Let’s be honest. I love being busy. I thrive on the rush of last-minute deadlines successfully achieved. I adore procrastination in the name of doing something else. I get rewards for the looks on other people’s faces when I show them my calendar, and they say things like “I don’t know how you can do all of that.” I am a first class busy-ness junkie. Busy-ness is my identity and my addiction.
At the start of this series, while I was extolling the virtues of Slow Forward and describing lapping up the expectations placed on young women of my generation, I got a note from my BFF Ariana. The two of us met when we were 12. As far as each other’s lives go, we’ve seen it all and been there for most of it. Here’s what she said to my Day 3 post:
“I would agree with Dave you have been over scheduled. I do see a tempering of this habit with your knee surgery forcing you to SLOW DOWN. Remember that feeling as you come out of your recovery. Less is more my friend.”
Ouch. Et tu, Brute?
The physical pain is why I went for Alexander Technique lessons. The awareness, the slowed sense of time, the inner calm, is why I stayed.
I’m not stupid. I know that slowing down is good for me. I also know how to create space for it when I want to. But that’s the rub. That old habitual behavior. If you love an addiction, it may go underground, but it won’t go away. Take it from me.
2020 was a wakeup call for the entire world. Slowing down was not a choice, it was a necessity. Who were my busiest friends? Who continued working harder than they ever had before? The therapists, of course. I was living my best chill life while they were panicking on their time off from Zoom.
Depression and anxiety were very real. I admit to being there by the end of 2020. Renting and painting my little office in 2021 was both an admission of hope and somewhere to be that wasn’t my house. I can only take about an hour of concertina music a day, friends. Dave can play all day and all night. He might stop for meals.
I don’t recall another time in my adult life with a completely empty weekend calendar. It was astonishing and incredibly, confusingly different.
Forward to 2022, and real life was slowly returning. Then, I slipped in the driveway. That’s when I got really, really depressed. My plans to travel to Germany last summer and walk everywhere? Cancelled. Gardening? Also cancelled. Don’t look at the weeds. Hiking? Nope. Dancing? Forget about it.
I had a lot of time to sit and think. How could this become a positive situation? What lessons could I take from the last 3 years? That’s when the idea of Slow Forward evolved. I knew I wanted to write about it, but first I had to live it.
The truth is out. I guess we’ll see what’s next.