Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Today I started shopping for a new bed. I haven't actually gone to the store yet, because I am afraid I'll buy the first comfortable one I lie down on that doesn't cost seven thousand dollars. (In the course of my preliminary research, I've determined there are beds that really cost that much. I am not even going to go and lie on one, for fear I will not be able to live without it and will then not be able to sleep at night worrying about how much money I've spent on a bed.)

I am looking online and reading consumer reviews and getting an understanding of what to look for so I don't just try to get it over with quickly and then spend the next ten years living with a hasty decision.

Speed is the driving force in most of our lives. On his "slowness" blog--see sidebar--and his 2004 book, In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honore talks of speed as an addiction. His quibble isn't with speed itself--he enjoys high speed internet and the chance to fly across continents in a matter of hours as much as the next guy--but that our society glorifies it in all forms.

For most people who know me, the fact that I've even read this book is probably pretty funny. I walk, talk, think, and yes, drive fast. I absolutely hate wasting time, and am always wondering what's next. Yet I am aware that this part of my personality could easily send me to the cardiac unit if I am not careful. So I try, as much as I can, to build some quiet, slow moments into my life when I can. I schedule downtime for reading, for writing, for exercise, outside if possible. And I try to get enough sleep.

But gearing down isn't easy. Like most people, I am always connected to the office through technology. On top of that, I work for a huge professional services organization with offices all over the world. My Blackberry goes off at all hours of the day and night. So when I wander out into the kitchen at 3 am (a sadly common event) and I pick up the Blackberry, I am getting messages from colleagues finishing up their days in Tokyo and Sydney and others getting into their mornings in London and Munich. And then getting back to sleep is pretty much impossible.

So I am revisiting the slowness idea. It's akin to food: as a society, we are constantly busy but rarely fulfilled; we are overweight but undernourished. I work hard to organize my pantry so I can cook myself healthy meals most days, but the resting side of things seems to have gotten away on me, and I am resolved to find a way to not just sleeping, but really resting, so I can be more productive when I am up and running. So now I am going to publish this post, turn off my Blackberry, and take a few deep breaths. And then I'm going to sleep.

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