Growing up, I was always the slowest—running, finishing tests, doing homework and so on. I’ve been criticized about it. I’ve been told that I took too much time to finish a simple task, that I’m lazy, that I’m indecisive, all the names in the book. After years of consistent noise in my ears, I started to envy others for their ‘fast-pacedness.’
Don’t get me wrong, I am highly effective and not as slow as you would think. But the thing is, I value quality, and often people who finish a task quickly are the ones whose work isn’t the best quality. Sometimes, it’s not even done the right way. I’m trying to keep my head in my lane and listen to my gut feeling.
I felt alone, believing that I was the only slow person alive, until I Googled ‘slow life.’ A multitude of articles about Slow Living came up. Reading article after article, I felt validated. There are hundreds of individuals around the world who participate in this lifestyle choice. The only difference is that this lifestyle choice chose me.
We live in a fast world
We are living in a world of fast cars, fast food, fast work environments. Oftentimes, it makes us feel like our life is chaotic, and as a result, we get burned out. We live by the YOLO (you only live once) approach, and thanks to social media, we can see what others from around the world are doing and achieving.
We feel pressure to hit certain milestones at specific ages. We compare ourselves with people our age or even younger, who appear to be ‘ahead’ in life. We go to school until we’re 21 and are expected to work until 67. When will it be time for us to travel or simply slow down?
Working retail or a nine-to-five job is exhausting, especially if the commute takes more than 20 minutes either way. The pressure to have your career figured out by age 17 is unrealistic. Modern life endlessly pushes us to do more, buy more and be more every day.
In my opinion, it’s unhealthy to work two-plus jobs to make ends meet. Yet, it’s glamourized. Fortunately, I have never given in to buying unnecessary things to impress people I don’t like.
My definition of slow living is taking your time to enjoy yourself fully, savouring the minutes instead of counting them, waking up earlier just to enjoy the morning routine and doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible.
I want to live a purposeful and fulfilling life by doing what I love, learning and exploring new things, and being present for others. Saving money. Learning to say ‘no’ is still a big challenge, because I don’t want to disappoint.
I blame myself for things that are out of my control. For instance, finding a job. I’ve been struggling to even pay rent on my own for months. Every month I give myself unrealistic deadlines—go to at least five job interviews, add $300 to my savings account, upload five YouTube videos and hopefully get a job before the next month.
Take time to enjoy yourself
I am learning not to be too hard on myself when I accomplish one out of the five daily or monthly tasks. A little bit every day is better than nothing at all.
I finally gave in to the idea of bullet journaling. It has helped me with my time management, productivity and consistency. This journal contains ideas for my YouTube videos, monthly goals, a habit and mood tracker, blog posts, inspirational quotes and doodles.
I’ve developed an inexplicable love for nature and cities. Despite the fact that I am a homebody and unexpected change really scares me, I crave a temporary change of environment. There’s something about nature or early mornings that feels fresh, quiet and peaceful.
I wish I had the means to travel around the world or even go hiking. What I need is a quiet place to scream out all my frustrations and lay down admiring the sky and what’s around me.
I may relapse a couple of times into my old habits, and it takes time for me to get back on my feet, but I know it’s not impossible. Going slow is what I do best, and I’ve found simple ways to feel complete in the lifestyle.
The next step is to calm down, digitally detox more often and try to eliminate unnecessary stress and impulses.
It’s OK to live a slow life.