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A side effect of slowing down

June 22, 2017

I’m not a swimmer.  So I apologize to those who are, as this analogy many not be perfectly articulated.  If while swimming, the current is strong or there are lots of waves or you have been swimming for a long time and are getting tired; you turn your focus to staying afloat.  You don’t worry about if the strokes are perfect (or even if you are doing an official swimming stroke), if you look ‘pretty’, or even if you are really getting anywhere.   In these situations and at these times, you just make sure you don’t drown.  But in calmer waters, or when you have more energy, or when you haven’t been swimming for hours; then as you swim you might think about how you are kicking your feet, if you are swimming in a straight line, what is in the water beside you, etc..  It’s when you “slow down” (or you change the environment around you) that you can focus on what you are doing and the world around you.

It’s been almost 2 months since I reduced the hours I spend at work (by this I mean my official, out-side the home, paid job).  This was a change I welcomed and was excited about.  I’m still happy to be working few hours each week.  The positive side effect of this change is that I feel less rushed overall in my life, have time to explore new activities, and am spending more time connecting with the people who are important to me.  In keeping with the swimming analogy, you could say the waters are calmer and I don’t constantly feel like I’m treading water.

A more challenging side effect of this change is that I have more time to reflect on so many things.  I have more capacity to notice and reflect on my interactions with others, the choices I am making, the way I respond to various situations, the emotional wake I may leave with my words (and in many cases what I’m noticing is not always positive).   And given that I have more capacity and more time these days, that means I can’t give my self any excuses or let myself off the hook.  It means I need to try and do better.  It means I need to try and be better.  It appears I need to start changing my swimming strokes.  And hence the challenge.  This is a side effect of slowing down that I had not anticipated.



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