I thought I should write a few things about this thing called “slow living” and how I perceive it as an idea and lifestyle. First of all, there is no “rule” board or specific regulations that you must follow, anyone can translate it the way they want. It is a broad idea, that first started as “slow food” and actually taking the time to cook and sit around the table to eat properly and it expanded in a more “way of life” kind of thing.
Our lives have become so hectic and stressful and fast that there is hardly any time to stop and observe the details, listen to nature’s sounds or smell the roses as they would say. I know the stressing part a little too well, as I am like this during summer time (and maybe even all year round cause I carry the stress with me during the winter too), but this year I just couldn’t take it any more. It started affecting my health. And it is funny cause being in the touristic business for the season and working on a Greek island doesn’t sound as a bad workplace at all. But that is not the case for me, as I do not perceive it that way. I am always running like crazy, working too hard, stressing too much and actually never enjoying the beautiful nature that surrounds me. This year, I decided that this should stop. Losing your life moments over work and “to do” lists is a disease of our century. And I can not go like this much longer.
My way of understanding “slow living” and gradually incorporating moments of it in the daily life, is simple actually. It is valuing those everyday moments with your loved ones, taking the time to listen to your favorite music or read a good book, avoid tech a little bit, do garden stuff, like planting your favorite flowers and watch them blossom, or eat from your home-grown vegetables or fruit. It is making healthier choices, eating more clean and natural, walking distances that you would normally be tempted to take the car for, slowing down and following a different pace in life. And you know what? Staying in bed with a cozy pile of blankets and your cat curled on top is not bad either. Now, I know that I may be a little bit lucky that at least during winter time I do not have to set an alarm clock to wake up every morning (although I do) and that working from home is a luxury nowadays, but still, I think anyone can bring slow living moments into their lives even as it is.
So here are some steps I have taken this far towards a slower life. Of course I am not completely there yet, as this idea started bugging me during one of my stressful summer nights – which is quite recently, but I plan to work on mindfulness and observation of moments and all those “greys” in between the black and white. As a start, I quit watching TV, which was an easy step actually as there is no need to treat my brain like a trash bin. I try not to put more that two tasks on my plate per day, as I know that anything more than that will start pressing me too much. I go to the kitchen to have my morning coffee, instead of instantly bringing it up in front of my computer screen just cause “e-mails are waiting”. Taking my time with breakfast while gazing out of the window to the trees in the garden is an essential process. The day starts much healthier like this. I try going to the local market to buy the grocery and flowers every week, which is lovely quality time when you exchange all these hello’s with people and eventually get to make new friends. I moved back to my (empty for 4 years) birth house, which is situated in the suburbs and there I can have a garden, my animals happy, no stress for a parking spot and cleaner air. Actually this step, started it all. Minimizing my possessions by donating any unnecessary things to people in need (lately these are the people coming from Syria), is a necessary step in my opinion, cause slow living also means simple living. A good selection of only the basics cleans your head from the clutter and your heart from the “guilt” of over-consumption.
Now, I know that it sounds contradicting that right know I am actually on a computer screen writing all of this, but for me, sharing my thoughts and goals is another small step towards letting go and actually not burying the idea in my head, just when the stress will again try to take over. It is one more small battle. Towards a happy life. As it should have been, before we forget it on the way.
Funny as it may seem, slowing down in life and “wasting” some moments on quality time, will actually make life have less of a “ticking by” feeling and more actual moments worth living.
What does “slow living” mean to you? 🙂