2018 is off to a bumpy start, with various ailments keeping me under the weather off and on for the past few weeks.
But what I’m learning is not just that slow is okay. Okay implies mediocre, acceptable, just getting by.
I’m learning that, perhaps, instead of just accepting slow, we should celebrate it.
Slow isn’t lazy. Slow isn’t a waste of time.
Slow is savoring.
Slow is honoring.
Slow is being present.
Slow is thoughtful, grateful, compassionate, and kind.
Without periods of slowness, I don’t know how we live creative, purposeful lives. We need periods of stillness, reflection, and introspection.
In our society, we’re taught to multitask, work efficiently, save time, do more, more, more. We’re obsessed with more. If I only had more stuff. If I only wrote more words today. If only I accomplished more. And this builds to the destructive phrase, “If only I were more.”
But the thing about slow is that it teaches us that we are enough, exactly as we are.
The obsession with more is the opposite of gratitude. We live in a fast culture of instant gratification, but slowness teaches us to savor a homecooked meal with family or friends. Slowness is sitting with your morning cup of coffee and, instead of browsing the web or checking email, taking time to be with your thoughts. Taking time to reflect.
Slowness is not laziness, but rather a way of adding depth and meaning to our lives.
There will always be deadlines and to-do lists, days where we’re in a frenzied hurry. But there must also be periods of slowness.
So, set goals. Make them SMART. Create deadlines and to-do lists.
But also make space for that which cannot be measured, for joy and delight. For a slow dinner with your significant other or children. For a long walk in the park listening to the birds sing. For stargazing on a clear night. For gazing up at the moon with wonder. For stopping to enjoy the view. For savoring a cup of coffee and daydreaming.
These moments are precious. These moments are magic. Cherish them, and know that much of what matters in life cannot be quantified.
Most of all, celebrate slow. Treasure the times you’re able to just slow down and savor the moment. Stop trying to cram the mystery of your one precious life into some random metric. Simply live. Slow is not lazy. It’s just choosing to focus on the journey instead of the destination. It’s merely shifting our metric from quantity to quality. It’s diving deep rather than skimming the surface.
For ease of reading, I’m dividing my #ROW80 goals into three categories: creative living, healthy living, and simple living. Understand that there is a lot of overlap between these, and the three are interconnected and, in many ways, inseparable. But I’m going to try it.
This week, as my body healed from whatever mysterious ailment I suffered from, I shook off the exhaustion and aches and continued my steady writing journey.
I began to work through my husband’s comments on Oak-Bound, a fantasy romance novella. The story is close and I hope to submit it by the end of the month. I’m also about a third of the way through the synopsis for this story.
I also responded to blog comments and made sure to visit other people’s blogs as well. I apologize if I missed anyone. I’m trying to get back into a regular habit of responding to comments and visiting others’ blogs.
My goal is to ride the exercise bike daily, but this week was more about resting and healing than about exercise. I did succeed in cutting out a lot of the sugar in my diet, so I’m doing better on that front. Keeping less junk food in the house seems to be key.
I took another pass at the guest room closet, tossing old crafting supplies and duplicate office supplies. I ended up with a large trash bag full of items I can now part with, and two boxes of stuff intended for Goodwill. I also organized the bookshelves—we’ve gone from five bookshelves at one point down to two, and I packed up two more boxes of books to go to the library. I organized my jewelry and am attempting an experiment with my clothing, outerwear, and shoes in which I try to only own 100 items of clothing. (I might write a post about that experiment later, if anyone is interested.)
I am not rushing, but taking slow, steady steps, letting my life unfold at its own pace. Leaning into simplicity. Gradually decluttering and tidying my home. Listening to my characters and their stories and drawing them into this world, out of the ether from which stories are born.
Sometimes we speed along toward a destination, but I’m trying to embrace the journey, to find beauty in each word, each scene, each moment. If I am to lead a life that blends simplicity and creativity, I cannot neglect the beauty of the present.
What about you? Do you find yourself racing through life and checking off an endless to-do list? How have you embraced slowness in your life—or how would you like to?