This I Believe

Cindy - Lewellen, Nebraska
Entered on May 30, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: community

I believe that slower . . . is . . . better. I live in a small town. Or more accurately, I live OUTSIDE of a small town. Or even more accurately, I live outside a TINY town. This town contains approximately 290 souls.

Things are slow here. There is very, very little traffic. There are no stop lights. There is no road rage. People are not in any hurry to get anywhere because whenever they get wherever they’re going is exactly when they’re supposed to be there.

There are very few billboards on the highway since there isn’t much to advertise. One advertises the local service station, where you can get “full service with a smile.” They actually come out and pump your gas and wash your windshield. I ride my bike across the air hose that rings the bell in the summertime. You don’t have to get out of the car since they will “write it down,” which means they’ll put it on your account and send you a bill at the end of the month.

We have three television channels. Three. We don’t watch much. And when we do watch it’s usually public television. History. Science. Nature. Politics. Generally in that order. When we do watch network television we don’t watch or listen to commercials. They’re loud and bawdy. And a huge assault on my senses. So we leave the TV off most of the time. My young nephews, who live in the city and have every electronic gadget known to man including their own laptop computers, asked me if we had a TV. It was sitting right behind them. When I pointed it out, they said, “Don’t tell me. It doesn’t work.”

We don’t read the newspaper, as there isn’t really one here. There’s a local paper that comes out weekly every Wednesday. It gets read by Friday and then goes in the pile of papers to be used as tender in the woodstove. Every week I can read about who won at bridge, who traveled out of town, who died, who got born, and who got married. In the warm months I read it while sitting on the porch swing listening to the birds.

We listen to news on the radio. Public radio. It gives our tiny little world some perspective. And the classical music serves as a soothing comfort to my already tortured soul.

You see, I have bipolar disorder. It doesn’t make me slow, as in mentally retarded, but it does require a different mindset than the usual hurried and rushed society we have created. Mixed with a little anxiety, my life is a constant struggle between not being able to get out of bed and crying most of the time, to shaking in stressful situations and uncontrollable irritability.

Keeping the level of assault on my senses at a minimum is one of the ways I survive. I CHOOSE to live in this quiet, subdued, SLOW place because my personality more or less demands it. Most people can’t, won’t or don’t understand this, including some of my family, who live in urban areas.

Living in this place gives me a sense of calm and peacefulness. It allows me to close my eyes and breathe a deep breath at a corner without someone honking at me or to run in the creek outside my living room window naked without worrying that someone will see me.

So you see, I truly believe that slower . . . is . . . better. You should try it.