Slow IS fast.

Jen Xu
6 min readJan 20
Reminding myself to breathe deeply more often…to stop and look at the leaves…and slow down.

For the longest time, I’ve known that I move too quickly. I move faster than my brain can think. I’m always moving, and going, and going.

I’ve heard it from my mom. As a kid, I was somewhat clumsy, and my mom always told me to just slow down. She would tell me over & over again to think more before I spoke, and I just couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to do that.

One time in college, someone called me a spaz because I was in the university cafeteria trying to make a decision on…something. I distinctly remember just freezing, the whole paralysis-by-analysis thing, and I dropped my Tupperware lid, and she said that. It was a frustrating moment because I couldn’t figure out how to explain that my brain and body just never stop moving. I don’t know, that’s always a weird memory to explain, but I just remember always hearing that I move too quickly.

I heard it from some preceptors. One time, I was wheeling away a cart with a 10-gallon cooler on it, and I was moving too quickly, trying to get it done. My preceptor stopped me, and told me that I didn’t need to rush. He told me that it was okay to slow down so I wouldn’t spill anything. He was the first person I can remember who told me that it was okay to slow down. I started to see that we can do things in different ways and be more effective. Nevermind efficiency all the time — effectiveness is also important. I think athletic training education in general teaches us that faster is better, but it needs to…slow down (for the most part, obviously faster is better in emergencies!). Which is tough to do when you’re being asked to do 300 jobs, but that might be another issue in itself — are we being asked to do too much? A story for another time, but good food for thought.

When I was an intern with Real Salt Lake, I remember filling water bottles with ice and water before practice with my fellow interns. They were going really fast, and I couldn’t match their pace, and I got frustrated. But then I started dropping ice and spilling water and I just…had to slow myself down. I had to physically freeze, take a deep breath, mutter under my breath to myself to slow down, and I moved in a way where I felt like…I was watching my body from above. Super weird, but it worked. I stopped spilling. I did things my way. I was a minute slower. But I completed it — a non-urgent task.

Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.