Advice to my younger self: Go at your own pace
Pace is a funny thing. The more we find ourselves worshipping at the altar of productivity the more we get caught up in our own busyness. Paradoxical as it may seem, our lives happen to perpetually oscillate between the extremes of haste and procrastination which lulls our lives into a jaded train of actions with very less thought into how we really should stop and live life at our own pace.
We’ve all heard the words, “Go at your own pace” so very often. It makes complete sense too. But does it apply to those times when your boss gives you a project with too short a time scale? Or when you have to reach a milestone without any deferment? And then there is this universal belief that taking up more commitments can help us progress more quickly in life and hence warrant success. But there is a point where that sense of urgency breaks and all you want to do is stop and amidst the need to slow down and the need to accomplish your tasks in time, you somehow end up doing nothing to perfection. What if you end up losing interest in the very things that you were once very passionate about? Even worse, what if you are worn out?
The truth is that everyone does have their own pace and to lead a more fulfilling life, it is important to recognize your personal “flow”. Knowing your pace shouldn’t pull down your morale, even if it seems to be relatively slower than others. We are all individuals and therefore our recipe for everything in life is entirely unique.
Recalling to childhood, it’s not hard to remember finding ourselves racing against time to finish our food before our siblings, to beat our class mates on the race track, or be the first to finish math problems. Every aspect of childhood life was dominated by this need of finishing first or fast. And like a faithful puppy, this belief follows us for the rest of our lives from completing our education to scoring the perfect job to purchasing our dream home. Untangling this psychological root system is a difficult thing and for the most part, we easily submit ourselves to this belief.
The idea of hastiness has somehow been honed into our psyche by society and it has managed to amplify in this age of technology. I strongly feel that we rush into things too quickly finding ourselves too caught up in the pressure of succeeding in our lives and endeavouring to match or surpass the people we look up to. In doing all of this, we lose sight of the fact that everything comes with time and our ambitions will be realized even if we worked at a pace that we were more comfortable with. Although digitization has proved to be a gift for those who love speed, quite sadly, I am guilty of trying to pick up my pace and go faster than what I normally would so that I can do more.
So does haste really make waste? This age old adage holds more meaning today than ever before. Doing things quickly is good, achieving success early is even better, but not by compromising your body and mind. Is all the pressure that you build up around achieving a goal worth it in the end, especially if it compromises your own health? In my opinion, accepting our unique flow and avoiding haste can reduce our worries, and all the stress that comes with it. It may be hard to imagine slowing down when everyone else is quickening their pace, but the joy of doing things at your pace, is immeasurable.
There truly is no need to rush into something that you may not be ready for or you may not be capable of yet. And the loveliest and most precious moments of life are often hidden in the things that you do for leisure; reading a book for example, or ideating about things irrelevant to your work, or taking a lazy mid-afternoon nap just to feel rested before you start working again.
I am not going to lead you to believe that my urge for taking on more work has subsided, but it has certainly simmered to make way for other things in my life. I find myself being more attentive to the needs of my body which leads to booking spa appointments, I also find myself spending more time with my husband and somehow my excitement for parties is waning. Instead of running too fast and pushing myself too far I am now going with my own flow.
It’s a daily check-in with myself to see how I am feeling. If I feel that I could do more then I allow myself to plunge into a busy schedule. But for 99% of the days when I feel that I am completely content with the work I am doing – I focus on myself. And I let the guilt of “being less” go out the window, because I know that I am working at a pace that I am comfortable with. I am improving in my very own ways and I am proud of it. I truly believe that if you simply continue doing what you love to do, with passion, and at your own pace… you’ll be just fine.
So I encourage you to find your own pace this week – or if nothing else, go slow until you have an inclination that you really need more. Give your work and yourself time truly deserved. I assure you that you will still meet your goals by moving slower. This one is for your body, mind and soul – they are long due the attention you should give to them. Let them move at the pace they were intended to.
What’s your take? Are you on your own pace? Or that of others?
Photographed by Pritam Ganguly
Retouched by Vidhya Sakar
Makeup by Debasish Das