I grew up in the maze of freeways called Los Angeles, and so learned the essential survival skill of driving over the posted speed limits. (I’m not suggesting this tactic for residents of other localities, in hindsight noting that this faster-than-righteous driving was a necessary practice that kept me from being run over by those driving much faster!) Now that I live on the outskirts of a Midwestern metropolitan area, I’m learning again the joy of slower driving—that is to say, going the speed limit.
All by way of saying that slow has become an enjoyable way to live most of my life. Although I’m still capable of quickness—however it’s defined—I choose to wait at the end of lines, linger in pleasant conversations, read news articles to their conclusion, to be the last person to speak. I find pleasure in just sitting and thinking quietly. My times of prayer are perhaps too short, but there are many more of them each day—I’m praying without ceasing. There’s something wonderful about watching a movie all the way through its credits, filling pages in my journal and finding satisfaction in slow self-care tasks such as flossing or shaving with a razor that has blades. Long showers are another slow-thinking time.
Yes, I know that there are fewer years of life available to me. But because I never thought of my older years as time for the hasty completion of a bucket list, it’s easier to participate fully—read “slowly”—in the ordinary bits and pieces of life. In my remaining years, I much prefer meandering than jogging, tai chi rather than Body Pump, slow-reading rather than binge-watching, listening rather than speaking.
And I still like driving the speed limit among drivers who seem like they’re heading for Los Angeles….
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