Slow is not a Four-Letter Word

Thank you Tim for permission to stop and smell the roses

Tim Denning was one of my favorite Medium writers until last month when I read his piece, Spend One Day Doing Everything at Half the Speed. After that he became my #1 favorite writer on Medium.

I’m a slow person.

My personal bent is to do one thing at a time with quiet and freedom to take as long as I like. I could sit and do nothing but think for hours if I let myself.

But I don’t.

All my life I’ve been told to do things faster so I can do more in less time. Efficiency is king and the success of a day is measured in the checkboxes filled on my to-do list — if I decide to waste time actually writing and marking off a list, that is.

I can still hear my mom’s voice in my head when she would return home from a few hours of extroverting to find her homebody daughter in the same place she left her.

“What did you do all day?”

I would have my report ready: I did plenty. Some things I did just so I could report having done them.

There were other things I didn’t mention, though. Things like sitting staring at a half-finished dress, assembling and reassembling it in my head. Things like considering which book I might read next and why. Things that probably weren’t worth the time I took doing them.

I think this is why I took up the hobby of hand-crafting clothes inspired by fashions long passed. I loved the time it took to design and create them and I loved imagining I was a part of the slower-paced life that the people who wore these kinds of clothes experienced.

Photo Credit Mark Newhouse, dress sewn by the author

I once sewed a circa-1870 traveling gown using only a treadle sewing machine and a needle in my hand. It was a bit of a rush job for a client and yet I didn’t use any of my modern electrical sewing machines. I didn’t have the time to rush.

Somehow I had found the freedom to be slow when I entered that world.

I want to rediscover that freedom.

I need to.

I haven’t lost it. It’s still ingrained in my very being. I know because when I told my husband about Tim’s article he told me that he loved my slowness:

“Watching you work is like watching Tai Chi.”

That’s one reason I married him — he loves me for who I am. The question is, can I love me for who I am?

Can I stop filling my world with the noise of social media and the pseudo-productivity of busyness? Can I give myself the freedom to produce something with my hands even when I’m feeling the pressure to do something more productive? Can I quiet the judgmental voice in my head that screams “Be more efficient — or else!”?

Or else what?

What might happen if I let myself slow down to the pace that feels natural? What might happen if I let myself do what I feel drawn to do before doing what I think I ought to do? What might happen if I went through my day doing things at half the speed?

If Tim’s story offers any indication, it might feel a little like heaven.

Wife💑Mama👧👦Entrepreneur✍️Cut the time you spend writing in half: http://civanpro.com/blink

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