Living a slow life is in alignment with every fiber of my homebody being.
I was the anomaly amongst my team, back when I was building an online business in a very hustle-centric atmosphere. When everyone was “hustling” for their last minute sales of the month, I was calmly making peace with having not met the company set goal.
I could release myself from an outcome based goal like nobody’s business.
I mean, to be fair, I met my goals more times than not. But if I didn’t, I was pretty okay about the whole thing. Judging by the frantic, stressed out messages I had to sift through every whatever-ember 30th, others were not so okay with it.
Slow living means defining success on your own terms, amongst other things.
Slow living isn’t introvert specific, but it is introvert embraced- and with good reason. Slowing down means spending more time in less activity. Or, more specifically, more time in more intentional activity.
What self-respecting intro is going to say no to that?
In reference to that former business I spoke of earlier, there was a lot of online networking. I mean, that was literally the point of the entire shin dig.
It exhausted me. Depleted me. Caused me to hide from the world more than once.
If I hadn’t developed a slower approach to the business, I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did. And slow and steady pays off. In fact, because of my “slow” mentality, I built for resididual income vs. immediate success… and six years later, I’m still reaping the rewards.
When you think of slowing down, think less is more. Think more nights staying in, curled up on the couch with a soft blanket and a favorite book.
Imagine, for a moment, that you don’t have twelve activities to fit into a seven day week, and that every member of your family isn’t going in a million different directions.
Picture a family meal, warm homemade bread and a rich, hearty, stew… conversation, laughter, and the occasional, totally innocent remark of “that is yuck!” from your very vocal three year old lingering in your ears.
In a nutshell, slow living is intentional living. It’s being present over being more productive. Slow living values the living part of life.
Don’t race to the finish line, folks. We’ll all get there and we’ll all wish we hadn’t gotten there so quickly!
This is the mentality of our current culture. There has never been a time, like the present, when more people were stressed, anxious, totally spent, living outside the realm of possible hours in a day, marginless and overwhelmed to the max.
Denouncing that idea is the first step to slow living. You’re not behind. You’re as far along as you need to be to deserve to live a pared back life.
I don’t know about you, but living at the speed of life can sometimes make my head spin. Now, not everyone is quite as “reserved” with their time, as I am, but I’m just saying… if I have something to do two days out of the week, I’m wondering where in the world I’m going to get the energy to go through with them both before the week even begins.
I’m a sad little introvert, I know.
1 . You make space for family connection. Before we moved to this home, almost four years ago, we lived on a lovely cul de sac full of lovely families. So lovely were they, that our five year old was border line obsessed with spending time with her friends, the children of said families. And so obsessed was she, that she, at five years old, turned down invitations to family ice cream trips in lieu of hanging with her pals. It hit me like a sack of bricks. If we were going to cultivate the family culture of our dreams, we were going to have to slow way down. Thank you, Jesus, for that revelation!
2 . You make space to breathe. It’s no secret that the last decades have gotten more fast paced, more busy, more crammed with activity. With insta connection via smart phones in every pocket, even those moments in which we used to be bored (or actually socialize), we can now satisfy our ever present need for entertainment by slipping into a silent scroll to pass the literal seconds in which we cant stand to not be occupied. What if, instead, we just…breathe? No input. No output. Just being in the present moment.
3 . You make space for intentionality. When you’re not racing around, reacting to everything around you, desperately rushing from one thing to the next, hurrying your kids through getting dressed and eating meals, frantically searching the house for that one shoe that always mysteriously disappears, you get to decide how to be. When you control your schedule, and your schedule is not controlling you, you get to decide what you value. What you prioritize. You get to take deliberate action to cultivate the atmosphere you want to create for your kids, your family, and those around you.
On board yet?
1 . Do what you can as you can. You can’t move a mountain in one day, but you can move a few rocks every time you walk past it.
2 . Concentrate on 1-3 key areas. You’ll likely find that slow living is an art, and it can be all encompassing in terms of what it affects. But just like everything else, changing every facet of your life can be overwhelming and not sustainable. Pick your next best move and do that well.
3 . Let go of the checklist. The whole point of slowing down is to quiet your life, heart, and soul. Don’t detract from that by comparing your slow to someone else’s slow, or being rigid in your efforts so that it becomes another area of stress. Take it easy. Enjoy the ride.
1 . Quit keeping up with the social media Joneses. In fact, quit social media altogether if you can. I know we all pretend we’ve got our internet life totally under control with these intermittent “fasts” and rules like “don’t check facebook in the first ten minutes of your day,” but I’m not convinced. I don’t think there’s anyone in our generation who wouldn’t benefit from peacing out of sm for good.
2 . Consider homeschooling, if it applies. Hot button topic, I realize, but the truth is…nothing preserves childhood and stretches out the very short years you have to shape, mold, nurture, and prepare your kiddos like bringing them out of the
indoctrination academic rat-race and allowing their true self to emerge. At their very own pace.
3 . Start preparing more homecooked meals from scratch. If you’re a fan of quick and easy, in terms of dinnertime prep, you are preaching to the choir. I was an even bigger fan of eating out like five meals a week, just a few short years ago. What I’ve learned, however, is that cooking is loving, knowing what ingredients are in each dish is wise, and deciding to enjoy something that you literally have to do every day of your momming life is a very good decision, indeed.
4 . Clear your schedule. This tip is likely to make my husband cringe, but here’s the thing… it’s your life and you get to call the shots. If you over-committed accidentally on purpose, fess up, and step back. It doesn’t have to be for forever, but don’t live in the fast lane because of someone else’s expectations for your life. Pray about it and let God tell you what to keep, what to drop.
5 . Create a daily rhythm. Knowing what to expect, and when you can expect it, isn’t just good for toddlers. It’s good for soul-weary adults, too. Of course, the things that are a part of your rhythm are as important as having the rhythm itself, but moving along with the ebbs and flows of the day can keep you grounded and present in each moment. There is a time for everything under the sun, after all.
6 . Journal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and I’ll probably bring it up in every third blog post I ever write…journaling is a great way to process information and filter out what needs to take up room in your brain and what can go. It’s meditative and therapeutic, and your thought life is one of the first areas that must embrace the “slow”. No sense in having space to breathe if you’re breathing into a paper bag by the end of every night!
7 . Get clear on your values and convictions. Making decisions that align with your core values will ultimately bring you more peace and a quieter spirit. It’s easy to pick up only what is going to further our goal of slow living, and decline that which would catapult us back onto the relentless hamster wheel, when we know why we’re choosing slow in the first place.
8 . Embrace offending others. Look, I’m a Christian and I’d like to think a relatively friendly person. But there have been times where my declining an invite has ruffled the feathers of an extroverted friend who just could not fathom why I’d rather stay home for the third straight day than join a caravan of play dating mamas to a public park. My slow life doesn’t have to look like your slow life, and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it even if you’re not.
9 . Know yourself. Call it self-awareness, call it knowing your number on the Enneagram, call it whatever you’d like. When you don’t know your max level of “speed” then you won’t know where you need to slow it down. If you can handle ten but not twenty playdates a week, then do it up. If you are like me and top out at one, stick to that like glue.
The point is, know where you’re comfortable living and give yourself margin around that. It’s super important in the slow living lifestyle to protect, fiercely, your time and energy!
10 . Try to remember that living is the point of life. The destination is not the goal, the journey. It sounds so cliche, doesn’t it? But it’s a remarkable idea when you sit with it a minute… every moment matters.
If you race through the “ordinary” to get to the “extraordinary”, you’re likely to find that you’ve spent 90% of your life trying desperately to get to the elusive, and fleeting, 10% goal.
There is not one moment in your life that doesn’t count towards the total of your life moments.