keep me afloat, but I was fucking tired.
When my show wrapped last October, I made the very conscious decision to try this whole “slowing down” thing. “I’m just looking forward to not having to multi-task all the time” is an actual thing I wrote in my journal. I kept my son in preschool, but loved being able to pick him up whenever I wanted. I didn’t open up my computer for weeks. I baked and binged, and saw friends I hadn’t seen for years. When my parents offered to take my son and I to Hawaii, I jumped at the chance and then mid-trip decided to stay an extra day! I focused on my mental health. I journaled every day. I slept in. I was, for once in my life, not a hummingbird, but a slow-moving snail who didn’t have deadlines or daily responsibilities other than keeping my son alive. I fully embraced the slow life, except I felt like everyone else around me was eager to get back into the world and life in the fast lane.
I went back to in-person work in June. My son started elementary school a few weeks ago. Nothing feels slow anymore as my to-do lists and activities grow more and more each day. I actually have to schedule “leisure time” into my day, but schedule it, I do. I think that’s what people are finding so difficult right now: how to achieve the balance of being back in the post-pandemic world, with the new attitudes we adopted. We’ve realized there’s new priorities outside work and the daily grind. We see the benefits to slowing down, but we actually have to put in the work to make that the priority now.
Those slow moments can still be found before my son wakes up in the morning when I meditate, stretch, and journal before the demands of life take over. Or when I find an afternoon to escape from the office to have lunch with a friend. Or when I sit in the window seat in my house during the afternoon reading a good book as my son plays nearby. Finding the balance can be tricky, but it may also set you free. What are some ways you can incorporate more “slow down moments” in your life?