Why I Chose a Slower Life
One of the most frequent questions I get asked about slow living is ‘why’? Why do I seek a slower life; why do I advocate all things slow?
I have to admit, I first discovered the concept of slow living through Instagram. Namely, Kinfolk magazine & the aesthetic that seemed to to go alongside it. I wanted to read magazines filled with beautiful, minimal photography while wearing a linen dress and possibly taking up pottery. Or possibly baking.
Slow living was an aesthetic, reinforced by an onslaught of hashtag and beautifully wholesome American women who were living off-grid with their lumberjack husbands and gaggles of perfect children.
This was around the time that I started really getting into Instagram, and it seemed like everyone I followed fit into the slow living clique. At the time, I was slaving away in a miserable job with a ridiculous commute, spending my meager wages on buying things I didn’t need. The reality of slow living was lost to me.
I couldn’t really pinpoint when things changed, but it was around the time that I went freelance/started working part-time. I began to reassess what was really important in my life and realised that it wasn’t ‘stuff’. It was also around this time that I ceased to post on my old, fashion-focused blog and launched this blog as an outlet for the things that now interested me.
However, this wasn’t an immediate change. I didn’t wake up one morning with an epiphany. My journey towards a slower, more meaningful, more mindful and more sustainable life has been slow & steady, and I’m still on that journey.
Once I’d committed to making this freelance thing work & only working for someone else 3 days a week, I had to be sensible with my money. I wasn’t really that much worse off than before, but I didn’t have the security I had once enjoyed. I slowly learned to stop buying new clothes, magazines & unnecessary items all the time. I got over that thrill of the postman arriving at your door with a parcel. I became more focused on enjoying the things that I really enjoyed than buying things that I thought I needed.
Around this time I temporarily wrote-off slow living. I was sick of the whole Kinfolk obsession and at the time, for me, that was what slow living was all centered around. It was only around two-and-a-half years ago that I really started to get it. I’d been freelancing for a year or so, I’d removed myself from the rat race, and I was talking to people online who really got me thinking about what slow living actually meant.
I started reading into it, and realised that I was already unconsciously doing some of the things that were classed as ‘slow living’. The way in which I had started to travel was also perceived as slow, and when I began to read more and more about slow living, I got sucked into slow travel as a by-product. I got over the idea that everything you see on Instagram is gospel, and realised that slow living was something that was attainable to me, and to everyone, if I let go of the idea that my life needed to be picture-perfect at all times.
So, why? Why am I on a slow mission to slow down?
Once I’d realised that I was already slowing down without even thinking about it, it made me realise that slow living isn’t an Instagram cliche. It’s a real thing that you can really do - sometimes without realising that’s even what you’re doing. I was enjoying a slower way of working and travelling, I would take myself off on solo walks with my camera, I was reading more, and I was learning to enjoy the little moments that I used to glaze over. With a conscious effort, I could slow down my life even more and take it in the direction in which I wanted to go.
For me, this meant reevaluating my freelance work to only do the jobs that I loved, moving to the countryside, creating a timeless wardrobe and taking an even slower approach to the way in which I travel. For you, it might mean something different. There are no rules; you can make of this what you want. I know people who have changed aspects of their lives so that they can spend more time with their children or so they can devote themselves to a creative pursuit. All it takes is a little understanding of the what & why of slow living, and a willingness to step back from the fast pace that most people keep to.