Slow cooking, slow fashion, slow food, slow living is for me full of contradictions. When I picture slow living in my head it involves feeling relaxed, not rushing around, taking things slowly. In reality though, what actually happens is that everything takes longer and I recently seem to be continually rushed off my feet because I don’t feel like I have enough time to get everything done.
Things take longer though because:
Instead of just turning on the tumble dryer I hang the washing out and sometimes I do that twice in one day. You can’t just hang the washing out, you also have to un-hang it and then put it away.
I have a never ending stack of reusable containers that need washing up instead of just chucking disposable packaging in the bin
When I have time I walk to the local shops rather than jump in the car and there is no getting away from it – that takes longer.
I don’t just chuck things out when they get a bit broken, old or dirty and then buy a new one. Instead I fix them, clean them, maintain them and if they are beyond repair I take them for recycling and try to work out ways to make do without them.
I make most of my food from scratch from raw ingredients.
I buy food from a variety of places with the aim of supporting local businesses and getting great value good quality food.
When I want or need something, I don’t just go to a shop and buy it. I often wait to see if I can find it in a charity shop or on Freegle or Freecycle. I am often lucky with this, but sometimes it can take longer to find it.
I make bread and even though I have a bread maker I now prefer to knead the dough by hand.
Most of the time I don’t mind these things taking longer, in fact I actually enjoy it and I do feel relaxed. When I’m hanging out the washing I get on the phone and chat to a friend or family member. I enjoy the walk to the shops and the exercise that goes with it – I would far rather do that than use a piece of exercise equipment at a gym. I find kneading dough also to be really good exercise and I get into the zone when I’m doing it and find time flies. I enjoy perusing the charity shops far more than I ever liked going to shops that sell new stuff. I also much prefer having food that I made from really good zero waste ingredients than ready made food with ingredients I am really not sure about and then chucking a load of packaging in the bin.
What I do mind though is the following:
I feel frustrated at times that I can’t get more done in my days (but doesn’t everyone?)
I feel judged at times about choosing to take my time cooking, cleaning, blogging and looking after the kids instead of doing all that quicker and going out to work. I get repeated questioning about when I am going to get a proper job and that can be upsetting.
I went to university and got a degree, I then had a career during which I got a professional qualification and a masters and then I quit it all to cook, clean, pick up the kids from school, write this blog and get paid nothing and do you know what, I find my new job very rewarding. I don’t think I am wasting my qualifications or skills, I think that many people underestimate and massively undervalue what is involved in running a house with kids, especially if you choose to do most things yourself instead of outsourcing them.
Even more than that, I think it is really important that some people do stay at home and do things the slow way even if just for a short time, because those people will have far more time to question things, to challenge them and to change them for the better.
So the slow life, isn’t life lived at a snails pace, at least not for me anyway. It is actually a choice to do things yourself instead of outsourcing them, which can mean that you have more work to do. It has it’s frustrations and challenges and many people around you may struggle to get it, but it can be incredibly rewarding and valuable.
How do you feel about living a slow life? Do you have a similar experience or a completely different one?
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