I was working a busy Sunday shift, balancing eight tables in my upstairs section. As one of the tables stood to leave, I instinctively and absently asked them what their plans were for the rest of the day. The man, whose strong French accent allowed me to pretend for a moment that I was somewhere far away, replied, "Slow." He could see the bit of confusion on my face, and elaborated with; "No plans, today we will be slow."
I continued my day and did just the opposite, surviving another four hours of intense brunch service, slinging beautiful plates of food, flipping tables as fast as I could, and then doing my closing duties in record time so I could finally finish my usually crazy weekend routine.
'Slow,' has stuck with me since that day.
Fast-forward to over a year later when I returned to Seattle as a visitor.
My dear friends that I had met while volunteering at a community garden in the International District, suggested we take a trip to one of their grandparents old homes on Whidbey Island during my visit. I was elated at the idea of not only spending a weekend with them, since most of my time in Seattle didn't allow me to have such freedom, and because Washington Ferries were one of the things I missed most.
I don't think it's important to share what we did, the topics of our conversation, the food we ate (cheese), the things that made us laugh, or the things that made us cry.
What I think is important was there was no plan. In a way our agenda was also 'slow.'
It's almost like we stepped back in time.
Life moves fast, and we often do what we can to keep up.
When I was young, and even now... I have been in a rush to become an 'adult.'
So many of my elders assured me that I would regret my need to feel older -
and I now realize how right they were.
But with all their words of warning, I find myself frustrated.
Not one of them gave me an examples, or any guidance on how slow down.
Growing older has proved to me that no one has the answers.
Society has set standards of what I should do, the path I should follow,
the decisions I should make, the person I should be.
And my response?
"Slow your fucking roll."
So why not encourage each other to slow down from time to time.
Slow down to observe the way in which you interact with those around you
- are you being a good person?
Are you happy with your decisions?
The times we live in feel crazy and overwhelming, and the reality is that we as human beings have created this world we live in. It has been filled with despair well before our time, and although I am always optimistic of a brighter future, I am also realistic in that some things will never change. The bright side is there has also always been good in the world.
The one thing that you will always have the most control over is your own life, and with the decisions we each make individually, comes change and growth. But, if you spend your time listening to what others say is right, what other say you should believe, what others say is good and what others say is bad - and no time reflecting on your own ideals, morals, and beliefs -
then who are you besides a vessel for others thoughts.
You have the capability to think for yourself.
I have no fucking clue on what the answers truly are, and at the end of the day,
if I said you should listen to me, and consider that my feelings are right for every single person, then I would be a hypocrite.
All I can do is encourage you to slow down. The world is only a race if we make it such.
Take time to slow down and think about who you are - a question we all may never answer.
Slow down and don't think at all.
Hear the wind and the waves.
Breathe in deep.
I am not yet wise enough to end this with words of wisdom - so I leave you with Lord Byron's words from his narrative poem,
"Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"
There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where no one intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in it's roar,
I love not man less, but Nature more.