Slowing down is not just about moving your body at a slower rate than normal. It is about putting yourself into every moment, seeing the world with your whole body. Breathing in the world through your nose, focusing your senses on your surroundings. When you slow down and put yourself into the moment, you notice a lot of things, like the cicadas flying from tree to tree on the side of the road. You learn that there isn’t much difference between you and everyone else. Slow Journalism embodies this idea and helps one utilize it in everyday life. It puts a new, beautiful view on things that you never would have thought about.
The dust blew into the hot air as the bus rolled by. We breathed it in—there was no escaping the cloud—and wished for rain, or better yet, a ride. The girl I was walking with had to repeat nearly everything she said because cerebral palsy affected her speech, but we didn’t mind. I simply listened, and we simply had a conversation. Not many people listened to her, she told me with a smile. That smile was the most beautiful thing I’d seen all day.
My shoes made a faint clop as they hit the sidewalk. Cars passed frequently with a woosh and a sudden unnatural wind. The faint smell of gasoline. A jogger passes, music blasting. An apartment to my right, a woman in the parking lot with arms full of groceries. A couple with a stroller, both the wheels and the child screaming. A siren in the distance, a restaurant serving lunch across the street. I smile and let myself get lost in the world.
My first milestone, from the National Jamboree, helped me realize that people who are often seen as “lesser” in today’s society are often ignored. The girl from my milestone is very intelligent young woman who is just as human as anyone else, but many people spoke to her as if she were dumb because of the assumptions they made about her. My second milestone helped me to realize that everyone is a different person. They each have their own lives and feelings, and every person has a different, beautiful story. At the Jamboree, I learned to connect with people from all backgrounds, even if I didn’t understand their language. The scouting themes guide my actions even more now than they did in the past as I continue to volunteer and talk to people I see who look down or lonely, or simply don’t mind spending a few moments talking to me. Before my new experiences, I was kind to everyone. Now, I try my best to love everyone as an individual, because everyone could be anyone.