The Dangers of Taking it Slow

Monday was Chusok: the harvest festival when families get together and cook too much, eat too much, and remember too much. It’s good to be with family, and have a few slow days and decompress from the normal life of busyness and work.

Well today, back at work, I stare intently off into the distance, not doing work. When I catch myself, I’d like to imagine that other people see me would say, “now that’s a thoughtful person.” As if that would make it better. But it wouldn’t. My brain is mush and I know that today not much is going to get done.

Is that bad? “Slow down and enjoy life,” is a phrase thrown around in one form or another to say that it’s a good thing. (In fact, there’s 43,600,000 results in Google about this, not to mention the litany of idioms, movies, and lethargic debates in that corner of the party with the six foot bong.)

But here’s the thing: the slow life doesn’t help get work done. Work that you feel is important. Work that feels like it’s running you over when you try to pick it up again.

It feels like the picture above. (I took that along the Han River walking track. I love how the walker’s leg is already broken before impact. That’s saying a lot of the shear force of badass bicycling.)

Slowing down might be the most important when we’re not working on the things that make us happy, the things we’re good at. But when I sit down to do work that’s important to me, (currently a novel), taking it slow feels dangerous.

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