“I didn’t choose the slow life, the slow life chose me” – high five to those who will grasp the reference. I could not have found a more accurate beginning to this post : when you live on a 67km² island, you take a new life rythm pretty quickly. But what if I first started by explaining what the “slow life” is ?
The “slow life” is an art of living that is pretty popular right now. A return to true values, a desire to slow down the pace of our lives and to focus on essential and positive things : a less hectic daily routine, limited travel, no overconsumption and a preference for homemade goods.
Why do I relate to this lifestyle ?
Because I am tired of overconsuming. At one time, it seemed important to me to own more than thirty pairs of shoes (I wasn’t even wearing half of them, as you can suspect). Now, it seems pointless to me, and I’d rather privilege quality over quantity.
Because I no longer have confidence in the conventional agriculture system and in the agro-food industry. Of course, I’m not raising goats in the mountains right now and since I’m not an emotionless robot, I still buy my weekly Nutella jar (yes, weekly, to each their weaknesses). But I want to bring as little harmful industrial products into my daily life as possible.
Because I don’t have access to many things in Gozo, whether it’s clothing, cosmetics, household items or even food. But I quickly learned how to do without it. It is a bit frustrating at times, I must admit. I like to treat myself from time to time and I enjoy dressing up, so sometimes I am tempted by a big shopping spree in trendy stores. But since it’s impossible in Gozo, I just do without !
Because I’m very fond of homemade goods. I love to prepare nice meals with fresh products and lots of love ! I’ve been making cheap homemade cosmetics since I was a teenager. And slowly, I’m also beginning to make my own household products. I will tell you more about that soon in a different post.
Because my dream would be to one day own a farm and practice permaculture (a completely natural way to cultivate the earth, even better than organic food) and live on my own fruits and vegetables.
Because I would like to instill all of these values to my daughter, and for that I have to set the right example.
In the past few years, Gleb and I have made life choices that some would consider risky : he launched his own business, I stopped my professional activity to dedicate myself to the blog and to our family life. But everything was worth it. We’ve been able to move to the country we wanted, without having to find a new job. Gleb is free to adjust his own schedule. Our daughter has her two parents at home all day, and will probably never go to a daycare center.
Of course, this lifestyle has also drawbacks : we only live with one wage, and when you’re self-employed, the income is rarely regular. Some months can be very comfortable, and others not so much. You must know how to balance a budget. Being self-employed also means not counting hours and exceeding the 35 weekly hours more often than not. Also, spending everyday at home can sometimes feel a little heavy. You have to be sure of your relationship and you must be able to “bear” your spouse 24 hours a day.
How to put the “slow life” into practice ?
We realize that we are very fortunate to lead this lifestyle, and we are aware that living this way is not within everyone’s reach. However, it’s possible to tame the “slow life” as to adapt it to your daily life.
It’s difficult to slow down the pace when one has a binding job. I know this pretty well : not so long ago, I was accumulating a full-time job in retail and my economics studies. I have always seen my parents working really hard, sometimes with two jobs at a time. I know that often, there is simply no other choice.
However, you can let go more easily at home. You can learn to live without the superfluous, and stop consuming just to consume. You can have fun cooking healthy dishes, preparing your own face mask on a sunday evening. You can garden, turn off your phone. Learn how to meditate. Take advantage of your loved ones and the little moments of happiness that each day brings. These are small gestures, but it’s one more step towards the “slow life”.
I will end this post with a quote that echoed in me recently. I didn’t save it when I read it, and I do not remember the exact words, but it was something like : “the biggest scam of our modern western society was to make us believe that it is normal for a family to be separated early in the morning only to be reunited late in the evening”. Food for thoughts…