Something that stands out to me in Southern Thailand (as well as when I was in Sicily) is the slower pace of life. No one is in a rush to get anywhere; family, friends, and community take the highest priority. Closing your shop/restaurant unexpectedly for a while is a completely normal activity.
While this can be annoying when you drive to a restaurant, and it’s closed for seemingly no reason, you can’t help but respect this kind of life. When you grow up in a naturally fast-paced environment, it becomes the only way to live.
A lot of times stress and excitement go hand in hand, but this is far from a new concept. Our ancestors long-ago needed the ability to handle stress to survive; a lion could attack them at any time. As we began to build communities and technologies to become the dominant species, a slow pace of life was possible for the first time. Some still thrived on stress while others adapted to this new possibility, and this is still true today. A long-term, slow-paced life may not be suitable for everyone, but it’s critical to clear your mind every once in a while to refresh. Personally, I keep a document that I revisit once a month to keep myself accountable, making sure my actions align with my life priorities.
I really like this poem; it reminds us that our time is limited and to appreciate the little things in life.
Slow Dance by David L. Weatherford
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round, or listened to rain slapping the ground? Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight, or gazed at the sun fading into the night? You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last.
Do you run through each day on the fly, when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply? When the day is done, do you lie in your bed, with the next hundred chores running through your head? You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last.
Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow, and in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch, let a friendship die, ’cause you never had time to call and say hi? You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day, it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life isn’t a race, so take it slower, hear the music before your song is over.
What do you think? Could you handle a slow-paced life long-term, or would you go crazy? Let me know in the comments below!