Slow living

I think I’ve always had a persuasion for slow living; opting for the gentle pace over the high energy option every time.

I lived in London for short six-month period once and was struck by the pace of life. People all around me talked, walked and, well, did everything fast! And yet I wasn’t entirely convinced things got done any more efficiently. It was almost impossible not to get dragged along with the rush to do everything by yesterday.

I didn’t last long in London! I ended up in Cumbria and to a pace of life that fitted in well with me. I began to see that spending time over something and allowing reflective moments resulted in things done better. Satisfaction was higher and stress was lower. That’s not to say we don’t need a little stress or a tight deadline now and again. It’s not to say I hate cities either. In fact, I love visiting cities and don’t mind a few tight deadlines. The energy and adrenalin, culture and vibrancy of a city is a real stimulation for me. It’s just that I couldn’t keep that up!

I have a couple of friends who live life the slow way. They are both very productive in what they do by the way! One is a wood sculptor while the other has a small holding with a keen interest in a low impact on the environment. Both friends work at the pace of nature; they have to. Nature dictates the speed and we deviate from that at our peril.

The wood sculptor can spend many hours walking through woodland in search for suitable dead wood to work with. He then has to keep the wood for a long time to dry out before he can work on it. Like an oil painting, he works on more than one piece at a time. It’s a long-term pursuit but one filled with immense satisfaction and allows plenty of time to think and reflect.

The small holding friend has been working his land for forty years and has acquired so many skills in that time. These are old skills, handed down. Skills that work and are in tune with nature. Fighting nature doesn’t work; it’s not efficient or beneficial to man or land.

Slowing the pace down allows time to consider things in more depth. We make too many mistakes when we rush too much. Slow living can sound idealistic or impractical perhaps. I think it’s a matter of balance. Knowing when to speed up and slow down to suit a modern life is a skill in itself.

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