Living slowly

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I think I live a slow-paced life.

I was thinking about this the other morning as I gingerly turned on the radio and looked out the window, surveying the day as it settled over my neighborhood, before putting the kettle on and cracking open a book.

I take a lot of time to breathe things in. I allow myself to get caught up in a moment. Sometimes I will deviate from a task for a long time just so that I can sit and think and process.

I’m learning to be in the moment wherever I am. I try not to think about the next thing that I have to be doing, or the things that I could or should be doing instead. I try not to schedule things too closely together – to give time for things to spill over and take form in whatever way they might naturally do so. If I end up being late for something, I am late. I no longer sit with friends, constantly checking the time, and trying to rush through conversation.

I often refuse plans on Saturday nights just so that I can paint naked in my living room and be with my thoughts. I spend evenings after work cutting vegetables and listening to podcast after podcast as I carefully simmer a fresh pot of soup. It is okay if I fit nothing else into that evening – that evening is all about lovingly making soup.

I do everything until I am satisfied. I no longer believe in rushing through tasks just to get them over. I want to find joy in nearly everything that I do. Sometimes finding joy in tedious tasks means slowing down so that you can breathe, think, and see the small pieces that make you smile and feel satisfied.

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Sometimes I feel like I must be missing out. There is so much in life to experience and to see! When I spend a Saturday night at home painting, I could’ve been at a show or out with friends. I could be cramming so much more into my days, into my minutes! But, I’ve done that before. I’ve been that girl who would only be home long enough to shower and sleep (okay, not even sleep a lot of the time). I’ve been that girl who would go from friend to friend to friend in a day. And it wasn’t for me. It brought me joy in the moment, but overwhelmed me in the end.

I need time to process. I need time to stop and be able to look at the things around me. I need time to be able to appreciate colours and sounds and laughter and the way that my friends exude kindness and sweetness and honesty. I need time to be on the mat doing yoga, listening to my body for as long as it needs me.

I know people who are happy living fast-paced lives. I know people who need little down-time to themselves. I know people who never sit still. I am not one of those people. And that is okay. I find joy in taking things at a slower pace. I find joy in quiet moments. I find joy in small details. I find joy in long pauses between conversation with friends, and in watching my kitties sleep. I find joy in the way my water-colours blend and how my sewing machine moves across fabric. I find joy in my commute to and from work, and in making dinner in the evenings. I find joy in listening to the way that the wind blows or the floor creaks. And I find joy in the more obvious things in life too – in reunion with families, in big celebrations with friends, in seeing live music or going on a hike through nature or traveling to an exciting new city. But, these aren’t the everyday experiences of life.

For the first time in my life, there isn’t much – day to day – that I cannot find joy in. There is little in my life that I intentionally put there that doesn’t bring me joy. In so many ways (but not every way), we control the pace of our lives and we control the joy in our lives.

And so, I enjoy a slow-paced life. Because that is what will bring me joy today.

7 thoughts on “Living slowly

  1. I prefer a slower pace and then having some fast paced to make a change every so often. But slow is where it’s at. But then I’m a fairly solitary person so it fits me well

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    1. Same here. I find that even when life is fast paced though, I no longer find it overwhelming. I’m much more able to be present and grateful. The slower areas of my life allow for that to happen, I think. Being solitary myself, down-time/alone-time is soooo needed.

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  2. Yes yes yes! I often feel like I have to live at a faster pace because society, especially American society, sees that as commendable, and I feel silly taking the time to myself when I could be getting xyz done. But I’m slowly learning that it’s okay, and in fact great, to enjoy life in the slow lane. Slowly learning that taking the time to do things for myself just because I enjoy them, even if they accomplish no greater purpose than making me feel happy, is quite alright. Thanks for this post! 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment! There’s soooo much to our society (maybe Western society in general?) that makes busy seem like a badge of honor. It’s not! I don’t want to die thinking about how I never had time to slow down, enjoy, be grateful, and live at a pace that calms me. I’m so so so much less stressed now that I’ve allowed myself to cool it. And even when I am busy busy busy, it never seems “busy” because I’m able to still find peace, calm, and presence in the moment. xx

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