I was walking along Chapel Street after yoga recently when I saw an advertisement for a watch with the line Live full throttle. I am obviously not the target audience - the ad was in front of a menswear store and hello, I was on my way home from yoga - but I could not be less receptive to this kind of message.
Living life at full throttle sounds stressful, exhausting, and well, pretty one dimensional to me. Perhaps even a bit mindless. I'd rather live life at a slower pace.
The watch in the ad would probably appeal to people whose motto is go hard or go home. Given one of my goals is to nap less, it won't come as a surprise to hear that if anyone told me to go hard or go home, I'd happily go home. I love my couch and my bed.
It's a watch that might be worn by people who write things like "I like to work hard and play even harder" in their online dating profiles. If I had a Tinder profile, it would read, "I like to nap hard and sleep even harder".
I'd rather pootle, than hurtle. I want to appreciate the scenery as I go through life, stopping to absorb the sights, sounds and smells, and the way things feel. I want to take photos of the wildlife, not run over it. I want to connect with people, not leave them choking on my dust.
I don't want to be one of those people whose stock answer when asked how they are is, "Busy!" Or one of those people who wears their stress like a badge of importance. I don't want to have weekends chock full of appointments and social engagements (as I've said, I'm an introvert - I don't need much social contact). I don't want to have a head full of plans and obligations and goals and grand ambitions.
And the good news is...I'm not one of those people and I don't have that kind of life. My life is calm, low-stress and only sometimes busy on the four days a week I'm at work. When my time is my own - three days out of seven - my days are usually quiet, with plenty of time to relax, read, rest and do things I enjoy. I have few responsibilities and demands on my time (work, pay bills, pay the rent). I have no plan for where I want to be in my career in five years. I have a job, not a career, and I'm fine with that. I like my job and I strive to do it well, but it's not the core of my identity.
My ambition is only to lead a small, happy life in a way that it meaningful to me. Living in the moment, being connected to my surroundings, and relishing the small things (refer: Gleeful). Spending time with people who bring me joy and doing things that enrich my life - going on adventures (big and small), being immersed in nature, reading, listening to music, and exercising my creativity with writing and photography.
I know a small life isn't for everyone. It would be a snorefest for many. I suppose the key is to work out what pace suits you, and try to make it happen. Having a full throttle life when you are best suited to a slower pace must be hell.