Fast Pace, Snail's Pace


March, 2019


Let's Slow Our Pace . . . Sometimes!

When I press “publish,” and this month’s blog is instantly available at my website, I sure do love technology.

When I press “send,” and each blog subscriber receives an email announcing that the current month’s offering is available, I am so thankful.

Within minutes, my email is in multiple mailboxes. If the email is opened, a mere click on a link takes that reader immediately to my blog. How efficient! How lickety-split!

Modern technology enables this fast-paced communication. It is a joy-producer because it makes efficient use of our time. When technology facilitates connection and expedience, I’m all in.

But . . . (There’s often a but, isn’t there?) . . . what are we missing in this dogged pursuit of efficiency? The personal touch. And no doubt, much more.

In a 2005 article titled, “In Praise of a Snail’s Pace,” Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman wrote: “I would no more send an e-condolence than an e-thank you or an e-wedding invitation.” I really resonated with Goodman’s column and have saved a hard copy of it since 2005. Like her, I look forward to those times when I can “exchange the Internet for the country road.”

That said, I am guilty of sending e-condolences and e-thank you's. In this era, we may not even have the snail mail address for people we are in touch with online. Hence, we send comfort or express gratitude electronically. Better something than nothing, I suppose.

An e-message isn’t necessarily any less valuable or meaningful. Comforting or congratulatory words are nice to read, no matter how they are delivered. Perhaps Ellen Goodman would disagree with me. Perhaps she would argue that a handwritten message that has been placed in an envelope, addressed, and stamped, conveys not just “you matter” but “I am willing to slow my life down long enough to communicate something to you.”

The older I get, the more I am a fan of the snail’s pace, even though I’m as guilty as anyone else of hurrying through life way too much. At the risk of being old-fashioned, I hope snail-paced mail makes a comeback.

Just don’t ask me to forgo the efficiency of pressing “publish” or “enter!” Without that efficiency, I’d never get out on that country road. There’s real joy there.


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#snailspace #upsideoftechnology #EllenGoodman #expedience #condolences

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