The world is getter fasterThis morning I was reading this piece on Lifehacker about internet browser speed tests1 and was struck by this sentence:

“Firefox seriously improved this time around, but not enough to catch Opera, while Chrome stayed agonizingly slow once again.”

The agonising slowness to which they refer is the time it takes to load 9 tabs at once. The agonisingly slow wait for Chrome?

Fifteen seconds.

A world of speed.

We live in a world where everything is getting faster.

New breeds of electric cars are reaching speeds that would have drained the battery of the original models in seconds.

A friend of mine told to me on Facebook just last night that they enjoy broadband speeds of 100Mbps, which is soon to be increased to 300 (three hundred!).

My phone is now faster, more efficient and has more memory than the first three home PC’s my family ever owned put together.

The speed with which we acquire information and gather data is increasing to the point where there is no delay in me sending an email and my colleagues receiving it on their Blackberries (Blackberrys?). My phone will iMessage another iPhone the instant it tells me it’s been sent – no more waiting for SMS to wind its way over the airwaves.

Everything is fast. But how do we – the analogue human species – keep up with a world that’s growing faster than any of us can imagine?

Finding your own pace

The answer, of course, is that we can’t.

We can’t possibly hope to maintain the speed of growth and acceleration that is being thrust upon us; we can’t change as quickly as technology can. Just witness my mum trying to get her head around the use of a touch-screen phone…

Instead, the onus is on all of us to find our own pace and our own place within that world.

My connected realisation

A few weeks ago as part of my birthday present from K, we spent an afternoon at a spa having treatments and chilling out.

It was during the second treatment of the day – a dry-floatation experience – and the subsequent chill-out session in the wet spa that I came to realise that I’m not good with nothing.

It used to be that I could happily sit quietly with my thoughts, let my mind wander and be happy in silence. In the spa I found myself restless; I even got bored during the sensory-deprivation of the floatation. I didn’t know what to do with myself when all there was to do was nothing.

Honestly, I find it a little worrying.

I love solitude, I love the freedom from technology and being disconnected for periods of time. But I apparently can’t cope with inactivity. If I’m not doing something, a weird alarm seems to sound in my head to make me change it up.

Whether or not that’s a reflection on my state of mind or my position as part of the fabled Generation Y of the late-80’s, early-90’s upbringing, the MTV generation with an attention-span of a knat with ADHD, I don’t know.

Set your pace

More than anything what that experience and the article this morning have shown me is that we are in charge of what we consume, how we consume it and how fast we choose our lives to be.

If your browser takes 15 seconds to load all the tabs you want to read, is that really a problem?

Starting today, I’m going to make a conscious effort to slow myself down, to take more time over the things that matter to me and to be more aware, more mindful, of the world around me and the situations I find myself in.

There are abundant quotes about the brevity of life, the fleeting nature of our stay here on earth, and if nothing else my own experiences have taught me that time and time again. Why, then, do we strive to make the time pass even quicker, with less attention to the beautiful details of the world around us?

What do you do to appreciate the world around you? How do you set your own pace?


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Photo courtesy by John Talbot via Flickr

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