WHAT IS SLOW LIVING?
Is it sustainable? Yes; is is it simple? Yes; is it slow? No, not really. The other day I received an email from a friend asking me for advice on slow living. I was so pleased to be asked something so personal and sincere but when I sat down to reply my excitement waned; I realised I didn’t know what to say.
In my eagerness to hand over ‘words of wisdom’ I never gave a second thought to the idea that I might not know what I’m doing! It dawned on me that slow living doesn’t come with a mantra or a step by step guide. It’s not a simple case of, “take time to meditate and breath each day and all your wishes will come true”. Slow living is a name, phrase, thought and idea which seems to have sprung out of nowhere like a snow drop in spring; a bell like bulb carrying the key to a calm and complete life. The antidote to the idea of ‘having it all’.
Having realised this I thought I should attempt to make sense of it all, if anything just to make up for the flimsy reply I ended up sending my friend. Plus I’d like to be able to sit back and contentedly read over this later, knowing that I tried my best. So, where to begin?
From what I’ve learnt, slow living is in fact anything but slow. When we went to stay at Fontanaro Farm for the Olive Harvest Retreat, our wonderful host, Alina told us that, “In Italy we have always been slow living. It doesn’t mean we don’t get things done, it just means that we always make the effort to savour and enjoy each moment”. Now I have to admit that wasn’t a direct quote, it was just a vague summation of what I learnt from her, but the essence of what she said is there (minus her beautiful Italian accent). The important thing to remember is that slow living IS NOT SLOW. It does not involve waking up late and lying on the beach all day (that’s a gap year).
Slow living is sustainable. When I started this blog I wanted it to be a place for H and I to begin creating the lives we’ve endlessly dreamt of- owning landing, building a home and being free to create what we want. However, as things developed we were lucky enough to be introduced to likeminded people, sharing similar hopes and aspirations as part of their approach to slow living. When I say that slow living is sustainable I mean it in every sense of the word: Our friends in Italy run a sustainable farm, generating as much of their own energy as possible and growing their own food, whilst our friends in Yorkshire have found a way to transcend the rush of everyday life and make slow living a part of their daily routine. In other words, slow living is not a crash course or fad diet, it’s something that can and should be sustained.
Finally, slow living is simple. For me it’s simply the knowledge that a community has come together to commit to getting more out of each day. Just the thought that we all care about the same thing is enough to keep me on track. Harrison will vouch for the fact that I regularly have days where I just crash. Like literally everything comes crashing down and I’m in bed for 24 hours, lost in a pit of despair about what I’m doing with my life. It’s that anxious fog, the niggling feeling that I’m doing everything wrong and that I’m never going to settle into a creative rhythm. But then the gentle voice of slow living holds me close and tells me, “It’s okay that all you did today was listen to Radio 4. You learnt new things and you’ll write better tomorrow. Now go and have a cup of tea and take a long bath.”
Basically, slow living is just a thought, a guiding idea and community of people all trying to help each other through the mud. So I think the best advice I can give would be to introduce the lovely community of creatives who are ambling through it with me, in the hope that between us, maybe we can help.
WONDERFUL SLOW LIVING PEOPLE AND THEIR WORDS: