In The Slowness

Originally published Wednesday, 03 September 2014.

Last week I had a big meeting at work with important people. I look up to these individuals, am intimidated by these individuals, and usually do awkward things around these individuals, like trip over computer cords or accidentally mix up the difference between gross and net profit. Both of which happened at this particular meeting. Cool.

They’re successful, they’re smart, they’re well-connected. They wear suits and talk about capital gains and their financial planners. They drive Porches and have vacation homes and travel to China for work.

As each of them arrived at the meeting last week, I caught snippets of conversations from around the room. Most of them hadn’t seen one another since the beginning of the summer, and essentially all of the conversations consisted of variations of these phrases:

“Busiest summer of my life”
“Can’t keep up”
“Traveling all summer”
“So much going on”
“Unbelievably crazy lately”

I spend my days at a similar pace, trying to keep up, measure up, one-up. I spent a large part of Labor Day weekend beating myself up for not being more productive. I always equate success with accomplishment. If I can’t list it on my resume or check it off my to-do list, I’m wasting time, being unproductive, feeling guilty.

The fact is, though, I’m not a high-speed kind of person. I like to analyze things, do them slowly and well and intentionally. I need down time to recharge. I don’t like being rushed and over-committed. I don’t like having a massively long to-do list. I like time to create and be inspired and be still and pensive.

For the past few years, I've struggled between these two worlds. I do my job well and enjoy what I do, but often it’s at the cost of my sense of self. I operate on autopilot and miss the part of life that shouldn’t be missed. I don’t feel inspired or joyful or satisfied. Last week in that boardroom, I felt sad. I don’t want to use any of those adjectives or phrases to describe my life. There are seasons for everything and there’s a great deal to be said for hard work, but at what cost? Not to say that everyone’s balance is the same, but I think that for me, I’m realizing I need a different pace. I can’t move at warp speed at work and live my life the way I want to. I find myself and my Creator in the slowness of life.

And that’s okay.