I love the random synchronicities that sometime occur in life. I just finished reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (I highly recommend it), in which the main character finds out about a secret society which has been trying to decode Aldus Manutius' codex vitae (book of life) for over 500 years. The society's members believe that the book will give them the secret to eternal life. The society has a income-earning arm called the Festina Lente Company, and when they greet each other, they often say festina lente. I don't recall if Sloan defined what the phrase meant in her book; it doesn't matter since if she did, I didn't remember.
While walking through the Valdez harbor the day after I finished reading this book, I saw a boat called Festina Lente. What else could I do but look it up? It was fate. I pulled out my trusty HTC One with internet access right there on the dock and googled the phrase. It means "make haste slowly."
Make haste slowly. How oxymoronic, but how wonderful. The idea is that even when the task is urgent, it should be undertaken with care. The faster you try to do something, the more likely you are to make mistakes, and therefore the more time the task will take in the long run. I don't know about you, but I know this is a lesson I've needed to learn more than once.
I've been especially bad about heeding this lesson in recent years. I've become very resistant to undertaking projects that will take significant amounts of time and care. I have become a slave to "instant gratification." As my dear hubby likes to point out, I don't create art, I manufacture pretties (my word, not his). I quickly jot down these blog posts, but don't work on the essays and stories that will really require my time and attention. Even at work I tend to procrastinate on tasks and then toss out something that's good enough.
It has become popular in recent years to avoid goal-oriented, failure-inducing New Year's resolutions, and instead formulate intentions. Other people choose a word or phrase to guide them throughout the year. I did none of these this year, but maybe I still should. Perhaps my guiding phrase for the year should be festina lente. Make haste slowly. It will require practice, but then I suspect that's part of the point.