Say yes to less.
Written by Tribe Leader Rebecca Horne.
Four years ago I felt like I was living the fast life. Not sex, drugs and rock and roll type fast life. Just a privileged, middle class life with all the pressures and demands that go with it. Big house. Even bigger mortgage. Kids scheduled out the wazoo with after school activities, play dates and parties. I was grateful of the life we lived however I felt like I was always running on empty. I had no time to think about what I wanted from life never mind go out and live the life of my dreams.
An evening of watching a documentary about a family who went to Africa for a year became the tipping point. Five months later we WERE that family. Five of us, a Land Cruiser and the wide African plains. Everything we needed to eat, sleep, cook, wash and live contained in the picture. And as you can see we look ridiculously happy.
After a year of slow travel, meandering our way through East and Southern Africa, living in a tent with just the bare basics, I felt an overwhelming need to pare back our lifestyle choices on our return home. There was no way I was going back to living that crazy, maxed out life pre-travel.
Those lifestyle choices post-travel included moving out of Sydney to a small acreage, choosing to keep most weekends free for family time, not launching into every co-curricular activity on offer and making different choices around our life’s work.
On re-entry, I remember being very committed to the principles of simple and slow living. So how does it look two and a half years post the gap year? Well I’m pleased to say many of our original intentions of living simply have remained. We don’t have a hectic social life. We live in a simple cottage. I can vacuum the whole house from one power point. I work from home. I have the time to write everyday (now on 121 unbroken days for those of you who read my last blog). I feel like we are living more consciously and living on purpose.
It’s not all peachy here at the farm. There are definitely areas of my life where I feel slow living is challenged. Mostly where after school activities and screen time are concerned. Two areas where my slow living principles are stretched. You could argue that the more after school activities there are, the less time the little cherubs have to get square eyes. But that seems counter-intuitive. So instead I’ve decided to keep two afternoons a week clear for some slow living. Screens not allowed so find a tree to climb, throw a ball to the dog, walk to the creek and look for tadpoles. That kind of thing.
So, how to bring some slow living into everyday life? Here are three tips which may help…
- Take email and social media off your phone. If you have five minutes to spare during the day, there is no temptation to scroll through your feed or answer every email as soon as it hits your inbox. Instead maybe use it as an opportunity to be present. Close your eyes and breathe. Enjoy the sun shining on your face.
- Bring some slow living to how you enjoy mealtimes. Instead of gulping down sushi on the run, take ten minutes to sit and enjoy your food. By lingering over food, especially mealtimes with friends and family we allow ourselves to be present and connected to those we love.
- Say yes to less. This is one I have struggled most to master. Think carefully before saying yes. Ask yourself these questions. Am I saying yes to please someone else? Whose life am I living? My own or someone else’s? Remind yourself you have the power to make choices for yourself and your family.
Slow living is a choice. Just as fast living is also a choice.
We would love to hear how you have found ways to embrace slow living. Please feel free to share with us in the comments.