Saturday, July 30, 2016

I Am Slow, And That’s Okay

“You need to work with more urgency.”

You’re kidding, right?

This about sums up my annual reviews from when I was working in retail. Every time it was the same.

I didn’t know it then, but turns out I wasn’t just a lazy worker. My disability did make me a bit slower, but I was more thorough and detail-oriented than many of my co-workers.

Unfortunately, what was considered more important in that workplace was speed.
Now that I think about it, speed is highly valued in our society. Good quality work is still important, but it’s expected to be done quickly or by a certain deadline.

panic attack
I have weird relationship with deadlines…

I would always beat myself up for not finishing on time. And I did that a lot, even with small things like laundry or cooking meals by a certain hour. It has been difficult for me not to feel rushed, even if no one is waiting on me, like when I am getting ready to go out on a quick errand (it takes me an hour to get out of the house). I get frustrated at myself for even being late for my own lunch + TV break, on my own schedule, when it really doesn’t matter.

When I get up in the morning and go about my routine, I notice how  s l o w l y  I walk, even when I feel energetic. I can force my body to go faster, but it feels unnatural and makes me anxious, as well as making me dizzy and giving me headrushes.

I would notice how it took my mom 15 minutes to do a quick surface-cleaning of the kitchen, while I would take an hour cleaning it thoroughly (I cannot bring myself to surface-clean).

It always bothered me how dreadfully slow I am compared to other people, how I couldn’t complete work on time, react quickly enough to social opportunities, etc.


Moon Flowers
This is just one example of what I create, from my various hobbies.

I sold this flowerpot for $10 (originally $15 but I gave a discount). I made it from scratch using various materials. How long do you think it took to make?

Well, $15 at minimum wage would cover about 1 1/2 hours of work.

It takes me 6-15 hours to make these flowerpots.

So, I have to sacrifice far more time and energy than the average person to get things done.

But the end result is worth it. I have been told that I am talented at what I do, and that once I take interest in a new hobby, I quickly become good at it.

Thing is, I am able to do that because I am slow, or as I ought to call it, “zen.” My natural zen pace allows me to focus on details and really establish them in my brain, rather than practicing with numerous (excuse my French) half-assed attempts. I want to do things right the first or second time, or I’d feel sorry for the half-assed creations that only served as a stepping stone.

In addition, my work leaps in quality the more I practice, since every attempt is relaxed, focused, and thorough.

Hence the huge difference between my first and second feature films:


Between these, I did get a bit of practice with (unfortunately) half-assed video projects in college, because taking forever to complete them wasn’t an option.

But I learned far more from pursuing larger film projects at my zen pace, than from many smaller projects at a rapid pace.


Getting caught up in fast lane is practically normal. There is far too much pressure to keep up! But when was the last time you slowed down? And who says you have to spend every moment in “work mode”?

Even if you are required to work, you don’t have to give in to the idea that your life is just work. It is possible to slow down, even if it’s simply taking a few minutes to appreciate something. Like…

Leaves rustling in the wind. The puffiness of the clouds. The aroma of your favorite food. The colors all around you. The beauty of a human being.

Even if you’re busy, you are capable of enjoying these things. There are so many details to appreciate, even at workplaces you don’t like, or with people you’re not fond of, or environments that aren’t ideal to you.

Even if you can’t slow your life, you can slow your mind. It’s like exploring deeper in the ocean—you’re bound to find some rarities not yet discovered!

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with slowing down.
Society seems to tell us that living at a million miles an hour is normal, but it takes a toll on the quality of our work and our lives. Creativity flourishes when we go at our own pace, rather than forcing it into a box of expectations.

So now I can say…

I am slow, and that’s okay.

In a chaotic world, I accept my zen and all the treasures I find along the way.