The pace of modern life moves so fast. And while we all have to find our way in modern society, we can slow down and enjoy life more. We can choose to say that pace doesn’t work for me and I’m going to choose a different path.
Is it easy to choose this different path? No. It’s even harder to stay on the path once it’s chosen, because modern life provides so many distractions.
Choosing a slower pace does not mean we have to become a hermit and live in a cave (unless that’s something you truly want). It doesn’t even necessarily mean huge, sweeping and immediate changes. Rather it’s about making small decisions each and every day that add up over the long haul.
Take a break from social media. Close the laptop. Put the phone away. Turn off the TV, news radio, podcasts, and streaming video. Seriously.
Do this for a period of time every single day. Not just sleeping hours, either. Choose some time to be away from any kind of screen.
The pace at which websites, social media, and apps move is dizzying. Something that is new and refreshing today will feel like it happened years ago in a month’s time. Choose to walk away from that.
The daily break will not make us any less informed of current events. There’s so much fed to us under the guise of ‘news’ but honestly much of it isn’t important nor will missing some of it make our understanding of the world less. If anything, walking away from it might just save some sanity and provide a better understanding of place and purpose.
Connect with the Natural World
Mother nature has so many lessons for us if we just stay open to them. The rhythm of the seasons can also guide the pace of our homes and lives. Within the seasons there are times for growth, productivity, rest, connection, and more.
Use the sunlight to guide waking and resting hours as much as possible. Some of us work night jobs and it’s not always possible to wake and sleep with the sun but whenever possible. We can allow ourselves to rest for more than 8 hours when the daylight hours shrink.
Rest does not necessarily mean sleep. It might mean turning off electric lights and reading, playing games, or crafting by candlelight in the late autumn. Rest can also just mean connecting and actually talking with the members of our household.
The rhythm of nature also means that we might stay up later in the summer when the daylight hours reach late into the day. We can use this time to garden, preserve good, and connect to loved ones in a different way than the darkness provides.
This connection with nature also includes seasonal eating. This will free us up because meal planning becomes a matter of easily found ingredients and puts a stop to exotic meal plans. There's nothing wrong with eating something different or exotic now or then but embracing a simple, seasonal meal plan most of the time automatically slows down life or at least the kitchen portion of life.
Simply stop the madness. We do not have to busy every second of every day. No one can do all the things. No one. So quit trying.
Many of us have lots of interests and that’s okay, even good. However, there are only so many hours in the day and we all have to choose how to spend them. This will mean making tough decisions from time-to-time. We will have to choose now and then between helping organize the charity fundraiser or saying no so that we can hone a skill or simply rest.
We do not have to provide excuses or reasons for doing less. If someone asks us to sew costumes for the community center play, we can simply ‘thanks for asking, but I have to say no.’ It’s really that easy (and that hard, still try).
A simple routine to daily life is not a prison. It should not be something so rigid that we can't live a life with spontaneous joy or change. Use a routine that allows for planning and accomplishment while still providing room for the unexpected good and bad.
Routines help us find joy and purpose. They also give us the opportunity to be extremely intentional in our daily activities. That intention will go a long way into establishing a slow pace of living. Everyone needs a different routine, find the one that works by experimenting and making changes as necessary.
If we’re disconnecting from screens, touching base with nature, and doing less overall embracing home should be an easy and natural next step. It is very difficult (impossible) to control the world outside our doors, but at home we can set a different pace and rhythm that fits with our personal priorities.
Make the house a home. Lay it out so that it’s easy to slow down and enjoy life at home – make it so that there's no need escape the house. Create space for simple activities without the noise from the world invading every corner. This might mean decluttering for some us. Get rid of the stuff that prevents home from being a refuge. Keep what’s needed, toss stuff that provides no enjoyment or use.
Spend as much time at home as is feasible and realistic. This will be different for everyone and there is no right or wrong. Simply allow home to be a refuge in which wells are refilled and purpose is found and maintained.
All this talk about slowing down does not mean living a life without purpose. Quite the contrary, it means slowing down enough to find a personal purpose to life. Again, no right or wrong and the purpose is going to be different for everyone.
For some, purpose is going to be a simple life lived close to home full of meals cooked from scratch. For others, purpose is going to include charity or community work. For still others, purpose might be an occupation. Use that purpose, whatever it is, as a guiding force for slowing down rest of life while also keeping priorities in perspective and finding enjoyment in everyday living.
Finally, remember this path to a slower pace is individual. Find what works and go with it. Do not compare, rather celebrate the personal journey to slow down and enjoy life more.