Slow days, weeks, months, years

| life

Some days are slow. Some weeks, some months, some years… Parenting gives me a sneak peek at what life is like being slow, and that's handy. I've written about being slow before. Every time I revisit this topic, I learn a little bit more. I can start to figure out the systems and perspectives that might help me as I grow older.

One of the nice things about a slow day is that it's easy to give myself permission to dwell on all the things I gloss over on fast days. I putter around the house, tidying up. I sit with A- as she reads, and I write my thoughts by hand. I update my ledger and doublecheck my budget. I read through my backlog of books and borrow some from A-'s pile so I can keep up with her interests. I learn more about my tools and try things out. I review and update my notes. I write journal entries even for these little moments, because small steps still add up over time.

What do fast days look like? I jump into a programming task and explore an idea, turning my notes into blog posts when I can. I fly around documentation and source code. When I reach out for something, I find it. I feel proud of what I've figured out. With A- , my fast days are when I have the energy and equanimity to help us have fun while taking care of our priorities.

On slow days, I let A- take more of the lead. I might say, "My brain is having a hard time being creative right now," and then we switch to something more physical or more straightforward. When she's grumpy and I don't have the energy to help her manage her feelings, we just let the big feelings wash over us.

It helps that Emacs News and similar things are compatible with slow days, as the hardest thinking I need to do then is just which category to use. Captioning videos and adding chapter markers are also straightforward. Writing about cool stuff is easier than writing and maintaining cool stuff.

Parenting is pretty compatible with slow days, too. When I focus on A- and appreciate the things she's learning and who she is as a person, she glows. There are plenty of resources I can tap, and I don't have to be "on" all the time.

Oh, is that why knitting, gardening, and reading are popular hobbies for older people, because it gets easier to be patient with things that take a while? Oooh. I wonder if that means I might have more patience for things that require compiling or training.

I'll have other slow days in the future, and that's okay. Some people even pay big money or make huge life changes in order to learn how to live more slowly. I'd like to still be happy with myself instead of frustrated when I'm in my 70s or 80s, so I think it will be worth figuring this out (slowly).

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