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Monday, 16 November 2020

The Need for Speed and Why Can't We Slow Down Anymore

I turned on my laptop to read a few blogs before going to bed, as I often do. I was met by a dark grey screen and a spinning circle. Thinking something was wrong, as we had some flickering lights and power due to very high winds yesterday, I restarted it. After that, my screen let me know that updates were being performed and I should not turn off my computer. Annoyed, I decided I had better do something productive while I waited, so I deleted some photos from my phone.

I couldn't just wait the seven minutes of so that it took to complete the updates. There is something wrong with our society. We want it now. I think I probably have more patience than the younger generation, as I come from the world of dropping off your film and waiting a week until your photographs were ready. I come from the world of having a party line and if Mrs. Baer down the road was using her phone, you had to wait to make your phone call until she was done. I come from the world of waiting until Thursday night to watch the next episode of Hill Street Blues. I come from the world of writing a letter by hand to a penpal in Tennessee, mailing it away, and waiting weeks until a reciprocating letter arrived back.

But now I am in the world of immediacy. 


Broken windshield? It will get fixed that day, sometimes even in your driveway. Hungry? Hop in your car and go through the drive-through, getting your meal within moments. Need to know a fact? Grab your phone and type in an enquiry. You'll have the answer in seconds, if you type fast enough.


I am a very poor consumer. Stores don't make a ton of money from my shopping habits, but I do know quite a few people who order from companies such as Amazon, and use their Prime membership to get anything from tea to underwear right to their door by the next day.


Heaven forbid we wait. I have waited eight seasons for that bloody treasure to be found on Oak Island. I have waited for my teeth to slowly straighten over the course of more than a year with my Invisaligns. I waited sixteen years until we put in new kitchen cupboards and appliances. I am quite a patient person, usually.

However, faster is presented as better. Lose weight quicker on this programme. Increase your internet speed with this company. Make your plants grow and produce vegetables more quickly with this miracle fertilizer.


I meet many, many Amish people on the road. They will get to where they want to go only as fast as their horse is able to pull them. I wonder if they have any need to speed up in their lives? 

There are those people who cannot wait at a traffic light, drumming the steering wheel with their fingers, creeping ahead inch by inch anticipating that green light so they can speed on and get to their destination a few minutes faster. 

My professional world has been governed by deadlines, due dates, and bells. I'm sure there are others whose working lives are far more hectic and pace driven. What are we doing to ourselves? 

Are you able to slow down? Do you feel frenzied at times (or did you, at some stages in your lives)? Have you been able to release yourself from the fast pace of technology, or do you thrive on it? I'm curious.

51 comments:

  1. HaHa! Brilliant! Just what l needed on a Tuesday
    morning..
    My daughters voice echoed in my ears.."The 'P' word
    Dad, the 'P' word"..
    The 'P' word being patience..I have none! I have none! :).
    Never had any either..Not that it has anything to do with
    suffering Stress/Anxiety ALL my life, not life threatening,
    but l live with it..I've had treatment/medication/counselling
    over the years..HeHe! Not a hope!

    My brain/mind is very active..l had one counsellor say to me,
    "I'll get you down off that ceiling if it kills me" HeHE!
    No! No! He's still alive! But! That's were l spend a lot of
    time..running around on the ceiling! :o)

    And..Technology..l can keep at an arms length, l have my
    e~mails, funny folders, joke folder, Christmas folder, etc..
    I don't buy/sell, no banking, no payments, no one except
    family and friends have my e~mail add.

    So, basically l want things done yesterday...so, l'm sending
    this comment Sunday..ready for tomorrows post..! HeHe!
    Oh! I better say..that one thing l don't suffer from, or
    never have is high blood pressure, and yes it has been
    mentioned as strange..but then l have been medically diagnosed
    as 'Different' 'Unique' and 'Special'..Amen! :o).

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    1. Sorry to hear that you've been struggling with this for years.

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  2. My problem is being able to speed up - unless I am in a car. Then I have to calm myself down.

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    1. I'm glad my morning "commute" is short and through the countryside. I wouldn't do well in rush hour traffic.

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  3. You are right..and being impatient is so destructive.
    A good example in England is HS2 the new high speed rail line from London to Birmingham, to save 20 minutes....and being a completely new line instead of in parallel with existing lines, is destroying Ancient woodland, vital archaeology, homes, historical buildings....

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  4. How very well written, Jenn. You are 'bang on'. I did thrive on the deadlines, stress, and hectic pace of work. Several years before retirement, I began to question WHY? and not like the path I was on anymore, so, made a conscious decision to slow down, ease the foot off the gas pedal, figuratively and literally. The world did not fall apart! If something stops my thought/project/plan, I switch to something else, instead of fretting and fuming. That is a waste of precious time!

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    1. Judging from your blog, you are learning to slow down and enjoy your surroundings well!

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  5. Since I'm retired, I've slowed down quite a bit. Actually, lately I'm crawling. But I do remember waiting on the phone for someone else to finish their call before I could have access to the line. That brought back a lot of memories. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. Yes, I think we shared our "party line" with three other families.

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  6. I am not particularly affected by what you describe. I am quite laid back about stuff like this and I don't think I have arrived in the world of immediacy or it just goes over my head.

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    1. You do seem pretty laid back. Probably a healthier state of mind.

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  7. Your post is absolutely spot on. People have no patience and no discipline these days. It explains why there's self-destructive covid fatigue after a mere 8 months.

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    1. Delayed gratification. We used to all have to put up with that. It built character.

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  8. Spot on. (I think we must have the same computer issues!). I must say, the only time it really bothers me -- speed -- is on the computer. The rest of it? Don't much care. I like to be on time so I leave in enough time to not have to rush. I like to cook -- and it can take the bulk of the day most times. I don't need to buy pre-chopped veggies or instant food. An occasional drive through is fun, but it's more because I want that item, versus being in a hurry. If I always hurried, I wouldn't have photos of Harry the Heron catching a fish. It always amuses me when someone speeds past fast (often roaring an engine) only to be sitting beside them at the light. I sometimes want to say things to them, like "Did that feel good and big and bold to you?" but I resist. This year I've learned Michigan isn't always the nice place I always thought it was.

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    1. I laugh too, when someone will pass me on the road, only to pull up right behind them at the light. Yes, I imagine you are very patient waiting to get just the right shot with all your wonderful pictures of birds.

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  9. Remember when there were no cell phones? No one suffered by not being instantly connected to the world. People actually had pause to think. We don't think any more - we just react.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. My husband is one of the few remaining people who does not carry a cell phone. When he has to travel a little farther afield, he does agree to bring one with him, just in case he is going to be much later than anticipated. I think as well, when we react and type a response in the form of a text or an email or a comment, we should be wary of how it comes across, or if maybe we shouldn't have typed anything at all.

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  10. Speed has never been of interest to me (except once racing on a horse when I was young... loved that!) But I've always been set on 'slow'... (uncle called my pokey). Don't like to rush... can do it if necessary... but don't like it. Like to take my time and enjoy what I'm doing whatever it is. Now I will say that waiting for the computer when it's having a slow day is a bit bothersome.

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  11. Wonderful post. I just recently took Instagram and Facebook off my phone. I stopped watching the news. Cold Turkey. And I am actually enjoying my quiet time. It is a work in progress, as I am tempted to pick up my phone and jump back in the crazy! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I do not engage in either Facebook or Instagram. I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

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  12. You made me stop and think, Jenn. Being in lockdown has definitely made me see things as less urgent. In fact, I deliberately put off certain chores just so I have something on my schedule for another day!

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    1. Haha, I aspire to having a day where I don't have anything to do and arrange for a chore or two to keep me moving. Some day.

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  13. Hmmm. I must be like the rabbit racing the turtle. I stop and go. Some days I'm slow and easy, listen to music rather than the news and stay off Facebook the better part of the day. Other days, I feel a need to be connected and chatty. But living so far out with no near neighbors and no TV, and then the pandemic on top of that can make things lonely sometimes. I love the ease of getting information I need and being able to order things and getting them delivered quickly. All of it saves me time, and actually, money, since I'm on the road less. The upside of living so far out, of course, is having the quiet pretty much any time I want. No traffic, no airplanes, no TV, just me and the birds and the wind. I think I can have the best of both worlds.

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    1. I'm fine with being away from people for short periods of time. I like being outside with nature, my gardening, my chickens, the trees... I admit I don't think I would like to be without tv for too long, though.

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  14. I've definitely slowed down since I retired, but my use of technology has increased. Or least the number of apps I use has gone way up. I do put the phone in the charger at night and ignore it until the next morning, and I've weaned myself off checking it every time it pings during the day.

    But you are correct, immediate gratification seems to be the flavor of these times. I noticed it when I had the house up for sale. It's a 30 year old house and though I've redone the kitchen and bathrooms, the potential buyers were all looking for the latest flooring and finishes, everything needed to be done up for them.

    Hopefully one lesson that we'll all learn from the pandemic is that time is precious and we need to relax and rest in the moments.

    Take care and stay well!

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    1. Yes!! I know of some who have bought a home and immediately said they "couldn't live" with the kitchen, or the bathroom the way it was. They had to change it right away, regardless of finances. We lived with things the way they were for years and years before we changed them (and some things are still not changed!)

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  15. No, I don't feel the need for speed. Although I do get absurdly infuriated by waiting for the spurious Macintosh Minutes to run down when the computer needs to do something annoying, but I think that stems from the utter inaccuracy of their time predictions. Why tell me something will take 17 minutes when it actually takes 6 or 32? For the rest of the time, I'm quite a relaxed person and can be a model of patience, and the yin to my yang of a husband who is an instant gratification type and thus quite hard to watch sometimes!

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    1. Did you ever have dial-up internet? When I think about how slow that was, compared to how instantaneous things are now, it's shocking.

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    2. I once tried to research hotels in France on super-slow dial-up, circa 1999 - I think it took me about 8 hours to find a hotel to book!! I'm otherwise late to the party on computer stuff (despite my major in Computer Science, haha) as I used not to see the point of googling and emailing when everything took an age, and all you had to do was pick up a reference book or the telephone and hey presto you got your answer. It's a brave new world now!

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  16. Sooo true!!!! I can't tell you how many times I have waited by the microwave wishing it would hurry up. lol
    I have a hard time slowing down. I am only impatient with myself though and not others but I always feel like I need to keep moving and accomplish things as quickly as I can. I think it comes from being raised on a farm where there is always 'more to be done'. xo Diana

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    1. Hmmm, you may have a point there, with how you were raised. To this day, I feel somewhat guilty being idle. I always feel like I should be busy doing something.

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  17. I do not mind waiting for things as long as it is reasonable. Speed is not key to me. That said, I get impatient and even irritated with incompetence.

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    1. Oh yes, I agree with that. I've often said, (in my head) "Just do your job." Not a fan of incompetence, especially if I have to waste my time fixing someone else's mistakes.

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  18. It's a good question & good thoughts on faster is better theory. We are also in rural Ontario so high speed isn't our gift, so I've got to wait for downloads & upgrades. I think in many ways this pandemic lockdown routine or as I call it The Great Pause, has maybe been the start of finding out what's truly important. ... Mary-Lou =^[..]^=

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  19. I grew up in your world I’m probably even more so because I think I’m quite a bit older than you are but it would be my little sister. And I do get what you’re saying I remember party lines I remember when there were no malls. I remember when stores were open Monday through Friday maybe Saturday on a short day and everybody was closed on Sunday. But I imagine that if that started up again( of course no one was open on Friday nights until the malls came in) And as I was going to say I imagine that if they were closed on Sunday again folks would complain aplenty.
    There’s so many things that have changed this world into a high speed self-centered consuming I want it my way place.

    I often envision not only the world but some of it’s “leaders” in various characters of Willie Wonka. For this comparison may I suggest Violet the little girl who fell into the vat of blueberries .I believe it was , always stomping her feet and screaming “I want it and I want it all and I want it now!”

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    1. I do remember when Sunday shopping became a thing. It was a bit controversial for a time.

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  20. Here's a way to reduce the pace of life and feel no shame or apprehension. I did it. Get yourself a big brain injury, like an accident that breaks your skull and leaves the after effects of a traumatic brain injury. I no longer function as I did, and I don't mind. I don't regret the loss because I cannot conjure up the need or the feeling that apparently is lost. I remember learning to walk in rehab. After a while the therapist said Walk Faster. And after a bit Now Walk your Fastest. The entire time, I walked at the same pace.
    But I really don't recommend it. It's only interesting because it's interesting.

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    1. Oh Joanne, I don't think any of us would want to go through what you did! If you can step back from the actual pain and loss, yes it is interesting.

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  21. I think I became addicted to "busy" somewhere along the road. When I retired (in 2014) I struggled to slow down and, though I am doing better now, still wrestle with it. It's a byproduct of the world we live in I think. (P.S. I'm happy to "meet" another Canadian blogger!)

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  22. Well, we're about the same age, so this totally resonates with me! I try not to get caught up in the frenzy of society's pace. It's hard not to. Where is everyone in such a hurry to get to, anyway? LOL

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  23. I think likewise I am a poor consumer. At times I feel smug about it.

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    1. I am not great at buying for myself. I often feel like I shouldn't be spending money on myself. I'm better at buying for someone else.

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  24. I am taking periodic time-outs from electronics just to take a breather. It is interesting to realize how addicted we are to NOW. I'm having to retrain myself, now that I'm in forced retirement. I have to admit that slowing down is very, very nice.

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  25. I am pretty patient - but honestly I think that when Windows is doing an update they should put a big blatant notice on the screen, that cannot be missed, instead of letting us waste time worrying about why the machine is running so slow for no apparent reason. After all these years, I am still too slow myself to figure it out quickly - so maybe I am just impatient with myself?

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    1. Sometimes, I would see notices pop up that said updates were necessary and you could schedule them for times that would work for you. Not this time.

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  26. Speed kills. Period.
    Never feel bad for slowing down whatever you are doing.
    I gave up trying to speed up my chopping skills as it risks safety.

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    1. I agree. I am uncomfortable in a vehicle with someone who is excessively speeding.

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