I was clearing out my edifice of a bedside reading pile the other day, and I found a copy of In Praise of Slow by Carl Honoré. The book was written about 10 years ago and my copy has spent at least two years waiting to be read. I found it at a second hand book sale, was intrigued and then forgot about it. (Well not quite forgot about it. I kept it in the book pile beside my bed, then moved it to the floor in the bedroom when that pile got too big, then found it a space on the bookshelf in the great book purge of 2013 and then finally moved it back beside my bed.)
It seems fitting that it has taken me more than two years to read this book, as its premise is to challenge the Cult of Speed. Following an “A ha!” moment when he realised he was seriously considering buying one-minute children books so he could speed up bedtime and get back to his email, Carl Honoré went on an exploration of various aspects of the slow movement – from slow food, to slow cities, to slow parenting, slow sex and slow thinking.
Like a true hero he returned from his journey to share it with us through writing, speaking and even “slow coaching”. You can read more about Carl Honoré here
I read this book savouring the detail and thinking how my own life has been dedicated to the cult of speed. Do more, do it quicker and beat everyone to the punch. Driven by a mix of fear and envy I wanted to be better than others so that I could then stop worrying and everything would be OK.
Of course that day never came.
Often last year I felt like I was juggling many balls – study, work, designing and building Albany Lane, more work, new clients, and my own fitness and wellbeing. My schedule was a multi-coloured pattern of overlapping commitments and appointments. Inevitably things would fall or be dropped from time to time and by the end of the year I was worn out and exhausted.
So rather than taking on a new years resolution to do more, be better, achieve something new – I am resolving to breathe slowly, walk more, cook more and observe the world around me.
And leave plenty of blank canvas for what might arise.