Monday, January 11, 2010

Slow Living.

I was having a conversation recently with a co-worker about just life. And how people live. And she commented that we live in a microwave world. We want everything, and we want it 5 seconds ago. And it's so true. I've been making changes over the last decade. I've been exploring local eating, slow food, moving towards a (very basic) kind of homesteading. I made a promise to myself in the spring to begin living intentionally.

I don't want to live in a microwave world. We try not to (well, mostly I try not to and my family just follows along) but it's still easy to get caught up in that isn't it?

Most things, we (as in the royal we) can get instantly. We have credit cards, so we don't need to save our pennies for whimsical purchases. We have our central air and our on the grid housing. We have two or more car households. Fast food drive-throughs, pre-frozen meals at the supermarket. Stores upon stores upon stores of clothing and gadgets and items to be had at a moments notice and for cheap too.

Our family has made some changes. We cook most everything from scratch (though we do rely on some convenience items regularly and some others occasionally). We recently moved to a house that relies primarily on wood heat (though we do supplement with oil). We are also now on a well, which has made us very aware of our water usage and how to stagger showers and laundry and dishes, because we will (temporarily) run out. I'm working on growing more food, and what I don't grow I get much of from local farmers. Where we live now, there aren't any quick trips to the store (25 minutes one way) so we've been working on food storage and inventorying. 

I'd love to continue on this path. I've always called it "simple living" because that's what I've always heard it referred to as, that kind of returning to the earth, to the older ways of living. Moving away from the consumerism and microwave kind of world.

But, "simple" living isn't really simple at all. It's work. A lot of it. For the most part, I find it enjoyable work. I find that I like rhythm of this sort of life.

It's really like slow living isn't it? Everything comes slower. The food comes slower, the heat comes slower, you're living your life just a little slower. And as a result you notice more, don't you? You pay more attention to the seasons. You pay more attention to your consumption. And in a round about way, you pay more attention to your family. Instead of several nights a week of carting kids around and eating dinner in the car or working multiple jobs to pay the bills, you find yourself gathered around the family dinner table, lingering over your home cooked meal. You find yourself playing card games or board games with your children and enjoying every second of it. You find yourself drawing up plans with your 11 year old on how to build (from scratch!) the play set planned for your yard next year. Or searching seed catalogs with your family to decide what you're going to grow to eat next year.

You find yourself spending hours picking strawberries and dandelions to make your own wine.

Finding joy in bottling your own beer.

You find that there is an overwhelming satisfaction in making what you once thought you could only buy.

I'm actively trying to live a slower life. I'm not there yet. But I'm getting there. I don't want to live a microwave life. I don't want to grow children in a disposable world. Even when it seems overwhelming, even when I feel exhausted and cranky at the end of a hard long weekend, I know that this is right where we belong. You only get one life, and I intend on really living it, really enjoying it, really savoring it . . . slowly.


Cari, Abe, and Paige said...

Loved this post!

Audra said...

I think we may be kindred spirits! All the things you mention really resonate with me and the direction we are taking our family. For me it's about surrounding myself with real things, tangible and lasting things. Eating food of substance, serving fruit in the winter that I labored over in the summer. I love it but it is hard work! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like your blog and look forward to exploring it!

gardenofsimple said...

Hi Audra! It's so nice to 'meet' like minded people :D

Valkyrie said...

Yes! I love the idea of "simple" living too. But you are right--it is time consuming and a lot of work.

It's impossible for me because I am urban (although I could still have urban chickens if I could get Daniel onboard, damn it!), but I do what I can. I cook dinner every night, even after all day at the office and an hour and a half commute home. I've figured out all kinds of delicious and healthy meals that I can make in 40 minutes or less. I was amazed by how easy it is to make my own marinara sauce instead of buying a jar of Prego. It just takes a little chopping and some simmering and the superior flavor is worth the extra time.

I grew up on a farm, and I really miss that way of life, very similar to yours. There was no such thing as a quick trip to the store. We had to "go to town." That's what we called it. Haha And we had our own vegetable garden and canned. We had goats and cows and made our own goat cheese. It was a lot of work, but it seems like back then we had the time for it. No internet, no cable, no microwaves! :-)

Sara said...

Beautiful post! I love the rhythm I'm hearing. The first picture is absolutely amazing. Love it!

Earth Mama said...

I'm so with you! I wish I had started earlier on our plans so our kids could have grown up that way from the start.

Kelly C said...

I agree with Earth Mama...wish I would have started earlier too for the kids.

But we've started this journey, and as long as we try, it's all that matters.

Beautiful post!!!!