The speed of life changes with every following year. First, when a person is a child, time seems to move too slowly, it even seems endless. Growing older, time moves faster and faster, and a person cannot manage to do the entire job he/she planned to. The older a person becomes, the faster time passes by. It is important to realize that there is no time to slow down since life is too short to put off till tomorrow what a person can do today. This theme is significant for various audiences, since every human being wants to live a long, full of emotions and events, life. However, the contemporary world is too diverse, and among the highly-developed and fast-paced cities and countries there are many low-developed and slow places. In such places, people move slowly, and their lives seem to be too short and end quickly. Of course, they can live as long as other people do, however, the perception of their life-length will be different. If a person makes the same work daily, does not change his/her slow way of life, the time moves faster because of constant repetition of the events and actions. On the contrary, if a person hastens to live, always changes the places of being, travels a lot, and makes his/her life fully emotional, he/she will perceive time differently. It would be considered as a longer duration because there are much more things and moments to remember. Thus, when there are many events to keep in mind, even the shortest life seems to be the longest because it is filled with emotions. Though some individuals claim that fast-paced lifestyle can do harm, instead of slowing down, people should speed up the pace of life to make it longer.
To begin with, it is essential to identify what is meant by the notion “the speed of life.” The Professor of Archaeology April Nowell writes, “Life history is sometimes referred to as reproductive turnover or ‘the speed of life.’” Thus, the author describes the notion from a historical perspective. However, another writer, Steve Taylor, explains the speed of life from a psychological perspective. His explanation is the most appropriate one since it provides better understanding of why people perceive their life duration differently. He writes that people of different ages observe life differently. For instance, a child thinks that a two-hour trip continues the whole day, and an adult considers the same two hours move like a moment (Taylor). The lecturer explains such diversity in the following way; he gives examples of the three theories – the proportional, biological, and perceptional theory. The first theory suggests that when a person gets older, “each time period constitutes a smaller fraction” of the life as a whole (Taylor). That is why a child thinks that time moves too slowly because when he/she is six years old, a year is 1/6 of his/her full life. When a person is fifty years old, a year is 1/50 of his/her life, which is perceived as a short moment of being. This theory has some sense, however, it regards the speed of life only in terms of past.
Another theory is biological, which connects the perception of life duration to the human metabolism. Children’s heartbeat is faster, their breath is quicker, thus, they identify one hour as longer time than the adults do. There is also the “body temperature theory” (Taylor), which tells that the higher body temperature is, the longer time goes. A person with fever complains that time is dragging on too slowly, and it is really so since everyone could remember his/her illnesses and the feeling of its everlasting duration.
One more theory is the perceptual one, which explains the perception of time in the best way. It is people’s thought that creates a human experience, and time duration depends on it (Carlson). Therefore, children enjoy every moment of life; they observe beauty and attraction of nature and discover something new; thus, time seems endless for them. Older people lose this ability; everything becomes familiar for them, and they do not pay attention to details. When every day is similar to the next one, time is perceived as a tiny period (Taylor). One can argue and tell that it is better to slow down in order to prolong the life duration. However, it is not so since if people slow down, they will not be able to enjoy the fullness of their existence. Thus, it is important to compare the fast-paced and slow-paced lifestyles to convince people to live faster than they used to.
The contemporary world is too diverse to compare every country’s speed of life. Some of the states are fast-paced, others are slow-paced; some nations live better lives, and others live worse. In the article “The Pace of Life in 31 Countries,”Robert Levine compares walking speed, work speed, and the accuracy of public clocks to explore the speed of life in those countries. The creator is a Professor of Psychology, and he conducted the study for his research “A Geography of Time.” He found out that Japan and eight Western European countries (Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, England, Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands) “scored fastest overall” (Levine). The slowest countries are “Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico” (Levine). One can notice that these are non-industrialized countries, where only several people own automobiles, and public transport is untrustworthy. On the contrary, citizens of the well-developed and highly-industrialized countries live fast-paced lives. For example, “in New York, there is 45 seconds” in a minute instead of 60 seconds (Pedulla). In this megalopolis, people are always in a hurry. Time moves faster and faster, and citizens notice that after Christmas celebrating, the next Christmas is already coming. However, the United States, as a whole country, was a slow one and scored a 16th pace among the thirty-one states-participants. The slowest city is Los Angeles (Levine 456).
Its citizens walk slowly, speak sluggishly, and like to relax. Some fast-paced persons can argue that quality of their lives is worse than that of those who do not hurry to live. However, it is not always so. For instance, the comparison of Germany and Japan clearly shows the diversity. In Japan, people have much more working hours and less time for a vacation than the citizens of Western European countries, such as Germany. Thus, the quality of their life is worse. It is more stressful, time-urgent, and harassing. On the contrary, though German people live faster, they work less and relax more than other people. They are successful in time management and use it properly, so they can work and rest enough. Thus, they travel a lot, spend time with their friends and relatives, visit different places, and their lives are longer. The study shows that it is possible to speed up the pace of life and live happily and multifariously.
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There are those who would tell that it is better not to hurry up and live slowly. For instance, one English writer, Carl Honore, changed his fast-speed lifestyle in a slow movement (Bethune). He used to live fast, work hard, eat at his work place, and have no time for his children. However, everything changed in a moment when he read about “boiling classic fairytales down to 60-second sound bites” (Bethune). Honore realized that he could not live in such a way anymore, and the result of his thoughts became a book Praise of Slow. Today, the Londoner writer does not work on weekends, eats slowly, travels with his family, and has enough time to read to his children. Probably, his decision to live slower was good for him. However, people exist in a world of business competitions and struggle for earnings. Those who work harder and longer have grosser incomes. Moreover, if Carl Honore managed to combine shortened working hours and family life successfully, it does not mean that everyone can do the same.
For instance, if a middle-class family decides to slow down and work less, there is a possibility that they will become poor in several months. Someone would argue, telling that money cannot make people happy. Nevertheless, people cannot be happy without money. Moreover, in highly industrialized countries, there are many timesaving gadgets, which “bring luxury and ease into today’s fast-paced lifestyle” (Kern). Undeveloped states have nothing to boast about. For instance, one can remember the ancient people, notably from the Roman Empire, whose average life duration was about thirty-five years old (Karr). They worked hard and slow because they had no modern technologies, which could help them do their work faster. Their lives were routine – work, family, work, home. They were not in a hurry, but their lives ended too fast. That is why it is better to make a lot of things and visit different places now instead of waiting for an appropriate moment.
Most young people who live in undeveloped or developing countries and poor villages try to move to the big cities with more advantages in front of them. Highly-industrialized cities offer various possibilities to the youngsters. They can study, build their careers, and earn money for the future aims. Young girls and boys like living fast since it captivates them and makes their lives full of positive emotions. Their peers, who live in villages or settlements, do not see all the beauty of the world. They make the same work, meet the same people, and their life is routine and boring. Some individuals would tell that they are happy because they do not need to hurry and can enjoy every minute of their existence.
For example, the article “New York Family Leaves Fast-Paced Lifestyle for the Laid-Back South” by anonymous writer narrates about one New York family who left their fast-paced lifestyle and moved to Atlanta. Probably, the anonymous author may be considered as an unreliable source, but he or she interfered in private life, which can explain his/her anonymity. Therefore, the story tells that the family members enjoyed living in the suburban area because only there they felt the fullness of life for the first time. However, what can they enjoy if they do not see anything worth paying attention? At the beginning, everything is new and unknown, that is why it creates the feeling of novelty and pleasure. Nevertheless, after several months or, maybe, years, it will become the same, and they will realize that they lost the opportunity to find out something new in the big city. In the suburban place, life seems to be slow-paced but, when looking back, there is nothing to remember, and it passes like one moment.
The answer depends on the perspective of the issue’s perception. When speaking about the perceptional theory, it is possible to speed up in order to slow down the way of life. It seems unreal; however, it is quite achievable. The purpose is to live in the present but not in the past or future. People often think about daily problems, unsolved issues, or future plans instead of living in that particular moment. In the fast-paced lifestyle, it is necessary to change “mind time” to “emotional time” (“Time-Shifting: Slowing Down to Live Longer”). Men and women need to stop thinking and start feeling. That is all they need to succeed in their fast-paced style of life. They can look at Germans whose lives are fast but not routine. They established their personal culture, which allows them to stay a fast-paced nation and enjoy the life simultaneously. Since the highly-industrialized countries are economically stronger, and their citizens earn enough money, their pace of life is “positively related to economic vitality” (Levine). It is obvious that those individuals who earn more feel happier, since they can afford many things.
The study shows that faster places, such as Switzerland or Sweden, have the higher subjective well-being (Levine). Moreover, such places are more likely to have colder climates, healthier economies, and “to emphasize individualism” (Levine). There are certainly the exceptions, as everywhere, but the majority of fast-paced countries have positive outcomes. Undeveloped and slow-paced states, such as Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, El Salvador, Kenya, China, and others, showed negative results, and the level of citizens’ satisfaction was much lower (Levine). One can tell that people live longer there because of constant physical work they have to do. However, in these countries, the life duration does not differ much because there are other disadvantages in their slow-paced cultures. For instance, the level of marital pleasure is lower since families have problems with budget and work, which cause discords and dissatisfaction. Moreover, living in rural areas often causes inconveniences for the citizens to get to the shop or hospital, to buy some things or medicines, or just to get to the party. In highly-industrialized cities, a person can get everything he/she needs at any point. However, fast-paced life is not convenient for everyone.
The major groups of people who will enjoy fast lifestyle are youngsters who just begin to investigate the world. Older people would more likely choose still and slow life in a village or countryside, but young people would enjoy the fruits of life in a city. It is logical that almost every student desires to build a successful career and get plenty of positive emotions and feelings about the world. Thus, young people try to make their way in the megalopolises or other fast-paced places. This category of human beings is much more likely to succeed in their aspirations. Why do so many boys and girls from the developing or undeveloped countries decide to move to the flourishing states? They do it because they distinguish the advantages. They want to have good jobs, houses, cars, and other modern gadgets; they want to travel around the world and create happy families. When both husband and wife are satisfied with their jobs and can have a vacation in any place of the world, they will be happy together. On the contrary, when people live slowly, doing the routine work and getting scanty earnings to scratch out their living, the outcome is obvious. Such families cannot exist long, and they might be ruined after some time. Therefore, it is high time to change the current slow routine into a successful fast-paced lifestyle.
Many researches were conducted to compare and contrast two different types of countries – the fast-paced and slow-paced. Various studies showed that although many people claim that living slower is better, the level of life is better in the fast states. However, such a lifestyle is not for everyone. The target audience is the category of young and middle-aged people who wish to make their careers and create families. For children and older people, it is better to slow down and live comfortable lives in the suburban areas. Nevertheless, instead of slowing down, young people should speed up their life paces to get the desirable outcomes. Thus, in the fast-paced countries, people can work, get worthy salaries, visit different places on their vacations, and live happy lives. Those who live in slow countries, such as Kenya or Mexico, do not have the possibility to get well-paid work; moreover, they often have no work at all. Their lives are routine, time moves too slowly, and when they look back, there is nothing to recollect. On the contrary, the citizens of fast-paced countries live too fast but they can control their emotions and thoughts, which create the sense of time perception. Therefore, the efficiency of their lives depends on their ability to perceive the duration of time. Moreover, any person can adjust his/her existence to any lifestyle. It is easier to get used to slower life; however, it is not so easy to adjust to lesser earnings and worse possibilities. People always try to strive for the best; thus, they should choose the fast-paced lifestyle, since it can provide them all the advantages of happy living in the modern rapid world. If they still have doubts, they have to look at public persons, celebrities, famous and successful people who do not keep still but move on to their happiness and well being. All these people achieved progress because of speeding up their life paces.
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