Far too often we find ourselves stuck in the hamster wheel of busyness. In an effort to accomplish everything we think we need and want, we try to squeeze it all in thinking this will make us happy. But in reality, it makes us rushed. It strips us of our opportunities to celebrate the joy of slow living in the every day moment. It slowly destroys our ability to be satisfied with less, tarnishing our mind and body in the process.
If I hadn’t said yes to a full 180° turn from my old controlling corporate environment, I would be in the full throes of planning and executing a holiday season in retail. I would be working 10+ hour days at the office, working more at night, and some weekends, and I would be consumed by the ideas of output, progress, goals, success, growth, and profit. Though there is nothing wrong with those ideas in general, when added to the stress of a holiday season and coupled with consumeristic purpose, they become a force to be reckoned with, culminating in a breakdown of the spirit. Thankfully, I quit in May [read more about this here], influenced by the words of those wiser than I.
The best news is that I’ve come out of it able to slow down and practice reclaiming my life. I can take my time, appreciate slower days, cook meals in the middle of the afternoon, read memoirs and poetry, and never know the day of the week. I’ve poured into relationships that I didn’t have time for previously. I’ve fallen in love with the rhythms of life I’ve created and will be bringing them into my next season however I can.
My friends Amy and Kris live 33 miles north of the arctic circle in Kotzebue, a small town on the western coast of Alaska. I visited them this past summer and immediately became captivated with their rhythms of life. The town itself is made up of dirt roads, most people drive four wheelers for transportation, there are no bars in town, and there is a spirit of communal isolation – the people that are there have to rely on each other for friendship, help, advice, entertainment. People stop by unannounced for coffee, a beer, or dinner, tasks of subsistence living are shared by all, and no one cuts fish alone. We went on a two day camping trip up the river in their boat and while sitting around the campfire one night, the golden rays of the midnight sun casting a haze on our surroundings, my friend expressed longing for a lifestyle that included more campfires. More times around the fire, more days like this, he said. It just goes to show that we’re created for slow living. While I was admiring their slow living in Kotzebue, he was wishing he could slow down even further.
To slow living and more campfires!