A month of slowing down

slowing down

All that rushing around and the constant irritation when others got in her way wasn’t making journalist Bernice Nikijuluw feel like a nice person. She decided to spend a month slowing everything down.

I hadn’t made any preparations for my month of slowing down—or, better yet, my impatience-reduction month. This proved to be a terrible idea on the very first day. I was third in line for the bathroom and, once I showered and arrived at the baker’s (I love fresh bread), someone snuck in ahead of me and needed to know the differences between the various types of bread on the shelves in painful detail.

I thought to myself: I’ll get up earlier tomorrow, and I’ll officially start my month of slowing down then. As the man in front of me debated whether he should go for the spelt or just stick with a loaf of coarse wholewheat, ugly thoughts started to form in my head. In spite of everything, I managed to make my train 45 minutes later and somehow was the first person to arrive at work. So what had I gotten myself all worked up about?

I got up fifteen minutes earlier the next day and was the first in the family to shower. I struck up a conversation at the baker’s because now I had the time for it, and, during breakfast, I quizzed my son for a test. I realized there’s such a thing as being too relaxed; the effect caused me to leave later than normal and I cycled like a woman possessed to make it to the station on time.

On the way, I wondered if it would really be the end of the world if I missed my train. Another one would be leaving ten minutes later. So I cycled a bit slower and tried to be kind in my judgment of the other people on the road. As it so happened, I made it in time for my usual train, which was late by two minutes.

  • The complete story can be found in Issue 31.

Text Bernice Nikijuluw Photography Hanke Arkenbout