Today is the 9th day of 2019. Several days ago, I went to my dentist to have a teeth cleaning. The Dental Hygienist, Mike, happens to be a doctor from China, and he has a traditional Chinese medicine background. He told me that from my teeth and oral environment, it seems that I have been quite tired and stressed for a while. “You need to slow down,” he said. What he said is true. I have been feeling tired for a while, but I haven’t realized it.

“Slow down?” I asked myself. How could I slow down? I have been on a fast track for a while. I can cook three dishes in 30 minutes. I listen to an audiobook while driving. I restrict my cell phone usage for chatting or leisure purposes to less than 45 minutes per day. I have a list of annual goals as I mentioned in my last blog. I even don’t like to hang out with people who are slow. When my son is dragging time and not doing a reading or things I consider “useful of time,” I become impatient and direct him to utilize his time wisely.

I set timelines and goals, which are time bounded. In my life, I have lots of schedules and goals; all of them drive me on a fast path. I want every day to be very fulfilling.

However, starting from 2 weeks ago before Christmas, I caught the flu, and it still hasn’t gone away. I have been doing self-reflecting. Why does it take so long this time?

I am usually very energetic. According to my friend in my workplace, he said that I am the most energetic person he had never met. My friends were also amazed that I could multitask and do everything well. Usually, flu only takes me 2 -3 days to get over.

But this time, this flu, it started in 2018 and arrived in 2019. It is still sticking around and not willing to go away. I seems to me that it’s the time to learn to “slow down.”

Today I practiced a new piece on the piano. In the beginning, my ten fingers couldn’t cooperate well. I became a bit impatient after a few minutes of playing the wrong notes. After a while, I told myself that I had just learned piano for three months. I needed to slow down. Lots of skills require practice.

After 15 minutes of practice, half of my fingers started to work with each other. After another 15 minutes, the short piece started to run as a whole under my fingers.

I looked at my timer, 35 minutes. It took me 35 minutes to start from 0 and organize the pieces into something called music.

Two days ago, I told my friends, “My flu has to be over this week; otherwise I will be losing my temper.” Immediately, I realized that I have been impatient again.

There is an old saying: “Time will prove everything” but people are not patient to wait for time to prove things.

In our lives, we have an overload of information around us since the Internet news and information became available by one swipe. Lots of things are like racing with each other to see which runs first and fast. Hard work pays off, but people can’t wait for the pay-off and give up on hard work.

I listened to an annual speech by Zheng Yu Luo –the Founder of Luo Ji Si Wei in China. (Luo Ji Si Wei is a China-based talk show, and provides a mobile app which allows users to subscribe to learn from key opinion leaders (KOLs)).

In his 2018 year-end talk show, he mentioned the “microtrend” in 2019, which is small and fast like a short tour train. Unlike the macro trend, a micro trend likes small stops and fast routes. Lots of business opportunities are like a short-lived flower, which needs sensitivity to feel it and have it bloom. People are not patient doing deep research, but they want to get things done fast. People read fast news, fast articles and they are afraid of missing out on the “microtrend” because of acting slowly.

How many of us can read one book every month? But we read online news every day. When we need to know something, we do one click and Google it. I tried to do yoga but gave it up since the pace is way too slow and I can’t bear it before I understand the beauty of “slowing down.”

The whole society is in a fast-paced rhythm. People order food delivery, and they track the delivery route. If it is within 30 minutes, it’s bearable. Otherwise, people will rate it “slow.” There are lots of benchmarks for customer services response time. If it is 24 hours and responds in several minutes, it is marked “acceptable.” Otherwise, people will feel dissatisfied. In China, if you order something online in the morning, in lots of tier 1 and two cities, you can receive the goods in the afternoon.

Today I had a walk with my good friend, Diana, after lunch. I noticed that there are some tiny green roots that are trying to burst from the soil on the ground around the office building. I work here every day from 9 to 5, but I did not even notice the beautiful surroundings change daily, and there are four distinctly beautiful seasons in Vancouver. The golden leaves hang on the trees under the clear blue sky. And they fall to the ground in the fall. I usually take a quick peek but don’t stop to enjoy a moment of slowing down.

Nowadays, not only I but lots of people need to slow down: to hang out with kids, good friends and family, ride a bike by the lakes or do some hiking; or stay at home, use “a slow cooker” to stew a beef soup, and enjoy the “slow” moment.

In 2019, I need to learn to slow down a bit now and then. I hope that you, my friends, can also enjoy the beauty of slow moments in your life.