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.
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.