Irene: Slow. Such a magical word. And it evokes memories of the past, when we were slow dancing with that cute boy in junior high at our first school dance. And of course there are many beautiful songs about ‘taking it slow’. We’ve even published a book with Workman Publishing about taking it slow — A book that takes its time — and we often describe Flow as ‘a magazine without haste’, because we know that life is much more pleasant if you take your time, seek out quiet moments and enjoy the little things instead of rushing all the time.
But secretly, in real life, I’m not like that. Basically, I always want to do things quickly. I have no patience. And I want to get so much done — preferably now. At work here at Flow I am known as Miss Impatience. Why wait? Why find out more first? Why give people time? I have already identified it, solved it, tackled it or come up with a new approach.
At home I’m also not the kind of person who takes time to cook elaborately, attentively chopping vegetables and letting the dish simmer to develop its flavors. And don’t even get me started on love: I want to know what’s what and I want clarity from day one. And if something needs to be resolved in that area, we must do so immediately. Go to sleep angry and wait until morning to deal with it? Nope, everything must be sorted out, here and now.
In that respect I am a little jealous of Astrid. She has so much more patience. She’s not all over everything with some a kind of turbo boost going off in her head. She takes a step back, sleeps on it for a night before answering or reacting, and can spend hours on details to make things really beautiful, thinking about the color of the edges on the cover, for example, and the material for the spine of the Flow Diary.
Do you think it’s something you’re born with, genes that determine if you’ll tend to take your time or rush things? And could you change how you are if you wanted to? Or will I just gradually slow down a bit, will slowness come over the years? I’m already looking forward to finding genuine peace later, when I’m 80. I’ll be taking little catnaps in the afternoons and that’ll be me done for the day. I’ll wake up feeling perfectly happy with my day even if it’s just a nice walk in the morning and then reading a book.
Or will I still be in a hurry, I wonder? I recently saw a TV interview with one of my 1980s boy-band crushes, who was saying that now he’s reached his 70s he’s suddenly in a hurry again because there is still so much he wants to do: write that song, do that performance, enter into that collaboration. And I found myself agreeing. Step on it, I thought. Take it slow? I don’t think so.
Astrid: Fortunately all the great stories for this issue started piling in just as Irene was having these thoughts: about the Slow movement and how it’s spreading throughout the world and Mindful Self-Compassion and how the Japanese create harmony in their lives. So Irene will be just fine.
- Read more about slowing down in Issue 34.
Photography Danique van Kesteren