The Slow Movement

I am finally back home in South Africa for the holidays and time is still a mystery. It flies when you want more of it and stands still at the most inconvenient moments. Sometimes I think that Time lets his children play around with the seconds and minutes and then they become muddled and out of sync.

It would explain a lot of seemingly mysterious events, such as déjà vu. There are few things that annoy me more than the sound of a ticking clock. I suppose it reminds me of deadlines and the inevitable end of all things. That slow, rhythmic tick-tock makes me too nervous to accurately describe. I cannot sleep or concentrate on any work if that sound is playing in the background. Not to mention the sound of my alarm that wakes me up in the mornings… if I hear that sound at another time in the day, my skin crawls and I immediately get a pit in my stomach.

The past few weeks have been full of a lot of things to do within a limited amount of time. Of course I was at university, so that meant assignments and exams with their respective due dates, even after a fair amount of pleading for extensions (a few of the nicer lecturers took pity on us and saved a few desperate students from many sleepless nights). Simultaneously I had to contemplate packing for my flight to South Africa. My last exam and my flight fell on the same date so, scatterbrained as I am, I ended up forgetting a few things here and there. This is what happens when I try to do too many things at once and don’t finish them one at a time. Distractions are my downfall.

Today me will live in the moment, unless it’s unpleasant, in which case me will eat a cookie. – Cookie Monster

Lately I have been using the You App to keep track of some personal goals while holding on tightly to my rose-tinted view. I really enjoy the platform and find it to be a more positive form of Instagram, as it encourages you to appreciate all of the good things in your life and to work towards a better You with daily prompts. I haven’t been keeping up with my daily usage of the app, however, but one of the recent prompts had a link to a TED Talk, In Praise of Slowness, about becoming a tortoise in life. After watching it I had few things to think about.

I don’t think a life worth living should be rushed. Reading, yoga, meditation, even eating and having a conversation with a friend. These are a few of the things that I enjoy doing and they all can be done slowly to fully appreciate the moment. I think that vacations are the best times to practice slowness. No work or university and only a few appointments here and there. Bustling airports and rushing to meet deadlines is on hold for the moment. I finally have plenty of time to focus on the things that matter to me.

Yesterday, I arrived in South Africa and we immediately had things to do and people to see. I had breakfast at Mugg and Bean with my mom and it was delightful to just catch up and relax. I was once more reminded about the fact that my different lives are not put on pause while I am in a different country. The menu at the restaurant had a makeover, and so did my house. They are apparently adding garages to accompany the already impressive structure. (This also happens to be the reason why I was awake this morning at an hour that is not even remotely consistent with my usual holiday habits.)

In the afternoon, we went to a braai (a braai is similar to a barbecue – cooking meat and other foods on a wood or coal fire) at one of my cousin’s houses. It was painfully obvious that I had not seen them in a while. I had since become a vegetarian and my family was a bit surprised and had a few interesting comments about it. That is for a different post however… More to the point, their children had grown so much since I last saw them. In that moment I felt as if so much time had passed and that I was missing pieces of my memory.

On the other hand, when my best friend – Mekayla – hugged me, it was like the past four months hadn’t even happened. Time is relevant and time is limited. When I was younger I was so excited about growing up, leaving school and starting my own life. Now that I am in university, I am appreciating moments more. I bought a camera when I was in the US in August and I am planning on documenting more moments. Photos are one good way to save memories.

Mekayla joined me for the family-braai and we spent some time together catching up before she leaves for her Christmas vacation with her family. We also tested out my camera and she played around with the settings (I know hardly anything about photography and she is a lot more knowledgeable about the subject). She is a YouTuber and she has invited me to be in a few of her videos. I love the ones she has already posted and she is very talented at all things visual (she also paints and draws).

She and I will be doing a few collaborations and posting about some of our shenanigans and time spent together. Be sure to check out Mekayla’s channel in the meantime and get to know her a little bit more. We have a lot of plans for the rest of this week and next week. I am thrilled to be back home and I have a huge To Do List (my To Read List is even longer….) and I hope I will be able to complete the majority of the tasks before I return to Dubai.

Who knows, maybe by this time next year, the sounds of clocks will become entirely irrelevant and deadlines will be more congenial – as long as I can be more slow and less panicked in life in general. The best way to get the job done is to focus, slow down, and not become discouraged or distracted. The tortoise from the fable will be my role model in Slow Living for the weeks to come.

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