Saturday, May 08, 2010

Slow down, you move too fast...

comes from one of my favorite songs: "The Fifty-ninth Street Bridge Song" by Simon and Garfunkle. I used to warble it in the shower, mowing the lawn, taking a walk. It had a good rhythm for hiking: slow down (emphasis on the "down" with right foot hitting path), you move too fast (again, emphasis with right foot heavier on the path), you got to make the morning last (emphasis on last).

In those days I was teaching school, tending house (sort of), tending a husband, going to school, expecting a baby, organizing a student trip, multitasking most of the time. I NEVER slowed down because I couldn't. I could only sing songs about it and look for ways of streamlining the daily tasks that needed to be done.

Over the years since then, I have never quit the streamlining habit. I look for shorter, easier, faster ways to do things and have become quite skilled at accomplishing a whole lot in a short period of time. Unfortunately, such a habit has its downside.

Since I no longer have husband or child at home to make life complicated, there is no point in doing everything rapidly and efficiently. I have more time than I need in this stage of my life and I end up spending that extra time in front of the computer screen checking email and FaceBook every little once in awhile, just to make sure I haven't missed anything.

But a month or so ago, I decided to revamp my eating habits, shifting from eating too much sweet junk to eating fruits and vegetables instead, partly in an effort to look a little less hefty in a swimsuit on next winter's cruise with the Favorite Son and family but also to be more mindful about what I was shoving down my throat and why I was so shoving it.

I'd also decided to quit taking the bone and cholesterol meds I'd been on for several months, not willing to put up with the heartburn and irritability that seemed linked to their usage. And I knew I couldn't blithely continue to eat carelessly if I was going to keep my bones and my heart healthy. So out went the ice cream and the cookies (mostly) and in came the oranges, apples, and grapefruit.

Trouble was, I'd eaten the junk in part because it was faster than cutting up an apple or peeling an orange. And that caused me to wonder: how come I was so loathe to spend time slicing an apple so it would be available to me easily? how come I would rather eat a cookie than peel an orange? It was because it was so much faster to grab the cookie than to prepare the fruit. And the fruit was far tastier than the cookie, far healthier, far longer-lasting.

So now I'm noticing that lots of little tasks in my life can be done much more slowly and I am enjoying discovering what they are. Cleaning the office doesn't need to be done in one fell swoop; it can be done a little at a time. If I cut up the fruit one piece at a time, I have slices of apple or orange to snack on all day long. If I cut up the red and orange peppers (at @2.99 a pound, yikes!), they can also serve as a snack with hummus or just plain, and they won't rot before I do something else with them. I have the time to make my bed properly in the morning, not just pull up the covers and bedspread and leave them.

I've always been eager to get tasks behind me and completed. I am a Myers-Briggs "J" personality to the nth degree. But once those tasks are completed, time sometimes stretches out before me and I am not sure what to do with it, other than to start another task. Which means I am working constantly, accomplishing more and more and having less and less time spent in "kickin' down the cobblestones, lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy".

Luckily, the music life has given me several reliable hours of just plain fun and grooviness every week, so I'm not "all work and no play Kit". I am getting several hours of play into my life. Now all I have to do is figure out how to slow down the email and FaceBook!


Lizard Eater said...

Beautiful! I've been thinking about instant gratification -- between the internet, and tivo, how has this changed us? I mean, I remember listening to the radio for hours in hopes of hearing one particular song. Now, I just hope over to iTunes and presto, it's downloaded. For those with Kindles, a quick click and a new book is sitting in your lap. Never have to schedule things around a tv show anymore -- just tivo it.
So, having to take 20 seconds to slice up an apple ... well, it just doesn't fit with the rest of our life, does it?

Mile High Pixie said...

LOL! This hits home for me, Rev. Kit. I too am a Myers-Briggs "J", and it takes a great deal of effort for me to slow down, kick the cobblestones, and feel groovy. I realized last night while talking to the hubby that the reason I watch those ridiculous ghost-hunting shows on SyFy and Travel Channel is because they actually make me sit still for nearly an hour--no small feat when you're me.

Having said that, I found that eating well--and taking the time to eat well and cook well--allows me to be more efficient with my energy and time. It keeps me healthier (overall) and help me stress less when putting on a bathing suit/dress/pair of slacks. Cheers to you in your healthy life changes!

ms. kitty said...

Thanks for your thoughts, LE and Pixie. Hugs to both of you!

ms. kitty said...

Slow hugs, that is, not quickies!

Heather said...

I'm also a "J" and I find it very satisfying to trim things from my blog reader, and from Facebook. Much like the satisfying sound of a paring knife slicing through an apple.

ms. kitty said...

Hi, Heather, thanks for your comment. That is indeed a delicious sound. One of my not-so-guilty pleasures is quietly trimming my FB connections and skipping blog posts from people I don't know.

ms. kitty said...

But I read the three of you commenters regularly!