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Why instant gratification takes too long?

By Christie Pool

Staff writer

A few weeks ago, a local character walked into our office to say hello and “sit and talk a spell.” It was a busy Tuesday (deadline day) and our afternoon crunch time. Things had to get done, and by a very specific time in order to get the paper to the printer. It couldn’t have been a worse time – or so I thought. 

During a 20-minute visit several members of our staff were treated to some rather interesting stories. One was from many decades ago about a couple of  local boys about the age of 12 or 13 spending their last quarters on a train ride from Jasper. They found their way down to Florida with no prospects of how to get back. They started walking and it just so happened Eugene Talmadge – or was it Herman – passed by and gave them a lift as far as Atlanta. From there they could make their way on back up to Jasper. Imagine these boys all alone, without telling their mamas where they were going or when they would be back. And then consider that mothers got by just fine before the invention of Life360, which lets parents know instantly the location of their child or, at least, their child’s cell phone.

After this and some other stories, I realized my day, even my life, had been enriched by having heard about this big adventure from days gone by. Why? Just because. 

I thought stopping for a few minutes in the middle of a very hectic day would throw everything off balance. But it didn’t. 

“Slow Movement” is now a recognized antidote to the modern frantic life.  It promotes exactly what you would think – slowing down to enjoy more of life. We are a world obsessed with speed, wanting everything faster, and all the time. We perpetually want to cram more and more into less and less time. Even the great Princess Leia (aka Carrie Fischer) said, “These days, even instant gratification takes too long.”

In all our daily running around – from work, to errands, to cooking dinner (who are we kidding – to picking up fast food), to soccer practice, to meet up with friends – we lose sight of the damage that this type of living does, both physically and mentally. It takes a major toll on our health, our diet, our work, our relationships. For many of us, it takes a catastrophic event like a health scare to give us a wake-up call. As Slow Movement proponent and speaker Carl Honore says, “We are living the fast life, not the good life.”

The Slow Movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace, according to Wikipedia. It actually began with Carlo Petrini’s protest against the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in Rome in 1986. This sparked the slow food movement, but over time has developed into a subculture that applies to a variety of activities and aspects of culture. If we slow down, we may just find that everything goes better. We eat better if we take time to sit and enjoy a meal; we exercise better and it brings our bodies and minds more benefit if we aren’t trying to rush through it to get that shower and meet all our daily errands and deadlines. We even work better and more efficiently when we take our time and make sure things are done correctly the first time around, as in that old adage about a stitch in time saving nine.

In all things, we just live better when we slow down. Slowing down can be the difference between success and failure, between thriving and burning out. What’s the point of hustling if you’re going in the wrong direction in your life? 

Slow is about being present, in the moment and it’s about doing everything not as fast as possible, but as well as possible.

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