Why rush? Slow Down

Life is getting faster and faster.  Does it mean life becomes better and better?  Not necessarily.  Speed is not equal to quality.

I’m in my early 50s, and retired.  Why should I rush?  I got a lot of hours every day at my disposal.  I’m the gal who stays on the slow lane on the highway, and drives around the speed limit.

Slow Down is my motto.  Let me explain it.

Slow down when driving:

About 15 years ago, I was at work.  I know, it sounds like Sophia in the comedy The Golden Girls: “Picture it, Sicily, 1922…”, right?

Anyway, I was rushing to a meeting with clients in the early morning.  It just snowed, and the road was not that good.  I was frustrated about the road condition, and the traffic, as I was getting late.

Stopped at one traffic light, I was trying to find my cell phone, so I could call my boss.  Unfortunately, my foot on the brake loosened a bit, while I was fussing around.  And I slightly hit the bumper of the car that stopped in front of me.

Now, I was really going to be late.

We had to pull over to the gas station next to the traffic light.  The driver in the other car was a very nice gentleman.  I apologized, and we exchanged insurance information.  He wrote his information on a business card.

Luckily, he never filed a claim with my insurance company.  I’m very grateful for his kindness.  There are a lot of great people there.

I have been keeping his business card in my purse for the last 15 years.  Why?  It’s always a reminder to myself: don’t rush when driving.  Safety is the key.

Traffic is beyond everyone’s control.  Just slow down, and take the time.  Otherwise, rushing could cause bad things to happen: getting a speeding ticket, causing accident and injuries, and a lot of stress afterwards.  Who wants those hassles?

Slow down when paying the bills:

You heard about the Easy Pay, Quick Pay?  Just click, click, the bills are paid.  Why rush?

I would always sit down, take a look at the details of the bills, and make sure there are no errors, no extra charges, and no fraudulent transactions.  Then pay the bills.  It won’t take long to get it done.

That’s my money.  I like to slow down, and pay attention to where my money goes to.  It’s worth spending the time to pay the bills, and manage the money.

When we are paid by the employers, it’s never an easy pay, correct?  We have to work hard first.  Then, they have to verify our time sheet, get the manager’s approval, and wait for the pay day, on and on.

Some TV commercials set bad examples.  Here is a couple.

One bank promotes their online bill pay: a young dad, and his toddler.  The lovely toddler is looking at the dad in awe with big smiles, and the dad is staring at his smart phone paying bills.

What a horrible commercial!  Put the phone to the pocket, and dedicate time to the kid, please.  The kid deserves dad’s full attention.

Another mortgage company shows that, how easy it is to get a mortgage from them.  The client just clicked a few options, and within minutes, the mortgage is approved.

Come on, how many times do we get a mortgage in our lifetime?  Only a few.  Mortgage is a huge deal to our financial life.  Spending time to do the homework, shopping/comparing, and reading through the fine lines is a must.  We can’t afford to rush a mortgage, period.

Slow down when travel:

Are you a fast traveler, or a slow traveler?  I’m a slow one.  That’s one of the reasons I don’t like to travel with a tour group.

As you know, the tour group is always go go go.  Get up at 5 AM, catch up the bus, stop at one place for only a couple of hours, then rush to the next one.  Coming back to the hotel at 10 PM, people are totally exhausted, and wondered: what did we see today?

I love to travel in my own pace.  Just sit down, observe, listen, and day dream, at one spot for hours sometimes.  I know, it may sound weird to you.

If I travel with others, it could drive them nuts.  Can we go now?  In their eyes, sitting there without doing anything is so boring.  To me, it’s fantastic to enjoy the beauty, slowly and quietly.

If too tired some day, I won’t go anywhere.  Just stay at the hotel, or wander around the close-by areas.  Sometimes, no plan turns out to be the best plan.

Slow down in the daily life:

It may not be easy to do so, if you are still working, or having young kids or older parents to take care of.

Slowing down is good to our heath, both physically and mentally.  It reduces stress, and gives us more time and energy to enjoy the moments of life.  And it might help us to become more productive.

The smart phones bring a lot of convenience.  But life is more hectic because of it.  The never-ending work emails and texts are a big monster that has to be under control.  The chit chat social media could take hours of precious time away without our consciousness.

The key is:  make sure you control the phone, not the other way around.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to mute or even shut down the phone.  Don’t hesitate or feel guilty to do so.  Your life matters much more than the phone.

During the daily walking, I always leave the phone at home.  In this way, I can enjoy the birds, flowers, trees, sunshine, blue sky, and anything the outside world offers.  Plus, I don’t want to bump into the utility poles.

Some people try yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, which are good ways to slow down and relax.


Don’t rush.  Slow down.  You don’t have to wait for the retirement to do so.  Work and house-related chores never end.  Slowing down is great.

Do you like a slow life, or a fast life?

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22 Responses

  1. Amy wolner says:

    Another great post Helen! I used to rush a lot more when I was busy working full time and studying, I never felt like I had enough time. I think your point that rushing to save time can actually cost you more time is noteworthy. When we rush, people fail to think about it having negative consequences. Also, it’s easy to make mistakes and forget things too if in a hurry.

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Amy, thank you for sharing your thought. Rushing becomes a new normal, as we juggle among work, family, kids’ activities, and a lot more. It could be very stressful. For many people, it may not be feasible to slow down all the time. But trying to slow down several times during the day may help. Take 10-15 minutes break each time, and get relaxed.

  2. GYM says:

    Thank you for this post Helen, you are such a good writer!

    “The key is: make sure you control the phone, not the other way around.”

    and I like this one “Plus, I don’t want to bump into the utility poles.”

    Haha 🙂 The onset of smartphones has really changed everything completely People are addicted to their phones. I need to learn to slow down more with the phone. I do go over my bills slowly though and I don’t have my phone on when eating (I hate when people do that) and I leave my phone in my purse if we are out to eat.

    I like slow travel too. I don’t like going on tour groups because of the 5AM wake up calls and also because I don’t like to have to chat with people I don’t know! Haha. My mom and sisters, on the other hand, only travel by tours.

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      GYM, thank you. Yeah, the smart phones have invisible power, and changed our lives forever. I used to have a coworker. He told me a story. In his house, there was a rule when he hosted a party: everyone who attended the party had to put the phone into a big basket, before joining the party. No exceptions. I see his point. Of course, his rule was a laughing stock on the Facebook to his people.

      Regarding travel, going with tour groups is easier. We don’t have to plan for those travel details, just follow it. Sometimes, the deal is pretty good dollar wise. On the other hand, we lose the freedom, that’s something I don’t want to tolerate. Travel should be fun, and should not be compromised, that’s how I feel.

  3. Great post, Helen! And I really did learn from the points you raised…particularly with kids. Life gets you into a corner, everything appears to be important…and needing to be done right now! It’s important to back up a bit and enjoy what really matters – family! Cheers.

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Enoch, thank you. I like your idea “to back up a bit and enjoy what really matters – family!”.

      About the smart phone, I probably didn’t use it smartly, and let it consume too much of my time. It’s easier for me to stand at the side line, observe and judge the players. And I forgot what a lousy player I am. My takeaway from this post is to try to spend less time on the phone. Cheers.

  4. Mr. ATM says:

    Hi Helen,

    Just found your blog and really like your take on life in general. I’m the same way, don’t like to rush life anymore. Been in tech industry for 20 years and decided to retire early two years ago. Since then life has slowed down quite a bit, but at times I do miss the hustle and bustle of old life.

    I really admire how you took the initiative to change your career to financial advisor, a completely different field and even did well in it. BTW, I hate those sales calls that bank reps make and never answer those.

    Anyway, hope to see you around.

    Take care

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Mr. ATM, thank you for stopping by. Congrats on your early retirement! I don’t miss the old work life. If, for any reason, I have to go back to get a job (hopefully not) in the future, it will be very brutal to me. I’m spoiled by this slow and relaxing life.

      Regarding being a financial advisor, that was really my dream for a while. I thought, it would be cool to help people get rid of debts, save and invest for kids’ college and retirement. It turns out, that was only a small side. The primary job for most financial advisors (excluding fee-only advisors) was to sell products. No sales, no jobs. Selling crappy stuff to people makes me feel guilty.

      Take care.

  5. Hi Helen,
    Nice post. Good advice. I have to admit I’m not very good at slowing down. My mind is always churning with things I want to do next. Just how I’m wired I guess. Tom

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Tom, thank you. Some people like a fast-pace life. They feel the excitement and fulfillment from the fast pace. I’m more wired to a slow life. When working, I tried to speed up, but never really enjoyed it.

  6. Bob says:

    I’m with you 100% on slowing down. People are always rushing to get around me, in fact I got honked at yesterday by a little old lady when I didn’t proceed through the yellow light at a busy intersection, ha. I wasn’t going, I’ve been ticketed for that before. And don’t get me started on the phones and facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. Are we broadening our intellect with these things or making it more narrow. I think they will eventually have to come out with a neck brace for people because they always have their head down looking at their phone. I say take a hike and see what nature has to offer you.

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Bob, yeah, the road is getting more dangerous, because many drivers are staring or even typing on the phones while driving. I really feel nervous when seeing the drivers around me who fuss about their phones. It’s good to watch out, and try to protect ourselves from those people.

      I agree with you, the nature is much prettier than what’s on the phone.

  7. Joe says:

    We dislike tour groups too. They’re always rushing us.
    I used to travel faster, but we slowed down a lot in recent years. It’s hard when you have a limited time. You want to see everything. But you can’t really experience a place when you travel that fast. Someday, I’d like to really slow travel. It’ll be much more enjoyable and relaxing.

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Yeah, following tour groups makes travel so restrictive. For me, I just hate shopping. But some tour groups arrange shopping as one activity. That’s another reason I stay away from them.

      With the luxury of time, travel could be more enjoyable. I like slow travels, and try to put less on the schedule.

  8. I’ve found that I tend to run in the fast lane and once a week move in the slow lane to check how all my accounts are doing. I know it’s easy to overlook things, so Sunday is usually be slow day to make sure that nothing has slipped by 🙂

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      That’s cool you are able to slow down once a week. Many people may not be able to. They are rushing 7 days a week, and it could be exhausting in the long run. Thanks for sharing your thought.

  9. Excellent post Helen! This is my first time visiting this site and it definitely won’t be my last. This is a lesson that everyone could use. With technology and the increased capabilities of what we can do, so many people want instant gratification and expect things yesterday. Is it necessary, not at all. But I love the advice about slowing down while driving and traveling. There isn’t anything that is worth getting a ticket or accident over because you are rushing. Similarly, why not take your time to take in the scenery and life, rather than rush through just to say that you visited a location.

    Thanks again for the read!

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Bert, thank you for stopping by. Yeah, instant gratification could really derail the long-term goals, and make life more hectic. In terms of driving, nothing is more important than safety. For travel, a lot of planning and money were involved. We got to make sure we have the time and energy to enjoy it, instead of rushing hop by hop.

  10. Mr. Robot says:

    Love the site Helen and couldn’t agree more on the slowing down part. Although I have to admit that’s it’s difficult sometimes. I’m pretty sure I control.my phone now and not the other way around. I quit Facebook and removed the LinkedIn app from my phone and installed an app that monitors time spent on it.

    At work we’re finally banning mobile phones from meetings. Love Simon Sineks take on this: “If you show up at a meeting and put that cell phone on the table, it says to the rest of the people in room that they are not the most important people in the room. And by the way, turning your phone upside down is not more polite.”

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Thank you, Mr. Robot. Yeah, it’s hard to slow down, as we are so used to the hustle and bustle every day. Social media is time consuming. I tried using Facebook and Twitter for one day, didn’t get used to it, and closed both accounts quickly.

      It’s probably a good idea to ban the cell phones from meetings, so people can make the meetings more productive. Sometimes, multi-tasking could be too distracting , and delay the important things.

  11. WTK says:

    Hi Helen,

    I totally agree with you on the need of slowing down. This is difficult in respect of the full-time employment. I am of view that this is only possible for early retirement.


    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Hi WTK, right, it’s hard to slow down when working full time. So many obligations, and deadlines. After retirement, it’s possible to slow down. I guess it depends on each individual. Some still like to keep a full schedule after retirement. I prefer a slow life.

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