“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” - Mohandas K. Gandhi
78.4 years isn’t much time. And that’s coming from a college student.
Even at my age, I can feel the pressure to pack my life full of activity and maximize my time by doing all I can.
In school, we’re encouraged to join as many clubs as possible to make the most of our educational experience. At work, it’s expected that we’ll be uber productive and take on more and more responsibility. Even at home, there’s a never ending to-do list of things that need maintained, fixed or upgraded.
And we go on living as if there’s nothing wrong with this system. As if the natural progression of humankind is to become the most efficient life form on earth.
If there’s nothing wrong with this system, then why are so many people unhappy? Why are so many on medication to control anxiety, stress, and depression?
Isn’t this a more telling sign of our “progression” as a species?
All this busyness has overloaded our minds. And we walk around with this nagging sense that there’s something we forgot to do. Or we feel guilty when we actually do take time to do nothing, be lazy with some friends, or watch a worm inch its way across the sidewalk.
There’s just no rest; no sense of completion. Ever.
And its eating away at us from the inside. Making it impossible to find a reason to smile, or be joyful, or just be.
But life doesn’t have to be so crazy. The craziness ends when people embrace the alternative: slowing down.
Slowing down is radical in this day and age. An age where…
…we burn with frustration if a website doesn’t load instantly.
…we think taking a nap is a sign of laziness.
…we check our email, facebook, twitter 15 times a day.
…we eat instant oatmeal for breakfast, frozen meals for lunch, and order takeout for dinner.
…we lose sleep over an upcoming deadline.
…we even take our own lives because the pressure to perform is too much to handle.
Breaking these habits can be difficult. But why is that?
We fear that something bad will happen if things don’t get done. To calm that fear we work harder, and longer, and harder, and longer only to realize that there’s more to do.