One of the things I have often been called is a sloth. I am bringing this up because I just read an article on this amazing animal in the New York Times called, “The Sloth’s Busy Inner Life.” The author concluded the article by saying, “O.K., back to your harried, fast-paced schedules. But remember the sloth, which has solved all its problems by living in the slow lane.”
My life could be tidily summed up by, “she lives in the slow lane.” It is inconceivable for me to do anything fast. Or, intensely . . . or a lot of. Throughout my life I have lived simply, slowly and thoughtfully. I guess what I do best is think, and even this I do slowly.
At one of my marketing jobs I was forced a couple of times to write something fast. When I realized how hard this was for me, I hired a PR firm to do it. Problem solved. At my last job, I made sure that I knew about all my writing assignments well before they were due . . . and since I worked from home, nobody saw how long it took me.
If I had to write posts for this blog on a schedule, I would rarely post anything. The topics I write about have to come intuitively like a summer breeze or the whiff of a fragrance. Most topics come in the morning, right after I wake up. If no topic comes, I don’t force it. Also, if I get into writing something and it starts to fizzle, I just drop it and move on to doing something else.
One of the highest rated novelists, Donna Tartt, publishes a book every ten years. She gives herself ten years to write a great novel. It took me nine years to get a B.S. degree. My downstairs neighbor complains that I never work, but I do. When I need to. My philosophy about work is that it’s a necessary evil. (My favorite TV character when I was young was Maynard G. Krebs). If I have enough money to not work, I don’t, but when I run out of money, I do. So while everybody I know is working all the time to be rich when they retire, I have had many retirements.
Yesterday I had my hair highlighted by my favorite stylist. She is unbelievably slow. The woman who recommended her switched to another stylist because she was so slow. But a year ago, this stylist opened her own one-woman salon and it’s doing great. She can work at her own pace, in an environment that she created. She even has a little dog that greets people when they come in . . . and then goes to off to its cushion to sleep.
I used to be offended when people called me a sloth, but no more. This animal looks happy and is adorable, it sits in a tree most of its life, and it grows its own ecosystem in its fur. I think I have finally found my familiar.