Joe's Memos

Living Slowly

It’s so easy to get caught up in the bustle, to get in a rush, to turn on autopilot and just do it.

I was in that mode for a few days, and then I got a headache, and I started thinking, “what does this headache mean? Am I sick? Am I dying? Can I make it go away before the concert tonight? Should I take ibuprofen or acetaminophen or naproxen sodium or aspirin? Should I have something more natural? Have I not been eating healthy enough? Should I have more coffee? Was my headache caused by drinking too much coffee?”

I was in the middle of this rush, driving back from the grocery store, when traffic slowed down and I saw a young couple with a baby in a stroller, and they were walking slowly. They really stood out against all the rushing cars and red lights and green lights and rushing people on the sidewalks. They were just walking slowly.

It was very different than how I usually walk. I walk after I eat, and I walk briskly, to reduce blood sugar spikes. But perhaps it’s not brisk walking and reducing blood sugar spikes that give us health. Perhaps it’s the peace and enjoyment of walking just to walk.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps it really is healthier to focus on reducing blood sugar and getting two hours of exercise per week. But even if it is healthier, is it better? Is it happier? Does it improve our quality of life or just give us the promise of additional years?

Live fast if you’d like. But at least stop to ask if that way makes you happy. As for me, living slow in a world of instant gratification, constant rushing, and pervasive stimulation, is a difficult but beautiful skill and a powerful rebellion.