Slower is sometimes better. That statement seems counterintuitive to how we as Americans tend to think. Our outlook is geared toward ever-increasing productivity. The more things get done and the faster they get done, the better; the more time-saving appliances we have, the better; the more efficient and effective we are, the better.
But a fast-paced and productivity-oriented lifestyle is not the panacea it portends to be.
When we get more and more accomplished in less and less time, our lives tend to get faster and faster, until we get to the point where we’ve forgotten how to simply savor the moment and live fully in the present. Little things that are less â€œimportantâ€ tend to go by the wayside. Relationships become time-starved and start to deteriorate. The quality of life, the things that really make life worth living, decreases until we become human-doings rather than human-beings.
Having experienced this acceleration of life, my wife and I have decided to put on the brakes for a while. She and I met back in the Slovak Republic, after I had spent a year there as a missionary living in the eastern city of Kosice (pronounced â€œkoh – sheet – sayâ€). That year and the year which followed were some of the most fulfilling and memorable ones I’ve ever lived. Life was slower – much slower. Unlike America, the country is not pulsating with technology and things take longer to get done. But the result is that you can actually start to enjoy life at a slower pace, in a society in which relationships with friends and family take precedence over reaching the pinnacle of your career.
Two days ago, Zuzana and I, together with our 6 Â½ month old son, Kerrigan, arrived in Kosice, Slovakia, where we will spend the next few months slowing down enough to smell the flowers. We will rent a friend’s apartment overlooking a village, take walks in the forest picking mushrooms, eat home-cooked meals almost everyday, and enjoy long conversations with friends at local cafes. In between these activities, I will delve even deeper into .Net and C# and get ready to start teaching for DevelopMentor (develop.com). The cost of living is a fraction of what it takes to survive in Southern California, so it’s possible to live from what we’ve saved while waiting for the income to start flowing.
It has been difficult to make the transition, especially to go far away from our family and friends back in L.A., but we have also maintained a network of friends here from our church contacts, which we nurtured during the last six years we spent in California. For example, our friends Radko and Lucia picked us up from the airport (including our nine pieces of luggage!) and helped us find a place to stay. Tonight we will gather with them for dinner at the home of other friends, Riki and Betka. Even before the let lag wears off, we’re staring to enjoy the slower pace of a sweet life in Slovakia. Aaaah â€¦