Slow is King
The plane takes exactly one hour. The train takes twelve–but it might be twenty.
We’re almost there: only three more hours. But I’m not ready to get off. I heard a passenger say he couldn’t wait to get off because he’d been on the train 24 hours. I can wait to get off. I can wait for lots of things. When you’re on the slow train, your priorities shuffle, your perspective shifts, your perseverance builds.
If your environment is too fast paced, change your environment.
The train doesn’t have WiFi. I can’t check email (well, I can on my phone, but it’s spotty). I can’t get work done. Oh wait, a wave just crashed outside my window. We’re somewhere two hours north of Santa Barbara going along the coast where there are no roads, only a train track. I can’t interact with email or clients or task lists. I can only create or consume. I have all day with nowhere to go–there is nowhere to go. There’s a beach with only the tracks of the seagulls. I’ve done some work on my research into a new project management tool. Whoa, a lone surfer.
The destination is irrelevant.
I don’t want to go back to where I came from today and I don’t even need to arrive where I’m going. I just want to be moving. Preferably slowly … slowly helps me not get there more quickly.
I know, I know, I’m in denial about the realities of day to day life. I know, I’ve written about slow trains (and slow transportation) before. But it’s one of those things that are such an overwhelming influence on my psyche that I can’t not do something about it.
Maybe I’m just a vagabond at heart. Maybe I know that but won’t admit it. Oops. Maybe I just want to slow down physically which in turns slow us down psychologically which keeps the cycle to slow down everything. I focus on one thing at a time. How are those plants so red and orange along the coast? How does anything grow in sand? No one cares about these things (well, botanists … ) and they won’t further my career, make me more money or even educate my brain.
But I’m trying to live in the moment. This is where I am and this is where I want to be. I’m not thinking about where I was this morning and certainly not yesterday. Not tonight or tomorrow or next week.
It’s the slow train down the coast of California with no cars, no roads, no friends, no people I know, no WiFi and just not a whole lot of much. It’s slow and it’s king.