Transforming the Need for Speed into Slow and Steady
It is undeniable that most of us live a fast-paced existence that includes instant gratification and Instant Breakfast. We have fast-food communication with our family, friends and co-workers that leave much to be desired, since it lacks the interpersonal feeling of eye contact or at least voice-to-voice inflection. We spend our workdays living for the weekend when we mistakenly believe we will slow down, but then fill the 72 hours from Friday night to Sunday night getting the tasks done at home that we didn’t have time to accomplish during our workday. If we “take time off,” it is generally filled with hustle and bustle travel to someplace away from home. Rare is the person who takes a “staycation,” during which they kick back and do nothing but eat, sleep and breathe.
Stephanie Brown, PhD, author of Speed: Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster — And Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down says “many kids haven’t experienced slow time at the dinner table with everybody present,” when Gallup finds that more than 80 percent of American families with children eat together at least four times a week.
Children are wired up and riled up. Electronic devices replace face-to-face friendships. Time in front of the computer or television are preferred to playing outside or being involved in other creative endeavors. In a study conducted in 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered that ‘the average 8- to 18-year-old American spends nearly every minute, while not in school, using a smartphone, computer, television or another electronic device.”
According to John Grohol, Psy.D., “Screen Time Is Not Making Kids Moody, Lazy and Crazy”, since it is serving needs for socialization. It is still important for young people to slow their pace and take in the beauty of nature and creative outlets such as art, music, dance and writing.
And the formula doesn’t change for the better in the adult population. According to a recent report, “The number of smartphones, tablets, laptops and Internet-capable phones (exceeded) the number of humans in 2013.”
The correlation between addiction to substances is relevant as Brown adds her observation that “It is common that people become addicted to alcohol or drugs as they try to control the symptoms of their addictions to speed.”
Might as Well Face It, You’re Addicted to Speed
There was a time in which this recovering Type A overachiever workaholic was described by a friend as “running around 100 mph with your hair on fire.” I thought it was necessary to move at that pace in order to accomplish the monumental list of activities that was before me. Little did I realize that it would send me careening into a wall that required becoming a tortoise instead of a hare. Major health challenges necessitated taking one step at time as if traversing a labyrinth, since that was all I could manage following a heart attack in 2014.