I’m Just Busy Slowing Down

I missed this past Saturday’s Slow it Down Challenge. (Sorry) The reason? Well, we were simply too busy.

This has left me wondering – again – how the tactics we use to slow down actually make it feel like life is speeding up. In the past year we have made a conscious effort to simplify our lives – less toys, less structured activities, home-cooked meals, maintaining our one-car status, minimal screen time, driving less, etc. But in reality, I confess that it feels like we have created much more work than before. I mean seriously, I have 50 tomato plants occupying half of my kitchen counter. No wonder I’m frustrated when we do the baking!

One part of me wonders if another way of life would actually be easier. A sort of ‘the grass is greener’ perspective – maybe life is easier with convenience meals, a big house, kids in loads of activities so that we wouldn’t have them around all day, a TV to rely on when there is need for down time?

But I know in my heart that what we would gain in convenience, we would lose in connecting with one another. I also know that this is a surefire way to create a family with the perspective that life is about finding shortcuts with the aim of packing in as much as you can.

As I was trying to reconcile this issue of ‘busy life’ within the construct of ‘living slowly,’ I was reading through the Slow Family Living website. One of their posts suggests asking oneself the following:

Think of a day, an hour, a moment even when you felt “ah, this is what family life is all about.” Describe it in detail…
1. What were the elements or the pieces involved?
2. What was the feeling?
3. In what ways can you bring those elements into daily life?

When I consider this question, I think about all the ‘busy’ times at home – the Bear and I wrapped up in tomato plants and flour in the kitchen, MJ chatting with us while doing the dishes, Banana chasing the new dog…. And I think, this is good. This is how I want our family life to be. It might be busy and a little frustrating and certainly chaotic. But when I think of the alternative – perhaps sitting in traffic on the way to music lessons on the other side of the city with the kids in the backseat whining, working such long hours that we don’t have the time or energy to read bedtime stories to the girls, a tasteless convenience meal – I am grateful for that busy time at home.

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