Slow Down, Kid

By Victoria Sananikone, Editor In Chief

Photos from Google and Justseeds

I recently finished up a 10-day quarantine that I decided to wait out back in Texas. On my 12-hour drive back to Illinois, I couldn’t get enough of the TED Radio Hour podcast, each episode resonating deep within me. There was one episode titled “Slowing Down,” that talked about the stigma associated with procrastinating, a practice we have always believed to be detrimental to our productivity and overall success. These concepts are simply not true. It’s not just procrastinating; the world continuously feeds us the idea that we cannot slow down.

You have to live fast and furious. You cannot look back. You have to be one step in front of your competition, or you will fall behind. If you want to be successful, you must always be working.

As I have grown older, these illogical blueprints to success have increased their weight upon my shoulders, and as I finish up undergrad, they have swallowed me whole. I still participate in my favorite pleasures in life such as reading, hanging out with my friends, and watching movies and shows, but while I indulge myself, I find it hard to tune out the voice in my head that demands me to get back to work.

Have you ever heard of Norwegian Slow TV? Check this out:

I dare anyone who’s reading this to watch the full seven hours 14 minutes and 13 seconds of that video. Sit back, grab a bag of popcorn, maybe crack open a cold one, and enjoy the ride. This lengthy video takes you on a train ride from Bergen, Norway, to the capital city, Oslo. It’s as if you’re sitting at the front of the train encased in a bubble, watching the Norwegian plains pass by as the train propels along the tracks. The forest-covered mountains loom closer and reflect off the lakes as you continue the ride. Periodically, the screen goes black for a few seconds as the train enters a tunnel, emerging through the end where you’re greeted by little houses nestled along the green hills. As the train slowly approaches the snow-capped mountains, you begin to notice snow peppering the ground beside the train tracks. You pass through another tunnel and suddenly everything is covered in snow and the white mountains stand before you, growing closer by the second. You’ll most likely find yourself hypnotized by this production, relaxed as you take in the beauty of this country.

A still from the train ride from Bergen to Oslo

The idea of slow TV was to help viewers escape the fast-paced chaos of life, an outlet where they can find comfort in life’s simplicities. Since the train ride from Bergen to Oslo was aired, the popularity of slow TV in Norway has skyrocketed. You can now find boats gliding across waters, fires popping and crackling on your TV, women knitting in peace, and even salmon swimming upstream, all videos that last for hours on end.

Thomas Hellum is one of the brains behind the genius of slow TV and conducted a TED talk that explained his goals for these productions.

“People ask me about slow TV,” Hellum said. “They ask “could this be done elsewhere in the world?” or “are Norwegians particularly crazy?” And I don’t think we are. I think we have, with the slow TV, done something that we act to a need among people. Trying to tell a story in full length, it can be a window to the world. If you go on a train journey, if you go on a boat journey, you experience it in the same slow way. And that’s made me appreciate slowness because it gives the viewer a possibility to take back some of that control.”

Thomas Hellum, one of the brains behind the idea of slow TV

I crave the simplicity and the slowness of my childhood. The child who devoured a novel every three to four days. The child who watched copious amounts of cartoons without any guilt. The child who needn’t worry about anything. So, I have allowed myself to slow down and reconnect with her. I encourage you to do the same. The other day, I swept my homework aside and began a new novel. Last night, I let myself watch Netflix before I went to bed. Before I begin homework, I have started to engage my mind by writing for pleasure which has helped my thoughts to flow.

We lose ourselves in the race to achieve success. It’s almost as if slowing down for a moment will end with our own demise. To all of the anxious college students: slow down, kid. You have to let yourself rest every once in a while with a clear conscience. To all of my fellow seniors, we got this, dudes. You’re going to finish that assignment. You’re going to get that job after you graduate. But first, slow down. Life has the ability to be more joyous if we cease to worry over what is to come and how we will get there.

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