You've probably heard about the slow living movement, as its close relatives simple living and minimalism, but what is it exactly and how can it help us?
After becoming a mother I found myself questioning my direction in life. As a stay at home mum I had so much time to think and think and think. You know, all those big questions. Am I happy? What do I want to do with my life? Should I change my loungeroom design?
All this thinking gave me the space to truely dissect what I wanted in life, and it set me on a new direction: a slower direction.
SLOW - Sustainable, Local, Organic, Whole
To me, slow living is more than just moving at a leisurely pace. It's about adopting the SLOW principals (sustainable, local, organic, whole) and being more intentional in every day decision making so that you can live a life you love.
It's using the crockpot on Sundays, learning how to do embroidery by hand, and maybe getting some chooks. It's getting back in touch with the community (the one that actually breathes the same air as you). Slowing down the pace of life and being resourceful; using what you have on hand, rather than always seeking new.
Adopting a slower lifestyle can improve your health and wellbeing, save you money and improve your relationships. For me it's also about being more responsible - for myself, my children and my footprint.
Breaking the cycle
It's so easy to get caught up in the rat race. There's so much pressure to live a 'successful' life with a focus on your bank balance and having a career. But the problem is focussing so heavily on those things can come at a huge personal, social and environmental cost.
It becomes a counterproductive cycle as we spend most of our time working so we can afford to spend money making up for the things we don't have time for. I like to call it the work-earn-spend cycle and it's really unsustainable for our long term wellbeing, our community and the environment.
I think our data-driven, fast-paced lives with cutting edge technology at our fingers tips 24/7 is potentially doing us as much harm as it is good. Sure it makes life easier in some ways, but at the same time, in a world of social media and virtual connectedness, I have never felt lonelier. For me, and many like me, the hi-gloss plastic packaging that surrounds our modern lives has lost its shine, and we are now rebelling in the pursuit of slow.
By slowing your lifestyle you can spend more time being more present, living for the moment, finding joy in the ordinary and simply enjoying the 'good' things in life, without having a hyper-negative impact on communities or the environment.
Where to begin
It all sounds very trendy, but how can we actually slow down, while at the same time keep up in this modern world? Sure, the idea of turning into barefoot farmers is an appealing one, but I do like my luxuries from time to time (hello pedicures), and I want to be able to retire and travel, and that takes money.
First you need to start with a clear picture of what you want and what you value.
I used to think I wanted, no HAD, to be filthy rich to be happy, but as an adult, I have long realised that a) it's not all that realistic and b) not really important. Really, we just need enough money to live our dream life and for us that includes being able to travel, own our homestead, have a boat and our own business. Your Dream Life Starts Here by Kristina Karlsson really helped me sort out this vision so I could start living more intentionally.
Second you need to form new habits and learn new ways of living that are more aligned to your vision. This is where the magic happens. It's about balancing the things you want to achieve with living now and what's available to you in your current season of life.