The Joys of Taking it Easy
I've always taken it easy .. now my friends are starting to slow down and understand just why!
I’ve always been one of life’s slow coaches. I’ve never been in too much of a hurry to get anywhere. I like to notice things along the way. I have never seen the point in running when you can dawdle and really take in the world around you. If travelling in a pack, I am happy to let someone else go on ahead, I will keep up the rear. After all, if we encounter danger, I am in the most sensible place for retreat. You might think I’m holding everybody up, but I just have a strong instinct for survival. And that is a good thing, anthropologically speaking. Right?
I’m a slow eater. It drives my family mad. My parents quickly regretted their “nobody leaves the table until everyone has finished eating” rule when it became obvious they would still be at the table when the 10 o’clock news started. My Mum, one of 9 children, blamed it on me being an only child. There was no natural prey ready to snatch the food off my plate, so I could take my time, and really savour every mouthful.
I’m a child of the 80s, when environmental problems first came to light, and we learned about waste and pollution at school. So I am all about the energy conservation. I don’t believe in expending any unnecessary precious energy on movement when my brain might need it later. I save it up for an particularly strenuous Guardian Cryptic Crossword, or for when I’m trying to work out who that bloke was, you know, he was in that film, with the blonde one, he was married to whatshername, won an Oscar for the one with the monsters. You know?
My Dad would say to me “If you were any slower you’d just stop, any more laid back, you would fall over”. And I never understood why that was a bad thing.
Why grab a quick lunch at your desk when you can luxuriate over it in a park?
Why run anywhere? Your knees won’t thank you in the long run, be kind to them now
Most places you are going to will still be there 10 minutes after you said you would be, so why kill yourself to make it on time?
I believe that being slow can get you where you want to be much faster. As a stand up comedian, to the outsider, it looks like my career has moved incredibly quickly. But, despite wanting to be a comedian for as long as I remember, I waited until I felt ready to do my first ever gig. I was 33. And throughout my comedy career, I never rush into doing anything before I am ready. I’d like to say that it is because I am thoughtful, conscientious and plan things meticulously. It is actually that I am an over-cautious slow coach. And it has served me well.
In any job if you are too keen to get going up the ladder you end up saying “yes” to doing things before you are ready, you make a mess of it, and it is a long time until anyone asks you to do anything again. Slowly, slowly catchy the career monkey.
Now I am in my 30s, finally my friends are slowing down to meet me, and realising what a lovely slow world I’ve been living in all this time. I don’t have bad knees because I didn’t run everywhere. I don’t suffer heartburn because I didn’t inhale my food all my life. And I am enjoying moving slowly and cautiously through the best mid-life crisis of a career that a girl can have.
ANGELA BARNES is bringing her long-awaited solo debut show, 'You Can't Take it With You', to the Edinburgh Fringe this year.
Pleasance Cellar, 30th July – 24th August at 6:00pm
“Hers is a world-weary and devastatingly matter-of-fact outlook on the world that really makes her stand out” The Guardian
“Beautifully paced” Chortle