This is one for all you speed-junkies. You know who you are. You love to be busy, to see your friends, to meet new people, to try new things, to work hard, and to play harder. Your days are FULL. For you, full is thrilling; busy is glamourous and exciting.
But hand in hand with sparkly-busy-living comes clock-watching. Running from one thing to the next trying not to be perpetually late. Multitasking, endlessly trying not to disappoint people, and ‘just enough’ being the order of most days…
I’m not here to put down your life decisions here – Speed-living definitely has its advantages.
But I’m curious about whether something valuable is lost in our haste? What if us lovers of busy were missing out on something…else? What if there is something more satisfying and wonderful that this endless chase for just enough?
The Ikarians and quality living
I read an article this week called The Island Where People Forget To Die featured in the NY Times. In the article a man in his 60’s is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He decides against aggressive treatment from his local hospital in favour of moving back to his roots. Once in Ikaria, Greece, he plans to live out his last days with his adult children. Instead of living for 6 months as anticipated, he is still alive some 35 years later when the reporter writes the article – healthier than ever.
Longevity isn’t the topic of the article, more a happy by-product of a life focussed around things I would nestle nicely under the heading ‘quality and slow’. The Ikarians pay no attention to time: They stay up until the early morning drinking with their friends, they wake up late, and they nap – religiously; No-one wears a watch. They spend their days tending their vegetables, eating together, and resting. By night they visit their neighbours, and often frequent the nearby tavern. Local foods, honey and herbs play a big part in the community’s daily routines, and consequent rude health.
A ‘quality’ life
The Ikarians seem effortlessly to achieve a sense of peace and well-being. Their lifestyle offers up the desire for quality. Quality sleep, quality time spent with friends and family, quality time ‘being’ alone, a quality connection with the earth and her cycles, and quality health and food.
A life of choice
It’s clear that we shouldn’t all quit our jobs, move to the country and spend our days tending vegetables and playing dominoes (although there’s a part of me that’s curous about this option!). But, it does feel like we could learn quite a bit about living our lives with a slightly larger dollop of slow and quality. Like there’s a lot of well-being to be gained from this life choice.
Gandhi famously once said that “there is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” It might not be as simple as having one or the other – speed or quality; haste or well-being. I’m sure the two could cohabit quite nicely with a little compromise.
Over to you
So what would you take from the lifestyle of the Ikarians if you could? What would less speed and more quality give you? As always, I’d love it if you left a comment below
If reading this blog has made you think of a good woman in your world who could do with a dose of slow, then give her this gift and pass on this blog.
Why not give yourself this gift too. A free bag of nourishment and goodness just for you in the form of this blog. Fortnightly. Yum…