August 10, 2014

Let's Slow Down Life

K West, Sisowath Quay

Not so very long ago, humans -- like the rest of the animals and plants on earth -- moved through our natural cycles at nature's pace. Time was marked by the passing of the seasons, the life cycles of human, animal and plant life. But today, the world is moving so fast around us. With each additional device, new social network, news channel and latest trend, we’re becoming more distracted and more overloaded with information. As a result of our constant connectivity and expectation of speed, our overall well-being is suffering; our attention spans are getting shorter, our communication skills are deteriorating and we’re generally less happy.

More and more it feels like our lives have turned into a grueling race toward a finish line we never reach. No matter how fast we go, no matter how many comforts we forgo in order to quicken our pace, there never seems to be enough time.

People want to slow down because they feel that their lives are spinning out of control, which is ironic because speed has always been promoted as way to help us achieve mastery over the world. “The major cause in the speed-up of life is not technology, but economics,” says Schor. 'The nature of work has changed now that bosses are demanding longer hours of work.' After a long workweek, the rest of our life becomes a rat race, during which we have little choice but to hurry from activity to activity, with one eye always on the clock. Home-cooked meals give way to frozen pizzas, and Sundays turn into a hectic whirlwind of errands.

We have quickened the pace of life only to become less patient. We have become more organized but less spontaneous, less joyful. We are better prepared to act on the future but less able to enjoy the present and reflect on the past.

If I can’t slow down the speed of information, technological advances or societal tendencies, I can at least control my own speed. So in an effort to live a more well-balanced life, I’ve been making an effort to slow down in everything I do.

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