Sunday, March 18, 2007

Back Link No Time To Play

A few years ago, I read an interesting article in the New York Times about how busy our society had become. The journalist described how his five year old daughter talked to her imaginary friend on an imaginary cell phone and how they (the daughter and her imaginary friend) were forever making and breaking play dates because they were either “too busy” or “didn’t have time” to meet.

I found the article so interesting, not because it sadly exemplified a current social malaise, but because it reminded me of my younger brother’s imaginary friend, Dobby, and how the two of them used to play together day-in-and-day-out. Endlessly long days. The two of them were inseparable. Wherever my brother played, you’d always find Dobby. (Perhaps I was a bit envious; for who wouldn’t want a friend who always is there when you need him?)
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Reflecting on the difference between the cell-phoning-date-cancelling New York imaginary friend and my brother’s ever-faithful Dobby, I was overcome with a sentimental yearning for times long gone. Times when we would “take time” for family, friends, or important activities, creative activities: all of those precious integral parts of our lives we now so often neglect. Times when we “had” spare time, or even, horror of all horrors, when we sometimes wasted time. Times when our lifestyles included concepts such as meandering, setting a leisurely pace, feeling as though time had stopped, anticipating an event (e.g., Christmas) far in the future… the list goes on.

Now we need the Slow Movement (here and here), Slow Food (here and here), and Slow Sex (sorry didn’t want to navigate my way through the links from Google with these search words) to jolt us out of our madness. And we are mad to choose to live the way we are living, there’s no doubt about that.

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2 Comments:

Blogger charlotte said...

I agree. All these conveniences we have, like phones and computers, actually impede our ability to live our lives fully. I do find that of the countries I've lived in, Germany is better about slow living - people ride bikes or walk if they can, people buy and eat seasonally, people cook meals from scratch, people make time for each other. Compared to England and South Africa, the pace and the style are both fairly gentle.

19 March, 2007 05:57  
Blogger Susanne said...

Charlotte, you really think Germany is good in this regard? Because the pace of life has quickened so much in the last decade or so. Now I know I'll have to stay here...

I had the same feeling as Lia that we need to cultivate slowness. And stop overscheduling our children and ourselves.

19 March, 2007 11:34  

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