I’ve always been one for getting the most out of life. Why hang about in one end of town on a night out when you could hit both – even if it means travelling for an hour mid-revelry? Similarly, why miss your mate’s wedding at home just because you live in Dubai, even though you’ve already flown back for four other sweet matrimonies this year?
It’s got to the point where our online editor approaches me every Sunday morning to run through my previous weekend’s itinerary, just so he can raise his eyebrows and tell me he stayed in watching The Wibbles for two solid days (with his kids, of course. He’s not that far gone).
But there a couple of downsides to working hard, playing harder, then working even harder just to keep up. Becoming very poor is one of them. Being struck ill every other week is another. And then there’s all that staring-out-the-window-wistfully, laughing-at-an-inward-joke time that I miss out on.
Then, one typically fast day, I stumbled across something called ‘Slow Living’. Or rather, it pinged into my inbox, a scanned article sent by a knowing friend, which I then filed away to my (already quite full) ‘When
I Have More Time’ folder. Which I then returned to three months later.
Slow Living, it seems, is a lifestyle change sweeping the world, taking former speed freaks such as myself along with it – albeit gradually. Very gradually. These slow people (no offence intended) believe today’s world is too hasty, multi-tasking is for the mentally shallow and that deliberating, procrastinating and slowing down is, ironically, the way forward.
The International Institute of Not Doing Much (really!) has been running the site www.slowdownnow.org since 2005, advocating doing less in a longer time frame. Its manifesto? ‘Some are born to slowness – others have it thrust upon them. And still others know that lying in bed with a morning cup of tea is the supreme state for mankind.’ Hear, hear.
Slowness has now even splintered into different fields: there’s slow food (versus McDonald’s), slow travel (no more planes), slow parenting (no more enforced after-school activities) and slow media (get off Twitter. Now). But why am I telling you all this? Why am I getting to the point, so very slowly? Because, having lived in London, New York and now Dubai, I’m sure the pace is faster here in expat-land, where staying in is such a social oddity. So I’m saying, slowly and clearly for emphasis: join me in choosing the slower, more selective, more appreciative life. But only while it’s en vogue, of course.