Shutterstock Zhuravska Olena Paul Hewitt

On the creative benefits of going slow

As Disability Pride Month draws to a close, Deliveroo’s global head of creative Paul Hewitt reflects on losing his mobility in his late 20s and how it taught him to value a slower pace of life and work

Last month, I turned 30 years old. I often get, ‘Omg, you’re so successful for your age’. Maybe. The thing is, two years ago, mid-pandemic, I nearly died. Young, queer, and with no degree working in a big-ass company – feeling like an imposter, like I didn’t belong, working harder and harder to earn my place there. Through a toxic combination of burnout, dehydration, stress and sitting at my desk for long hours, blood clots formed in my leg and lungs, messed with my body’s blood circulation and left me unable to walk without aid.

And now I feel robbed – and conned. Is this really success? I’m pretty sure my generation will be boiled to death in the ocean, but we’ll still turn up to work to sell mobile phones, or burgers, or whatever. This is the success myth – and it’s a trap.

Initially, I resented the limitations of my mobility, which led to months of depression. But, what if slow is power? After I was originally hospitalised, I recall one of my first trips back into the real world. For safety, I’d begun to wait for the figure on the pedestrian crossing to turn green so I knew I could make it across the road without being run down.