What not to hurry
Some things I speed through—doing the dishes, some emails.
I think a lot of people speed through as much as they can.
Some things it makes no sense to speed through.
A museum with great works of art. I can’t see them all, so I might as well maximally experience and enjoy what pieces I can see. I might speed through for fun or novelty, but those times are the exception and I accept that I’m sacrificing depth for fun.
Most art falls in this category. I speed the playback of podcasts but not music. The point isn’t to listen to more songs but to enjoy each.
Art I don’t like, I don’t mind speeding through. Galleries, for example, don’t all have art I like and I only find out when I get there.
Reading stories to my nieces and nephews. If I’m spending time with them, I could finish reading the story faster, but what would I achieve? The point is not how many stories I finish, but how much time we spend together and how we spend it.
Food. I came to write this post for this one. You’ve probably heard of the slow food movement, so this point isn’t new. I just spent a couple hours chopping fruit and vegetables to make vinegar and sauerkraut. Why? Because I’m flooded with fruit and vegetables from 1) the winter CSA I signed up for, 2) the winter CSA a company I spoke for bought me because I declined to accept gifts that would end up in a landfill or recycling after they liked my work beyond expectations, and 3) a store near me was getting rid of perfectly good fruits and vegetables so I saved them from a landfill.
Other reasons why: my last batches of vinegar and sauerkraut came out delicious. It’s empowering to make these dishing I used to consider complex from scratch.
Back to the point of this post. While chopping, I kept thinking how much preparing food from scratch raises awareness. As does growing it on your windowsill and buying it from farmers.
My talking about avoiding packaged food generates consistent responses of, “I don’t have time for it”—always from people with plenty of leisure time, often from people who say they want to raise their awareness or consciousness about things like the environment.
I’ve spoken about how pursuing awareness without action usually means delaying awareness in 108: Awareness Is A Delay Tactic, A Smokescreen. Acting raises awareness more than not acting. Preparing food activates you at nearly every stage, though not ordering it at a restaurant or eating comfort food whose pleasure is based in salt, sugar, and fat.
The more I learn to cook, grow, and buy food from scratch, the more value I get from slowing down. Eating fast to get more out of life is backward. And I spent a decades speeding through eating and ordering more than preparing, so I know the alternatives.
Sex. I don’t think this one needs explanation, as much as anyone likes quickies, they are the exception.
Even doing the dishes, if I’m in a meditative mode, warrants slowing down and savoring the moment.
(Incidentally, I recently joined Slow Food NYC, as a result of my podcast conversation with Marion Nestle.)
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