Question: Do you live slowly?

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Today, I want to pick your brain. I’m currently writing my next book, and I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s the gist: it’s about living slowly. And whether it’s even possible anymore.

See, when we lived overseas, our life was much slower. Painfully slow, almost. And it honestly took us awhile to appreciate it—we went from hating it, to tolerating it, to by the time we left, thriving on it. When we returned to the U.S., we felt like a Gremlin in the left lane on the highway, being tailgated by a Ferrari.

We still feel that way a lot, though we’re used to it by now. We don’t like it, but we’ve learned to deal.

Is it just us?

I’d love to hear from you—do you sometimes feel this way, too? Is your pace of life exhausting you? Do you wish you could restructure your lifestyle so that it has margin to savor the little things in life?

I’m curious about a few things…

  • What’s your definition of “living slowly”?
  • What’s one thing you’d add to your life if you had the spare time?
  • If you had the freedom to say “no” to one obligation in your life right now, what would it be?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Comments

  1. living slowly=pausing to savor the moment. Appreciating the small things like a cup of coffee, a daisy, meeting with friends. It’s a conscious choice to acknowledge the little things that make the world so great.

  2. I cherish slow. Lingering over morning devotions. Long walks down half-forgotten nature paths. Risottos and soups. My kids, not so much. I can’t wait to find out how you integrate slow into the lives of energetic kids who crave excitement and social camaraderie.

    • I don’t necessarily think that high energy or excitement means you have to live a fast life. My son is 3 and very energetic, and I love playing with him in the back yard while he is running, throwing rocks, etc. But it is the lack of set appointments or scheduled events that keeps the pace of our life slow. To me slow = peace.
      Tsh, I’m interested to hear the difference in American parenting vs. parenting in other cultures. It seems so easy for me to cater my time to entertaining my children, but that doesn’t make for peaceful time for me.
      Sarah´s latest post: Gage turned 3

      • I agree. I have two super high energy kids ages 3 and 4 but I definately considered our lives slowly lived. I do not make anything other than the bare minimum appts. I don’t do hardly any planned playdates and our committments are at a minimum. I have been learning it is perfectly fine for my kids to be “bored” as I cook a whole foods (time consuming) dinner. It isn’t my job to entertain them. They will finally give up and go play and have a great time.

        We will spend most of the summer at parks and splashing through creeks. I won’t put them in camps nor will I provide a schedule structure. I am huge on routines and rhythms. With that foundation in place I know the basics are covered and it is really easy to say, “Nope, I am just not going to do that today. It will make everything too rushed.” But you must, must, must learn to say no.
        Karen´s latest post: Monday And The Things I Love

        • avatar
          Mama2-3Ms says:

          Karen, I love your response. I am feeling very stressed lately because my kids are telling me nowhow bored they are , and summer vacation from school is not even here! Your response made me realize I am not supposed to be entertaining them. They are children, and should be able to come up with things to do on their own. Yes, I play with them, but it’s impossible to do that all of the time and remain sane with cooking, cleaning, etc. Thanks!

          • I feel the same stress with my son. He is 10 and he’s an only. He has always been good to entertain himself, but he is losing interest in a lot of those “play” things he used to do and constantly announces that he is bored. He doesn’t like schedules, but unlike me, he loves to be around a lot of people regularly (school is not enough anymore). We don’t have a lot of set commitments, but he does join a soccer league for the summer (to start soon). I am having to force myself to be more social with him, but I still want it to be more spontaneous than scheduled. I could not survive in the “fast lane”.

  3. Sort of. I rarely use clocks. I try to go by the rhythm of our family when I can. When I’m on some sort of precise time frame, I feel more rushed and stressed.
    Kacie´s latest post: Updates: Counters are beyond chipping; seedings; college

  4. I define a slow life as one with lots of space. We tend to live life pretty slowly and frequently I feel fairly uninteresting when people as what I’ve been up to. I don’t have much to report. Reading in the spring sun. Puttering in the garden. Hiking on the weekend. My husband and I walk to the grocery store together. Totally inefficient, but we like to be together.

    I wouldn’t like to add anything if I had spare time. I’d like to spend more time doing the things I already do — sewing, reading, gardening, hiking, camping. twelve years ago, when we we planning our family, I was content with my life. I knew I wanted a child, but I knew I did not want to add a child to my life as it was at the time. I knew before I got pregnant that I would not work when my child was young. Some people make this decision because they’ve always been drawn to children and knew they would enjoy staying home with the ids. I made the decision on the basis that my life was already full and to add a child to the mix would make it be too full, and I didn’t want to do that. Now, my daughter is 10 and more independent all the time. I work part time from the house and I could get closer to full time work, but then our free time would be filled with chores, and the extra income just isn’t worth it.

    Finally the obligation I’d like to say no to is the guilt that comes with taking it slowly. When I could have been sweeping my floors for the first time this week, I instead was sitting in the sun which we haven’t seen in a while. My dental hygienist always remarks to me that she wishes she had time to read when she sees me with my book every 6 months. It always feels like a big of a dig that I don’t work hard enough. I’m pretty good at ignoring the voice that tells me I “ought” to be more productive, but I wish I could quiet it.

    • avatar
      jenlarson says:

      Christie – you don’t sound uninteresting at all. Everything you mentioned sounds lovely! (we have similar hobbies) I also work part-time, and always have a book with me for any down-time. I’ve never thought to take it as a dig, when someone says they wish they had time to read…I just figure they have different priorities. Just like I don’t ‘have time’ to watch much tv :)

  5. My definition of living slowly would be having time for the little things that you love and for me that would be reading, storytelling to my baby, going to the beach if I feel like it, talking to an old friend in person like we have all day. If I had a spare time (and budget) I’d love to take some language lessons, preferably Spanish. It would probably not make any difference in my life but I still want to learn it. One obligation, hmmm, that’s difficult. Probably my freelance job on top of my full time job. But I can’t afford that right now. So I hussle. Looking forward to your book :)
    Hazel´s latest post: Life Begins at 28

  6. My definition of living slowly would be having time for the little things that you love and for me that would be reading, storytelling to my baby, going to the beach if I feel like it, talking to an old friend in person like we have all day. If I had a spare time (and budget) I’d love to take some language lessons, preferably Spanish. It would probably not make any difference in my life but I still want to learn it. One obligation, hmmm, that’s difficult. Probably my freelance job on top of my full time job. But I can’t afford that right now. So I hustle. Looking forward to your book :)
    Hazel´s latest post: Life Begins at 28

  7. I feel so cluttered right now – with my time, my mind, my home. My time is so much in the fast lane. My definition of living slowly would be to have the margin of being able to sit down and not feel badly about it. I would be able to do something for me and not worry that it all falls apart at the seams (which in my home it won’t however it does seem like I need to work a bit harder if I am too lax).

    I will say that I do understand that this is a season that I (we actually, meaning our entire family) am in. This is a short season and they will be gone. I suppose that I should I find that well-spring of margin even sooner in that case. Sit down with them. Enjoy my family. Be present.

    What would I change?
    I would stay home more.
    I would feel less guilty about not doing what I really don’t want to do.
    I would say no more – even to well-intentioned events and activities. Just because it’s good doesn’t mean we have to do it all the time.

    What would I add?
    1- I would love to hang my clothes to dry on a clothes line. My husband thinks I’ve gone mad. He doesn’t get it. I’m o.k. with that and I can actually see how he would feel that way. Who line dries their clothes these days? I grew up like that but now… do I really have the time?
    2- I’d love to change the way we home educate our children. And there is a big possibility that we might. I love the idea of pursuing passions. It just seems like there is such a push for other things.
    3- I would read more for pleasure for me. I read constantly to my children but I don’t read for myself. Sad, but true.
    4- I would get into scrapbooking again. I really want to print off some of those thousands of photos I take yearly, so we can actually hold them in our hands, rather than just click through them in the box (ie. computer).

    For our family personally, I don’t know what the answer is to slowing down.

    • Rachel, we line dry our clothes. However, I do live in South Africa :)
      Marcia @ OrganisingQueen´s latest post: Wardrobe organising and changing out seasonal clothes

      • Be a rebel Rachel LOL!
        As a New Zealander it fascinates me no end to learn that it is common place for Americans to dry their clothes in a dryer! Especially when we talk about being “green” and eco-friendly! I’ve never know any different either Rachel – even on cold days I hang washing out on clothes airers and they dry out under the verandah (except in the peak of winter, which is the only time I use a dryer).
        It’s just a fact of life for us – I could not afford the extra electricity, let alone waste the extra power-consumption.
        Plus – kids love handing you pegs, sorting them by colour; and for the airer my kids both hang and peg the clothes on them = “family time” LOL!
        Cheers

        It really only takes 5-10 mins on and off again!

        • I would LOVE to go back to hanging the clothes out on a line like we did at home as kids. Unfortunately we live in an apartment building and its just not possible :(. I hang alot of things on plastic hangers to air dry inside but sometimes we just don’t have a choice.

          • I live in an apartment (in the US) and line dry. I was used to my mom drying clothes on the line and enjoy hanging them up, letting the smell fill the rooms. I’ve been line drying inside for about 6 years and have become quite savvy in how to find room in a small space! To be honest, it also allows me to be a bit lazy, er, slower in getting things put away. I don’t feel rushed to grab the clothes out of the dryer and fold/hang before they wrinkle.

    • Oh, I get this—I try to line-dry my laundry when I can… it *is* so much more time-consuming, especially because I do it in an almost meditative way, smoothing creases, trying to breathe deeply, etc. But it really stands for that slow life that we all yearn for in some way—not slow-boring, but slow-contemplative, or slow-passionate, or slow-intentional.

    • This “clothes on the line” drying conversation is cracking me up :) We live in Korea. There are no clothes dryers for anyone. (Unless you live on a US military base – I have heard that they have them.) But the rest of us, rely on our drying racks. Now that we have lived this way for awhile, it is not a big deal at all. There are seasons when we have to turn a fan on the clothes to get them to dry (due to the humidity). Keep in mind that I am OCD and I organize our clothes as I hang them up. When it comes to folding, it is a breeze…the best part – no laundry baskets! I had no idea I could ramble on about this topic for so long :)
      Alissa´s latest post: Cherry Blossoms 2012

      • Here’s a post I wrote ages ago about how pretty much every culture but the North American one line-dries their laundry as the norm. I love line drying… You’re not strange at all, Rachel. :)

    • avatar
      Rhonda says:

      I line dry too! I’m in western PA, so in the winter months I use 4 lines I have in the basement. And I consider myself a laundry ninja with the planning that is required with a “slower” laundry system. :)

      I am deliberate in my choices when it comes to how our family will spend our time. I am not always as successful as I would like – as in right now we’re a bit hectic, but that is not the norm. We use tactics like allowing each of the children (there are only two left in the brood) only one activity that requires evening practice. (As a home educating family I can knock out most of the extra curriculars during the day) But with each of them playing ball, we have found ourselves in a frenetic, yet thankfully short, and crazy time.

      I can’t view this from a narrow perspective. I have to look at the big picture. Overall, we live a less harried life than our peers. It is slow. Even with our crazy schedule right now, I can see that in 6 weeks or so that we will ease back into a relaxed living again and we will appreciate it all the more.

    • avatar
      Margaret says:

      I line dry my clothes here in the Portland (Oregon) area…so that means not often, but every chance I get. I have been known (in warmer months) to hang them up in the evening so they will dry the next day while I’m at work. My neighbors probably think I’m nuts; my husband says he knows I am. It does help you slow down, they smell so nice, the kids love putting the socks and undies on racks, and it is all spread out when it comes time to sort. Try to add it to your routine…even if it is just the sheets at first. Nothing like climbing in to a bed with crisp, “outside-smelling” sheets at the end of a long day.

    • avatar
      Christie says:

      I don’t exactly line dry our clothes – I monkey-bar-dry them! I hang the clothes on hangers and hang them on our play gym monkey bars to dry. When they are done, they are already on their hangers and ready to go into the closet. I actually find it kind of relaxing to do this – something therapeutic about hanging clothes on hangers in the sanctity of my laundry room, then stepping outside (maybe the only time all day) and hanging them on the monkey bars. If the weather’s no cooperating, the tracks for the garage doors and our shower curtain rods work well.

    • Long ago I gave up the idea that curriculum or others’ expectations for my kids’ schooling should rule me. I think pursuing passions is one of the best things about homeschooling. For one thing, I found that in doing so, you often cover more than one school subject area kind of unintentionally… Or at least it seems that way to the kids. :-) Learning becomes fun, and something they want to pursue on their own, and I think that’s what it’s all about… Teaching them to be lifetime learners and to know how to find out what they want to know.

      I love the idea of the line drying, but it rains so much here. Can’t beat that smell in the crisp sheets!

      We try to live slowly… keeping sports and activities to a minimum, taking time to enjoy visiting with the elderly neighbor, making family time and dinners a priority. But the wheels seem to turn faster as the kids get older and start pursuing their own interests outside the house. We have 7 at home…5 of them teens right now (plus aging parents who need help and attention more often) and life is wilder. more cluttered, and with less rest and space than I’d choose it to be, and I’m having a little trouble keeping up.

      I was never big on everything being perfect around home, but I’m being forced into getting even more relaxed about things, and seeing that the kids develop their own priorities as they grow and become more independent that don’t always match mine… and that can be OK.
      RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup´s latest post: Stepping Out of the (Pizza) Box

    • I don’t own a clothes dryer and have been line drying all my life. PS I also live in sunny Queensland, Australia!!!

  8. I crave a slow life, and from time to time I find it. We’re in a financial situation these days that requires me to work, and I do work a lot. What I’d give up if I could is the intensity of the many hours and the second job. The good news is that we’re doing this purposely so that in a fairly short time I’ll be able to cut back to the one part-time job I love and leave the rest behind.

    My definition of a slow life (and the one thing I’d add if I could) is time to serve friends in practical ways. I love cooking for others, but I don’t do much of that right now. I have a small circle of close friends, but we don’t have much time together. I look forward to changing that.

    I’m eager to see what you have to share in this regard, because I think that there are probably ways we can purposely slow down, even when we’re in a ‘busy’ phase of life.

  9. I’m fascinated to see where you take this topic and what you discover, because living a slower life is my passion.

    For me, it begins by cleansing, purging and organising. This gives me the space and systems to live a slower, more purposeful life. Then re-jigging priorities, so that the things that matter (family, friends, creativity, spirituality, rest, time, health, nourishment) get the attention they deserve.

    When you have kids, it’s really insanely difficult, and I think it’s a constant state of balancing the imbalance, but I can tell you my family (and specifically my mental health) are much stronger now than even 12 months ago.

    None of that sounds slow, I know. But I maintain that simple living is ridiculously complex in the beginning. Worth every second in the end though. (Or so I hear ;))

    As to what I would add if given the spare time – more time with my husband. With regular long weekends away being a close second.

    What would I take away if I could? My husband’s long work hours. We chose to move from the city to the mountains, away from his work, for a better, slower, more family-oriented lifestyle. The only con to the long list of pros, is the commute and long hours that came with a new job.

    All the more reason to work towards a slower home and slower life, so that the time we spend all together is good time.

    So happy to answer any more questions you have in the research for your book too!
    Brooke {Slow Your Home}´s latest post: How To Clean Your Oven Without Chemicals

  10. We moved to Uganda last August and our lifestyle (especially mine at home with our 2 – soon to be 3 – boys) has been exceptionally slow. Sometimes I think about when we’ll move back to Canada (just over a year from now) and get overwhelmed at how crazy life is going to seem.
    We don’t have extracurricular activities, my kids aren’t in school, we have a few friends that we see a couple times a month and in general, it’s a lot harder to get out and “do stuff” so we spend lots of time together at home together.
    Life is quite slow right now and I’m learning to love and embrace this time because I know it won’t last forever.
    Vanessa @ Strickly Speaking´s latest post: star wars day {friday} links

  11. Well, I definitely think life is too busy! Part of what we do to try to help is we don’t have a tv. This helps us not waste time in front of it but spend time doing more productive and meaningful things. Even then, though, I still feel like life here is so busy and I would love to slow down more. I have personally cut out a lot I could be involved in so I can be available to my kids, but the pressure to do, do, do and go, go, go can be pretty intense- especially here in California!
    Charis´s latest post: first things first

  12. I’m living more slowly every day. I follow Rhonda’s blog, Down–to–earth. She’s huge in the blogging community is Australia, and she’s so wise and lovely. She inspired me to slow riiiiiight down.

    When I first started my journey I was working full time, buying everything pre-made, and chasing my tail. I was working hard to make money to spend on things I needed because I was so busy working. But I wasn’t getting far enough ahead to justify the stress.

    Now I’ve returned home. I make almost every meal from scratch, plus my own bread, yoghurt and washing powder. I cloth diaper and sun-dry. I keep chickens. We walk when we can instead of driving. We have home-movie nights instead of heading out and having to pay the babysitter, the taxi, and the dinner and movie bill. We watch less tv and craft and talk more.

    It’s a gentle life, but we’re all thriving. Our family is closer, out budget actually better.
    I recommend it!
    The Accidental Housewife´s latest post: Welcome Panzer!

  13. avatar
    Calliope(greece) says:

    I live in a town in south Greece. The.definition.of.slow.living.
    We walk to the grocery store.
    We cook from scratch everything.
    We have loooong coffees with friends.
    We swim twice in the day at the open sea.
    We fish.
    I stay at home a lot. I love it.
    I’m a teacher for children w special needs in a school 7 min from home. I get to see them every day around. I really love that. Too many hugs…
    I’d like to finally start gardening and having chickens in my yard.

  14. Oh I loved Calliope’s answer!

    We are working on living slower … well I am. The problem I’m having is everything is coming to a screeching halt and it resembles a 10 car pileup … Not quite sure how to gracefully segue into a slower life without everything around me falling down while I start to take deliberated and meditated steps …
    Naomi´s latest post: COLORS IN DELHI

  15. Living more slowly is wonderfully important to me and my husband. We began to fully realize this a few years ago when we were newly married and both working full time (me as a kindergarten teacher and him as an AF pilot). We were both stressed and overwhelmed with little time for our top priorities (faith, family/friends, health/nutrition, rest/recreation). After a few years of that and upon paying off our education and vehicle debt, I quit working. I was really ready for a break and we knew we would have plenty on my husband’s income.

    After some time I learned how to manage my stay-at-home wife life. It has been awesome to slow down in the ways that are important to me while also being productive in keeping our home (so it’s -mostly- just together time when my husband is home), improving my health and fitness, and writing at my new website. I feel truly blessed and humbled to have it this good right now. I just wish my husband could experience something similar. He works incredibly long hours as a pilot, and has so, so little time for himself. We really cherish the time we do have together, but we just wish it happened more often:)

    To me, “living slowly” means there is space enough for calmness of heart, mind and body. There is time enough for creativity, conversation, and mindfulness. There is order within reason, a deep appreciation for right now, and heightening of the senses to deliciousness of toes in lake water, sun on horizon, snowflake on tongue.

    I would add more time outside. Can I just do everything outside? I would take away, on my husband’s behalf, his hours studying in the evenings.

    Your words are always so on the mark. I love the topics you bring up and the realism -while remaining hopeful and positive- with which you write. Thank you!
    Brooke´s latest post: Spring Science Times Three!

  16. I do think other cultures have more space in their lives to live slowly, although some are speeding up as well. In China small town living is still very slow. In large cities some people still live slowly, particularly the older people, but the younger people are filling up their lives pretty fast. Kids go to school morning to night, with lots of little breaks, but they are scheduled all day. If parents can afford it they sign up their kids up for all kinds of other classes to help them “get ahead.” In talking to kids and high schoolers who I tutor, it is clear that they have even less free time than American kids and teenager. When they hear that American high schools get out at 3 or 4 and don’t have evening classes they are usually amazed and probably envious.
    Anna@The DIY Mom´s latest post: Mandarin Mondays: 雨 (Rain)

  17. Oooh, I’m loving the answers and can’t wait for your book!!!

    I’d love to live slower – I just don’t think it’s in my personality :) Seriously, i was go go go since the day I was born.

    BUT… I do like to live intentionally so I don’t watch TV, choose when to interact on social media, don’t tweet, fb sporadically, etc.

    I will say that it is hard to go against the grain because I often feel like I miss out on connection because other people expect you to be so connected. And I can’t contribute to all the popular tv shows, and no, I didn’t see this and that you posted on FB but I’m reading lots, creating, spending time (focussed and engaged time) with my kids.

    Can’t wait to read more answers.
    Marcia @ OrganisingQueen´s latest post: Wardrobe organising and changing out seasonal clothes

    • I know what you mean about interacting sparingly on social media. We just re-joined FB with some hesitation, knowing that it’s a connection to family and friends faraway– but it can be a mixed blessing, to be sure!

      And we don’t have cable but just watch dvds of our own choosing; so when people mention popular shows or funny commercials, we’re definitely out of the loop. And we don’t mind at all!

  18. A Sabbath practice is imparative for me (and our whole family) to live slowly. This may mean a day a week of no plans, or – more often – a weekend each month where there’s nothing on the books. We do get a few tasks done, but we don’t have plans to go somewhere, parties to attend, or anything of that nature. At the end of the weekend, my husband and I always say, “that was a great weekend” and we’re ready to face another week.
    michele´s latest post: let’s go down, down to the river

  19. I’d love our live to move more slowly. To me this would look like more family time and less on the to-do list. Basically just more of a margin.
    Steph´s latest post: Three Transition Tricks

  20. We live overseas and could not agree with you more. The ironic thing now is that my American identity is so rooted in being busy equaling a valuable person, that I find myself looking for trivial things to worry about and fill my day with. Quite simply, I struggle with seeing Mary as the example and Martha as the one who receives the rebuke. But, in fact, that’s exactly what Jesus does. So, living slower would mean making priorities in such a way that the urgent doesn’t steal them of their joy. When I am running around like a crazy women, my joy is gone. When I am sitting with my son, reading the same book over and over again, my joy is more satisfying. It’s not the quick gratification that I get from being needed by 1,000 other people. I’m excited to read your book! I definitely need a stern talking to in this area. :)

  21. The idea of living slowly always brings me back to days spent at the beach. We head down early in the day and don’t come back till dinner time. There are no phones, no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, maybe a picture or two, but otherwise it’s just peaceful and relaxing. When I feel overwhelmed, I stop and just picture sitting on the beach in my chair reading a magazine at the end of the day.
    Following your lead, we take a month off and stay at the beach. Our struggle of late is our extended family doesn’t respect the idea of taking this time off. We are trying to say no to family birthdays two hours away because it takes us away from the slow living we are trying to maintain for at least a month. No easy solution, but we are trying to do what’s right for our little family first. (can’t wait to see what becomes of the next book!)
    Emily @Random Recycling´s latest post: Meal Plan Monday May 7

  22. I think this is such a perfect topic for you to write a book about! A slow life is all about simplicity, and sticking to the basics. That’s awesome news.

    For me, “living slowly” is certainly about peaceful, intentional choices and purposefully stepping away from the chaos and rush.
    tacy´s latest post: {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

  23. When I think of slow living, I always think of being at the beach. We leave early in the day and stay until dinner time. There are no phones, no emails, no Facebook, no Twitter, maybe a picture or two, but generally just peace and quiet and kids running free. When I get overwhelmed, I always picture myself sitting on the beach reading a magazine with no one around.
    Following your lead, we take a month off to stay at the beach. It’s a wonderful time of visiting farmers markets, boating, beach days and little communication via computers. Actual face to face time instead. Our latest challenge is the extended family doesn’t respect our decision to take this time. We are expected at family events two hours away, despite our explanation that this is vacation time. No easy solution, but we need to do what’s best for our small family to recharge our batteries and stay connected with each other.
    Can’t wait to see what comes of the next book!
    Emily @Random Recycling´s latest post: Meal Plan Monday May 7

  24. Timely post. I would love the chance to live somewhere that forced us to slow down. I am thinking of starting room by room through my house and thinking through our needs and wants and goals. I plan to declutter and go back to basics!
    Tara´s latest post: Make a Move Monday

  25. I do not want to drive more slowly :)
    I would love more time to relax with my children.
    Beth West´s latest post: Another Portrait of Forrest in Progress

  26. We’re returning to the States in a few weeks after four straight years away without a furlough, and this topic is on the very forefront of our minds. We love our simple life overseas and how there is time for just resting, sharing meals with friends, and getting good rest and exercise. The American life scares me a little bit. Even if we manage to set boundaries, keep the “home” in homeschool, and choose to not try to fit every single thing into our year (or more) overseas, it in no way means that those around us won’t be busy and rushed. Right now, life is where we want it. There isn’t much I would add (other than genuine Christian community) and there is nothing I feel I need to set aside. But in the States, well, there are activities for kids, church activities, places to explore, new things to do. I strive to intentionally find the balance of soaking in the time we will have in America with maintaining our family’s “sweet spot” of life and busyness.

  27. Living slowly: not scheduling away my days.
    I’d add: a quiet block of time to be intentionally present with my family. Even though we homeschool, we are focused on lessons getting done, activities, etc. that I haven’t had many close moments of reading for fun with my kids or just talking to them to know them better. My days are scheduled away with so many to-do’s: lessons, laundry, yard work, activities, errands.
    I’d say no: to our weekly play dates. I have hosted these for three years. I have enjoyed our friends and their kids, but with so much else we are doing it’s all become just one more thing on the schedule. I feel burned out by the routine.
    Courtney´s latest post: One thousand gifts and still counting (2936-2946)

  28. avatar
    Alice S says:

    I’m already interested in reading your book. A slower life is a desire of mine and probably of many Americans. We all seem to live a hectic pace. I try to keep a slow life, but with 3 kids (one in 1st grade), slow is a relative term. I’ve definitely found that staying home as much as possible helps to keep life at a slower pace. Less time is eaten up in commute so we don’t have to rush everything else. We don’t even participate in extra activities, but school and church alone are enough. I need help in simplifying and need encouragement that I’m not a lunatic.

  29. Living slowly seems to have become a driving desire in my family life. For us it means making time to be at home, to say no to even the fun opportunities that end up leaving us tired afterward (like far off vacations, summer camps, Scouts etc…) We have made an effort to eat at home, to cook our own food, to spend time just being together even if the world outside seems to imply that is all too boring. To me slow living equals simplifying any way I can – smaller birthday parties, simpler school projects, simple meals with fewer sides, shopping at Target for everything – all of it leaves me more time which is the most valuable commodity to my personal wellbeing. P.S. I cannot wait to read your book!
    Misty´s latest post: Gooey Caramel Sauce

  30. I think home educating your kids gives you a great head start on slowing down. I have a friend with four kids in public schools and I never see her. Her life is so busy running kids from one activity to another and some of those are church things (which can also take over your life). I know this could happen in my family too and we intentionally don’t schedule too many things. I do wish we lived in a smaller, quieter town and my husband’s job wasn’t so demanding 24-7, but we are thankful for his job. Living slowly does take effort, it’s easy to let things get out of control in an effort to “be normal”.

  31. How timely!

    I am on a kick of reading slow-living books (Simplicity Parenting & In Praise of Slowness most recently) and really, really savoring the messages.

    In fact, I’m currently on a social media break (deactivated Twitter, Facebook, and am not blogging) for the month because the loudness of the internet is just OVERWHELMING.

    If I could, I would quit Twitter and Facebook forever. My life is so peaceful without hearing a constant stream of what a thousand people are doing all day long. That said, I won’t quit because they’ve also brought me enormous opportunities both personally (we’re renting an apartment from one of my Twitter followers for super cheap next month) and professionally (people see my blog posts through tweets, and hire me to design their websites).

    Living slowly means doing less. Having less to do items. Demanding less of yourself and your family. Leaving more breathing space between all the flurry of activities we’re involved in.

    Having a toddler has taught me slowness like nothing else – taking him on a walk means we touch every plant, smell every flower, examine every pine cone. I could scoop him up or hurry him along, but I have been such a hurried, driven person my entire life that I WANT him to teach me how to savor the slow.

    And now I am basically writing a blog post in your comment section. ;)
    Ashley // Our Little Apartment´s latest post: My First Half Marathon.

  32. I think that we do live fairly slowly. For me, this means that after school & work, there are few obligations we have to be somewhere at a certain time. This allows us to be flexible and dictate our schedule depending on how the day is going, our health, moods, etc.

    For the most part, we eat at home and have a quiet house by 9 pm.
    Missy June´s latest post: Girl Talk

  33. Now that I’m home with my daughter my life has slowed down in the sense of stress from work. But really it hasn’t slowed down too much. It’s a matter of making priorities and sticking to a loose schedule. I think the “slower” i take it the more enjoyable it is.
    Mrs. Luttrell´s latest post: #31 how to help a new mom out Mother’s day special

  34. I would love to slow down; but right now we have a senior in high school getting ready to graduate (read: honors night, baccalaureate, grad party, preparing and sending out announcements, college prep, etc) and a son finishing 6th grade (baseball, Boy Scouts, prepping for Boy Scout camp, patrol camp, basketball camp). These are all important things that the kids are interested in. I am lucky in that I work part=time; but we could really use the extra cash if I went to full time. That would mean that weekends would be full of games, errands, house chores, etc. instead of down time. I can’t wait to read your book! I would also love to read more posts about the rhythm of life overseas…what were your/their schedules like? Don’t their kids have sports and scout-type things and school activities too?

  35. Living slowly for me is having time for the things we want to do. Whatever those may be. For us, it’s cooking and eating together, time to create every day, “free” project time – for both adults and children, time for outdoors, time to dream and plan our next adventures. Time to live those adventures. Time to read (and soak it in, not just read to get through the book). All of this of course while earning an income and educating the children. Which is why we try to integrate it all together as much as possible.

    Some of that may not look “slow” but our pace is deliberate and set by us, not some external factors and so I guess it can be a “slow” as we want it to be.

    This is one of the reasons I think I was so drawn to homemaking, as a career. The ability to set and live my own pace. I personally can’t function at the fast living capacity I see many people around me doing. I can’t do it and maintain joy, sanity and health.

    Having said all that, there are also busy, more “frantic” seasons, where we sacrifice small bits of our sanity (for short seasons) to get ready and prepare for bigger dreams. Like the big push before a move (had three of these this year). But I can’t live in that state continually.

    I don’t think in terms of “if I had more spare time I’d…” We frame our life differently. We ask ourselves, “what do we really want to do, how are we going to make that happen?”. And then we make sacrifices, compromises, change the schedule, whatever to make that happen.

    We also don’t live with the “when life slows down we’ll (fill in the blank)” mentality. The things you really want to do – whether that’s eat healthy, exercise, hike with your kids (some of our desires) you have to prioritize and do in the busyness. I think this then might naturally slow down the other areas of your life.

    Ie: We prioritized hiking one day a week with our kids years ago. This naturally slowed down our lives and makes certain activities (like weekend sports) not an option for our family. We’re choosing one thing over another. Just one example.

    I honestly feel I have the freedom to say no to things I don’t value in my life.

    I don’t know that I define our living as slow but it is deliberate and intentional and
    we feel like we’re choosing our path. And that feels good.

    I don’t know if living “slowly” is possible in our society and I think the word slowly is as problematic as “simply”. But I do believe aligning your life with your values is possible. The question is, which values?
    renee @ FIMBY´s latest post: Why FIMBY is not a hair, makeup, fashion, or home decor blog

  36. A year ago this week, our family returned from a 4-month sabbatical in Oxford, and this thought has been on my mind ever since. My biggest struggle is balancing my job and home life. I work full-time in a job that I absolutely love and that I see as full-time ministry. Luckily, my job has the flexibility for me to be home whenever my kids are home, but in some ways this flexibility impedes my ability to slow down. I wouldn’t trade picking my kids up from school every day and being home in the summers, but packing all my work in by 3:00 and not feeling completely exhausted when we get home is a a huge challenge.

  37. A peaceful flow to the day. A balance between not feeling rushed and not being bored. Over the weekends my husband and I like to sit on the couch and talk while our one year old plays. Sometimes I’ll bake or clean while he works on some of his hobbies. It might be boring to others but we love it.

    If I could add on thing into my life it would be more knitting, reading and writing. I use to knit and read a lot before our daughter. Whenever I bring out my yarn and needles she likes to pull and grab at them. The same goes for any books I bring out. As for writing . . . I only do that when she is taking a nap. It’s way too hard to concentrate on writing and pay attention to her.

    The one thing I want to say ‘no’ to is a church obligation. I run a youth group and it can be rewarding but I’m ready for a break. Luckily, we take the summers off.

  38. I think a slow life is one that allows some quiet and peace. I wish I could have more time where I am not rushing from one thing to another and trying to squeeze everything in. I hate that I am constantly telling my kids to hurry. Whether it is getting out the door on time in the morning, or getting everything done in the evening between getting home and going to bed.
    I wish I had more time for reading – both myself and to my kids. More time for just snuggling with them or letting them direct what we do.
    At first I thought work was the obligation I would want to give up, but then when I thought more I realized I really enjoy working, I just wish I could structure it more around when I wanted to work. A more flexible schedule, I guess. My work is fairly flexible, but I still work a basic 8 – 5, Monday thru Friday job.
    Beth´s latest post: 10 Goals for the Week – May 7

  39. ■What’s your definition of “living slowly”?
    ■What’s one thing you’d add to your life if you had the spare time?
    ■If you had the freedom to say “no” to one obligation in your life right now, what would it be?
    I definitely live life more slowly than most of the people I know. Living slowly to me means having plenty of time to do what I want as several others have commented. I would stay home more, definitely! I have a 15 year old son (only child) who has been homeschooled from the beginning. He is needing more and more friend time which keeps us busier than I would like but I don’t want to rush to change my homeschooling status to “done” and have my precious time with him be over. I simplify and slow down in other ways to accommodate his needs right now. We try to have friends to our house, for example, so we don’t have to go out as much and we seek out slow living friends!
    I am, very much, looking forward to your book! Hurry!!:0

  40. avatar
    Jenn R. says:

    I don’t really have anything that I would want to add to my life or anything that I would want to say no to. I just want to unearth the life that I have. Right now it is piled underneath the bad choices, known as clutter and debt.

    I want to appreciate and enjoy my surroundings, both people and places. I am finding it to be difficult because I am continually bumping up against something. It’s like trying to get to the edge of the cliff, to enjoy the view, but first I have to step over the bolder or duck under the fallen tree. While the path still has beauty, it’s distracting. So, I’m working on clearing up my path, so that I can slowly move about, and enjoy.

  41. I’d say we live very slowly, maybe a little too slow for my sanity’s sake sometimes. My husband farms, and I gave up a well paid career to stay at home and raise my kids. Most days we simply play and learn together, work on gardening and such when the weather is nice, and try to take a break from everyday chores to take a nice hour long stroll to the park and back. I rarely go shopping, and find we get get by on what have or we’ve frozen from the previous summer for quite a while.
    As a farmer’s wife I struggle with the lack of adult conversation, which is why I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to put them in activities and meet other moms. We enjoy our time together, which is why my husband and I will not push them into too many activities at one time, and simply continue to do activities together as a family on a regular basis.
    I look forward to reading your book!

  42. Tsh, feel free to interview me as an example of a too-busy person! The pace of my life is farrrrr too fast and there are too many responsibilites and all I desire is a simple life. I don’t see an end in sight until I retire, which is quite a while off. I am even feeling guilty writing this response because my to-do list is so long! Blessings to you in writing this much=needed book….I love your Simple Bites and keep it on my kindle in the car so I can steal a glance at it once in a while after work when I am picking up one of my kids! XO, Steph.
    Steph.´s latest post: Design Ideas for Jay’s Lounge

  43. avatar
    Stephanie says:

    I feel a bit guilty, but I live a pretty slow life. In part, this is because I don’t have many social connections. I have church and church activities, I also work 75% time, but don’t really socialize outside of those. The rest of the time, I’m home. My husband is my friend. But I really don’t advocate this as a good way to live, I am a bit lonely sometimes (though my introverted personality has a difficult time when I try to change it!)–it just helps with the slowness.
    I do feel that, given my lack of outside obligations that come with social connections, the biggest enemy of living a slow life is coming up with projects for myself. Can’t go to bed early tonight, because I need to bake a couple loaves of bread and get some homemade chicken nuggets in the freezer to feed my son when the next baby comes. I would really like to learn to knit and make a pretty shawl for myself (perfect for breastfeeding when the baby comes)….etc., etc., etc.! And like another commenter said, when I’m home with my son, I’m pretty kid centered, so I have a hard time doing these projects until kid is in bed.

  44. as a young mom i felt the pressure to be busy, to “do it all”. to have the children signed up for constant programs, to work part time, to take friends out for coffee, to volunteer….and somehow keep the house clean, people fed and my husband happy. The fact that our toddler was exhibiting signs of autism-and was tremendously aggressive and challenging…and the fact that my husband was a pastor(high profile job) didn’t seem to count as reasons to slow down. I pushed myself to be like “all the other moms”, and never considered that keeping our schedules more open/free …the days quieter, would help my sanity and ultimately our family.
    I thought that if I lived “slower”-(being less involved in church, keeping the children out of programs, not entertaining every weekend)- I would be depriving my children and look like a “bad mom”.
    It took an emotional break down for me to make everything stop. To say no to extra committees, quit my job and make do with less. I became very depressed because I couldn’t meet my own expectations. I realized the hard way that I couldn’t be like “other moms”, keep up with the Jones’, have it all…..and still be healthy.

  45. Living slowly for me means a rural lifestyle. I grew up on a remote cattle ranch and sometimes it felt like the clock went backwards. We went to a one room country school that my mom taught, then were homeschooled because of our remote location for high school, and we lived outdoors in every season with miles of space to walk, run, play pretend in. Very little t.v., lots of books, and parents that let us get bored and then get ourselves “un-bored” afterwards. We witnessed every season, learned all about birds and animals by living and doing. I really miss it some days. I wish my son could just be sent “outside” with no fear of neighbors or cars to play in the barn or with the cats and dogs or to ride a horse or mess in the sandpile or climb the hill and look at the clouds. My friend says I was raised two generations behind (I’m an early thirty-something) and she was right. No video games, concerts, cell phones, etc. We went to “town” once a month. Shopping was in the Sears catalog. Today, I wish I could give up half my job and have the time to stay at home and be slower.

  46. avatar
    Wendy S says:

    Our life is slow in a matter of social life, outside activities and media. We have no tv connection, no iphone, kindle, ipad or the likes, don’t use any social media either. (we DO have electricity :) and no I don’t wear a bonnet each day! :) We use an old fashioned telephone and internet e-mail. In that sense – our life is slow – not in pace with friends who skiddaddle to this and that activity constantly. Most of my friends have left me behind, so to speak, as they keep up with their children’s lives and activities, or relate to each other from the dim glow of their computer screens on Facebook, or through texts on their phone. We live… but I don’t know how we’d fit such things in. We rise, start our morning routines, do school around the table together, eat lunch – finish school – kids read – I try to get all the normal motherly activities done, plan supper, eat, clean up – perhaps garden, etc – tidy up – put kids to bed early -sit down and read for a little while, then off to bed to do it all again. We are generally not in a rush but steady… do the next thing mode. We are not fettered by the outside too much – so there is no stress there – but sometimes my life as a mother seems busy – not time to sit down and enjoy- too many things, clutter, places to clean, shoes to remind to pick up, things to plan, garden to hoe, produce to process, freeze, and plants to weed, etc. Sometimes I envy my friends who text each other daily… they can’t e-mail because it’s not convenient anymore – so it doesn’t come my way. I sit in a waiting room – all stare at electronic screens, I carry a book in form of paper, or a small child on my lap playing with my fingers. Sometimes I wish those things were part of my life… but others I am glad that we cannot get them. I need to keep my focus on the glitzen golden glow of HIS glory that is beyond this life- rather than the gawdy, fast paced, gleam of this life!! Too many families are so busy – they can’t breathe… we’re breathing. :)

    • I love your comment of “Most of my friends have left me behind, so to speak…” as I have had the same feeling from my mom-friends as I take a few steps back from their constant busyness, and simplify. Thank you for making me feel not so alone!

  47. 1. What’s your definition of “living slowly”?
    To live without the “rat race feeling”. Some of us are just racing against our very selves as much as we are running against others. Life seems like it cannot ever be secure unless we think plan and think ahead. Life living slowly would then be living without having to worry what’s ahead for us in the future, that everything will be great even if we don’t plan ahead. It would be taking life in day by day and living in the moment, experience “Carpe Diem” to its fullest.

    2. What’s one thing you’d add to your life if you had the spare time?
    To start up a support group for introverts. Because we live in such a extroverted focused world, I think it is important for introverts like me have such a group to support one another and to promote awareness of it.

    3. If you had the freedom to say “no” to one obligation in your life right now, what would it be?
    To work for an organization that doesn’t value my contribution. Working for such an organization drains my spirit. Not only do I feel under appreciated, but my talents are not used to its full potential. I don’t grow in anyway and I don’t produce any meaningful results.

    • Elizabeth, I just read a book called Quiet by Susan Cain, and although I didn’t agree with all that she said (some of her philosophy differs from mine), much of what she said was spot-on in helping introverts understand ourselves and how we fit/don’t fit with our extrovert society. I’d recommend it, and in fact, I think it mentions support groups for introverts. If you do start one (and if it has an online component), please let me know!

  48. Great Question!! – YES! – we did just restructure! – Here’s the post – we have learned sooo much about ourselves and our family!
    http://redletterwords.typepad.com/redletterwords/2012/02/together-one-little-word-2012.html
    Dee

  49. I’m curious about your statement “And whether it’s even possible anymore”. I suspect that throughout recorded history people have complained about the pace of life getting too fast and everything being too quick “these days” (just think of the difference between sending a message from the USA to England before the invention of the telegram, and afterwards! A much bigger difference than going from telegrams to email). Is this something you might look into?

    (I’m thinking it might be similar to how it seems that everyone has always complained that young people/students are lazy and unmotivated, with quotations of this kind being attributed to Socrates and Plato, etc). It’s so tempting to think that we, right now, are different from everyone who came before … but I think it’s probably very rarely true.

    It seems to me that the key to how ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’ it is to live in a particular way is most connected to the community you live within (your friends/workmates/etc). Whether it’s about living slowly, or being vegan, or shopping ethically, or taking an interest in politics, or whatever – it’s easier to make choices when you’re surrounded by people making similar choices.

    I don’t think I live slowly. Neither – at the moment – do I want to. I’m lucky enough to be involved in lots of interesting things, and to be able to prioritise my time so as to keep up with all of the ones that I have committed to (including time for family, etc). I do often feel under pressure, which I see as a morally neutral thing (it’s not good or bad, sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it isn’t). I don’t often feel rushed. I do often feel that I’m doing an awful lot and involved in an awful lot and I generally experience that as a positive thing. I don’t have a definition of living slowly but I don’t think this is it!

    If I had the spare time, I would like to add to my life … playing the violin, programming, and more volunteering in my local community. However, I’m happy with things as they are – I’ve looked at what I could do, and picked only some of those things so that I can do a few things properly rather than lots of things badly. I wouldn’t say “no” to any of the obligations in my life at the moment, for the same reason. I appreciate that I am very lucky to be in this position.
    Eudoxia´s latest post: Working hard … and knitting

  50. I’ve done what I can to slow our families pace of life. We don’t do much outside of what we have to do – we limit our running in to town to once a week – for groceries, to the farmers market, to any other stores and etc… that we need to do. The rest of the time we try to stay home – hang dry our laundry, read together, cook dinner at home most of the time, etc… it works pretty well. In some ways I’d love to join a Mom’s group, or start doing story time at the library once a week, visit some of the interesting things around our community occasionally – but every time we do one of those things it feels like our week just gets haywire so usually we don’t do anything extra aside from once or so a month.

    If I had spare time I’d add more reading and hand-crafting to my life. I enjoy sewing, enjoying creating and crafting – but I don’t seem to have much time to do that.

    If I could I would not work for income at all. As it is I only work part-time, sometimes it’s very part-time and other times it’s a bit more like full-time :) but not having the responsibility of working at all would be nice.

  51. Tsh,
    There is a movie I often return to in my thoughts that it reminds me to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. There are many scenes in *I Am Sam* that could speak to this idea of “living slowly” but two stand out. One is when Sean Penn (who plays the father fighting for his daughter) watches the frenetic pace of his lawyer (Michelle Pfieffer) as she races around trying to get everything done. Another scene is when he says (which you can see in the trailer), “It’s about patience. It’s about listening. It’s about love.”

    Here is the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EROTbDCr5ag

    I’m not sure if this is a definition or even a direct answer to your question, but maybe this will provide some inspiration for your book!

    Blessings,
    Erika

  52. Slowing Down: Oh my goodness. How I wish I could do more that that.

    What’s your definition of “living slowly”? doing things in my own time. and literally moving slower.
    What’s one thing you’d add to your life if you had the spare time? I would add more time for meals. I love taking an hour or more for each meal. Enjoy the food, the conversation, the time together. Even when my family sits down together I feel like it becomes a race to get to the next activity or task.
    If you had the freedom to say “no” to one obligation in your life right now, what would it be? I am pregnant, so anything that I don’t “have” to do is ok with me! Although it is hard to say no to things, some times I just need me (or husband) time.
    Erika´s latest post: Budgeting & Savings Basics

  53. “living slowly” = sitting in the porch swing, sipping tea and chatting for big chunks of time!
    Something I’d add to my life…time to be fun and creative with plans for our family time. Especially as my step-kids are middle schoolers now I feel like I have to be that much more intentional and creative in order have that “porch swing” type of fun with the family…they are addicted to fast paced on the go entertainment that is spoon fed to them.
    I’d say “no” to the activities my step-kids are signed up for (I didn’t sign them up, their mom did…) they are scattered all over…it takes 20-30 mins to get them to the places they have to be and I feel like they spend more time at dance etc than they do at home…I wish they could just have big spaces of time and big field to do some “let’s pretend” time, and that I would have to holler to get them home for dinner.

    • avatar
      Candace says:

      I wonder if more families with step-children feel that way, my step-daughter has been busy for the last 8 months ranging from 2 – 5 times a week in one particular sport. My husband has little or no say as her mother signs her up, we have a 3 year old together and I would love to slow our life down, have more together time, rather than them on the road and us at home waiting for them to return, when they are home both are tired from all the running around. Can kids be too busy? I know being active if a good thing but can it be too much of a good thing?

  54. Tsh,
    I’m so excited to have discovered this blog! Finally people I can relate to about simple and green living and faith and homeschooling and social justice. I’m lovin’ it!
    For me living slowly means being present in the moment. Feeling good about all the pieces of your day because you have chosen them purposefully. It means not rushing. Not having to cut things short. Having very few scheduled activities. Having the mental and emotional space to breathe and reflect. Not living tired. Investing in what lasts.

    I would add time for me to be alone gardening or reading or knitting. I console myself with the fact that my little ones won’t be here for long and I’ll have many years down the road for my own hobbies. But I do need to take care of myself now so that I can give of myself well.

    One thing I’d get rid of is the guilt I feel from not saying yes to everything, esp to church activities. There are so many good things, esp community service, that we just don’t do because of naps and the need for down time as a family in this season. I work so hard at home just doing the necessities and educating, yet I feel guilty for not finding a way to cram in more.

    A big question for me is how to invest in building community without sacrificing your children’s reasonable needs for sleep and routine.

    I can’t wait for your book!

  55. Love this whole topic/idea! I sometimes feel I live life at a break-neck speed! I really need to re-think our family’s schedule, and live with more purpose and little slower!
    Living slowly – Having time to enjoy the simple things in life
    What would I add to my life: I would love to take 3-4 weeks every summer to just spend with my kids on a beach somewhere
    What would I say no to: Work, It has been forever since I haven’t worked, even if it was just a day or two a week when my kids were little. I (hope) I would have the time to get everything done that just never seems to!

    This post is making my think about my life…..how long will I wait until I have the extra time?? I have to remind myself that it doesn’t just ‘happen’.

  56. It definitely has to be a conscious effort. We recently moved from Denver to a cattle ranch near an isolated northern Wyoming town. I constantly have to remind myself to slow down and take in the beauty around me instead of being in a state of constant “hurry” we were in while living in a big city. It gets easier with practice and time.

  57. Living slowly defines living simply for me. In the last year since discovering this blog and several others I have made an effort to make some much needed changes in my life. I’m 24 and single and I found I was living at a pace that was much too fast and life just seemed so complicated. My job is definitely fast paced and requires a lot from me but at this time it isn’t something I can change (or perhaps, I’m unwilling to change at this time). What I have changed is that I make a lot more time for family, especially on the weekends, I’ve also made more time for exercising which has helped my health and stress levels greatly and I’ve made more time for bible study which I would say has been the most beneficial. I could go on and on with all the little changes that have helped so much, too much big changes would have been hard to handle and would have been stressful rather than helpful. I have always dreamed of living overseas, I’m trying to get my life in order here both financially and spiritually in the hope that the dream will someday become the reality.

  58. What’s your definition of “living slowly”?
    -Not constantly thinking about what’s next or moving from one “obligation” to the next. Actually having time to “do nothing.” We used to live that way when our kids were young (before the school years). Now it’s just exponentially busier with each year (kids are 12 & 14).

    What’s one thing you’d add to your life if you had the spare time?
    I would add deeper involvement in church relationships. I’ve found that we’ve had to make a choice. Relationships and time all wrapped up in church things or relationships and time outside of church in our community groups. We’ve found that we simply don’t have time for both.

    If you had the freedom to say “no” to one obligation in your life right now, what would it be?
    Being the photographer at my daughter’s ballet studio. It’s a HUGE time commitment and a ton of work and I’d really prefer not to do it. However it is the one way that I do “give back” as a parent volunteer and I don’t want to leave the studio in a lurch. It’s guilt motivated.

    I totally look forward to reading more about this. I don’t know if as kids get older it’s even possible to live slowly. I used to fight for it but now it seems like an impossible battle.
    Michelle´s latest post: Linked 52: Mother

  59. I live simply {living frugally/minimally, cloth diapering, gardening, various things that are associated with simple living} but I’m longing to live slowly.

    For me living slowly would be having margin, some time to just sit down and read a book without feeling guilty or feel like the minutes are creeping by {that never happens}

    Lately I’ve been feeling stressed in my life. Sure, I’m a stay at home mom but I also work from home anywhere from 20-30 hours a month and blog/write and feel stressed with all these different hats I wear. I feel like its time to reevaluate, give something up and embrace living slower.

    One thing I’d add to my life if I had the spare time? Guilt free relaxing and playing with my kids. I often feel like I can’t fully enjoy the moment because I have work to do or writing and then there’s the laundry, dishes, housework, etc.

    I have identified the problem so now it’s just time to take steps to achieving my desire to live slowly! {And I really want to read this new book!!}
    Rachel´s latest post: Decluttering Baby Clothes

  60. What a fabulous thing to think about and question. the best thing when I lived overseas, was how people just stopped by and everyone sat and drank tea and ate snacks, or joined in the prep for dinner and then every one ate it together. I really miss that. I find even when I slow our family down, the rest of the world is still so fast that those connections I still crave are gone. So then I speed us up again, signing up for classes, volunteering. Then I feel overwhelmed by it all and I slow down again only to miss the connection. . . It seems so hard to swim against our currant culture. I’ll be curious to see what people write and I can’t wait to read your book!

  61. This is perfect timing! I just wrote about how we went without electricity yesterday in an effort to live more slowly. It was wonderful! We read and talked and took naps. Definitely worth missing out on the newest Pinterest meme.
    Jennie´s latest post: Our “No Electricity” Sunday

  62. avatar
    Teresa B says:

    For us, living slowly has also translated into living intentionally! Through college I lived fast – 22 credit hours a semester and 2 pt jobs. After college, 1 FT job and 1 PT job just to make ends meet. Life evolved and I could have slowed down, but didn’t know how. 10 years later I was pregnant with what I knew would be our only child and I didn’t even slow down to enjoy that. I was shocked when my pediatrician answered my question about having a high energy, low sleep child by saying “Type A mommies make type A babies”.
    4 years later, I have slowed down dramatically. I still teach riding lessons and coach a swim team – but those take up 3 evenings of my week. We don’t use an alarm clock to get up. We take the time to sit down and eat (mostly outside). If we have a busy day, the next day is a slow, at home, quiet day. I take the time to enjoy the world around me. I hang my laundry. I do one task at a time. I enjoy cuddling with my son to read a book even though my to do list is a mile long. We got rid of clutter – physical, mental and activity wise.
    What would I do more – camp, hike, travel. My husbands job keeps him on the road and he lives a non-stop life. But in just a a few years, he will be able to retire early and we can enjoy life.

  63. avatar
    Kate S. says:

    Living slowly, for us, is the act of living our lives for pleasure. We want to spend the majority of our time doing things we enjoy, doing things for ourselves. That means leaving the rat race; being satisfied with “enough,” rather than seeking “more;” cutting from our lives the activities, people and events that bring angst and unhappiness to us; and constantly seeking the activities, people and events that bring us excitement and joy.

    If I had the time, or more importantly, was willing to take the time I do have away from other activities, I would like to learn to sew and sew /very/ well. Since I already knit and spin my own yarns, garden, can, read, have four very devoted dogs, like a clean house, and am in the midst of constant renovations, it’s not as if I /need/ another hobby, but I do want it: )

    The only obligation I can think of is lawn care. I hate the imposition on our time that mowing represents and the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality that surrounds turf grass. I’m slowly eliminating it from my life, but I fear it will never really be gone. Just say “no” to mowing! Haha.

    • Wow, I’m jealous of all that u know how to do, as far as hobbies. I “can” knits & crochet but only about a couple hours a week, usually between 9-10 a couple times a week. But I’m usually so exhausted that I even fall asleep doing that. Read?! I haven’t been able to read a full book in years. I have stared probably 5 or 6 but never can find time to finish.

      I’d come more ur lawn for you if you tell me how to live much more slowly here at home without sacrifice to my family…lol

  64. One of the losses in living in such a high-paced world is that we’ve gotten used to and expecting immediate gratification. It makes it impossible to appreciate – and work for – the things that take time to build and grow – relationships, gardens, a good meal – wisdom.
    As an online marketer and freelance copywriter as well as an organic farmer, mom and wife, I straddle both worlds. Trying hard to keep up with the info that keeps my services and business relevant. And yet tapping into the deeper wisdom of living at life’s pace, bringing that wisdom to bear in my business – and, most importantly, letting that nourish my real life life.
    My concern about the fast pace is that we are losing wisdom. Wisdom comes with having the time to think. Having to wait for a letter before responding. Having to plan a garden and plant it before seeing what you can count on for the winter. We’re losing it and I’m concerned about the consequences.
    I’ve written about one angle of this here:
    http://www.yourhealthyhomebiz.com/thinking-101-put-down-the-book-and-step-away-from-the-screen
    Sarah @ Your Healthy Home Biz´s latest post: Exercise Depression Right Out Of You: Proof From A Rough Day!

  65. This post is worth reading just for the comments! Everyone has such great things to offer about this. I’m looking forward to the book to find out *how* to live slowly. Being raised in a fast paced environment, I started to do the same with my own family until I realized we all get along much better when we slow down. At age 41, I’m finally learning to say “no”. I just wish I could get rid of the guilt that comes with that “no”.
    Andee//Nature of a Servant´s latest post: Children’s Book Bank with Girl Scouts – Week 18

  66. I get some great reminders and resources for living slowly at Slow Family Living, a blog, community, and set of workshops devoted to helping individuals and families find ways to slow down. It was created in Austin, TX by my friend Bernadette Noll and her partner at Slow Family Living, Carrie Contey, PhD. Here’s the link: http://slowfamilyliving.com/

  67. Living slowly is hard, but doable. I live in Dallas which is a high-speed city. A great picture of this is that I live at the intersection of two toll-roads in North Dallas, both of which have a speed limit of 70 mph. People are literally whizzing by me all. the. time. We don’t want to pay the tolls so we use the streets and people think we are crazy. That’s literally a “slow” living example, but figuratively it’s hard to live slowly too. We do it by leaving as many hours as we can free from scheduling, whole days free if possible, so we can do what occurs in the moment. And we got rid of TV last year. Entertainment that precludes interaction is a time-suck. And we turn daily chores into communal time: grocery shopping, food prep, laundry. It puts time back in the day when we do that. When our son comes home from S. Korea this year I will be quitting my job which is the one thing I would do now if we didn’t need the money. I don’t know how we’ll manage in specifics, but I know the gift of presence will be better than the gift of presents, if you know what I mean. I would love to have more meals together, not just dinner, as a family. I hope we can do that more when our son gets here.

  68. I think living slowly in our society is equated to laziness which is a major social/cultural no-no in the u.s. I WISH that living slowly didn’t have such a major stigma attached to it. We a currently trying to SLOW down despite the CRAZINESS that surrounds us. Even in a small town that lives much slower than the rest of the world, I still feel rushed by our community sometimes. If I am not signing my children up for all the HIGH QUALITY extra circular activities I am doing my children a disservice. I am mentally exhausted by having to constantly remind myself that when we do “nothing” we are actually giving our children a good thing, time to explore/create/etc. Is this healthy for me mentally, to have to remind myself how to live everyday? If I had more free time I would do more of NOTHING and watch my children do more of NOTHING, profound, huh? I’d give up “keeping up” with the rest of my community as well as the rest of the country. This isn’t REALLY an obligation but our society has actually made KEEPING UP feel so much like and obligation that it has become one (thank you advertising, grrr) Sometimes I wonder, even if we have the intention to LIVE SLOWLY is it truly possible in this society (unless we completely separate ourselves from it and move to the middle of nowhere)? I am scared for my children and all the even more distractions they will have to face as society “progresses”. I’d love to move to another country but feel trapped here because this is where our family is and they are very important to us.

  69. I do not live slowly. My husband and I have 4 kids, 2nd grade, 7th grade, 11th grade, & jr in college. Slow is not in my vocabulary. With my husbands job, he’s gone from 6:15/6:30am until 5:30/6pm everyday. Sometimes later if he has to meet witha client. He is also president of a local home builder group. My 8 yr old is in scouts and baseball. My 7th grader is in chorus & band & track as well as 3-4 after school groups. My 11th grader is in band & jazz band & drumline & soccer/wrestling/track. He’s also starting a new job at a local theme park. And then there is me, I’m an in home daycare provider. In fact I am only able to type this because I am watching 5 kids falling asleep. My hours are from 7-5:30 for my job, but life doest stop there. I’m always on the run, for the children, or e husband..then there is planning my dc day projects/themes, meals for dc & home. Don’t forget laundry, and normal house work, shopping and training (30 hrs for every 2 years per my states dc regulation). It’s just never ending!!!

    My definition: being able to enjoy a baseball game without worrying about the place I have to run rit after. Being able to sit with the family and enjoy a hot meal with some good conversation. Having the capability to going someplace on a whim because I don’t have ties to anything else.

    If I could Add something to my life would be exercise time. I get zero right now, and because of this I am 30 lbs overweight, my blood pressure is higher than it should be as well as my cholesterol.

    One obligation I would love to say no to……probably my job. I would love to devote more time to me, my home and my family. Be able to get to games on time. Be lable to bring things to school when the kids forget something. Be able to have a regular exercise routine so I can hike with my family without being winded and maybe even go on an overnite hike with my husband.

    So living slow I do not do. I would love to, but I think until my kids are grown it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  70. * My definition of “living slowly” is not zipping from activity to activity, not wondering why I raised my ‘helium hand’ for one more project on my plate, and having time to just savor all the majesty of God in the world around me.

    * If I had any spare time, I would add a much longer ‘quiet time’ with Jesus each day. I already have a quiet time but I feel rushed some mornings and I want to really be able to languish with my Bible and listen for Jesus.

    * If you had the freedom to say “no” to one obligation in my life, it would be to work! I am ready to retire and live a life filled with service to my family and others.

  71. avatar
    Emilie says:

    I had a talk with a friend (and fellow foodie) about this. She had some great insight that I will always remember. That a lot about being healthy is making food from scratch, which means taking the time to do it. It’s ‘living slowly’ but about food. You’re less likely to overeat if you take more time to make your food rather than popping an already made meal into the microwave. Also, it gives you more of an appreciation for the food, which will make you enjoy it more as well.
    So for me, living slowly is making your own food and taking the time to enjoy it rather than just taking everything in life more slowly (which, I guess, will come naturally if you just focus on slow cooking). :)

  72. Living slowly to me means being fully engaged in the present moment.

    If I had more spare time I would create more art. I love to paint and create it nourishes my soul, and it is often pushed aside for months because of all of the obligations.

    One obligation I would give up is my need for control.

  73. avatar
    Debbie says:

    Living Slowly: a topic hot on many minds these days, as the responses to your questions demonstrate. My family has also lived overseas and I loved the lower pressure to fill every moment. I read quite a few travel essays with an envy for a less pressured life. That pressure is the frustration with American life I dislike. There is an expectation that I am supposed to be out doing all the time. And, when I am not the guilt is a never ending battle. Yes, there are times of busyness and long to do lists. I am a confessed a list maker. But I am sad to hear so many say they wish they could …. so many good things that would and can add pleasure and sanity to an ever increasing cacophony of speed and expectation of productiveness in our culture which is squelching out the very fiber of peoples beings. I look forward to your insights in this new book.

  74. avatar
    Liisa R says:

    For me, I had a dramatic halt to my fast pace in college when I discovered I had fibromyaglia and the muscles in my arms totally locked up for a month. I had to stop everything — work, school, everything but caring for myself in the most basic ways. 6 years later I have a semi-normal life, but slowed WAY down. It is probably the best gift my illness has given me! At the beginning, and continually since then, I had to evaluate what commitments gave me life and what commitments sucked life from me. I have gotten really good at saying no and have come to know myself much, much better in terms of what I can handle before I get stressed out or exhausted. As an introvert, this looks like lots of time at home, especially on the weekends, a few deep friendships instead of many moderate ones, and time doing my favorite things. Reading, nature, good food, decorating my nest, travel, and fun experiences that are all at the top of the list. It has required my husband to step up and share the household load, and a re-evaluation of our finances and our priorities.
    Also, I teach piano lessons and my husband teaches guitar lessons, so we have seen firsthand how over-scheduled kids (and parents) are these days! We don’t have kids of our own yet, but we have talked a lot about how we want to live at a much slower pace, prayerfully considering what “extras” we value as a family and leaving the rest behind. I’m sure that will adjust some as we meet and get to know our kids, but it has taken a lot of anxiety out of the thought of parenthood for me. Simplifying our life in general has made room for what is truly important to us, and having a family will hopefully be another step in that direction, despite the challenges involved! :)

  75. I think living slowly is about living in a way that one has enough time to enjoy life and connect with the world. I feel my life is divided into two parts—my slow days with my three kids at home and then my crazy drive like a maniac afternoons. To change that a little bit, as a family we’ve been looking for activities that fit into a slower pace. So we’ve skipped baseball (which involves driving to practice 3 days a week and fitting a game or two into the weekends) and instead signed up for swimming. My kids walk or ride their bikes to the pool two afternoons a week. They see people they know walking at the park. They spend just as much time trasping through the weeds and poking in gopher holes as they do swimming. Their swimming time is just as much about connecting with the world around them as it is about swimming.
    MissMOE´s latest post: Wordless Wednesday 5.2.2012

  76. avatar
    Sharon says:

    Slow living to me, means not rushing from one thing to the next. I have family members that had 4 different events on a Saturday. And they went to all four!!! They have two Elementary school age kids that are each involved in various activities. And they have a newborn. I feel sorry for their kids. I don’t think they have any downtime or even much quality time together as a family. They just go from event to event to event. I think my husband, toddler and I live slower than most. I stay at home with our daughter. We do love to get out on a regular basis and do have play dates etc. but we don’t have many actual commitments. Our days are very flexible. We hardly ever have plans on weeknights. And our weekends are pretty low key. We usually have plans maybe 2 weekends a month. The other two weekends are spent at home, at the park, running errands, etc. I do still feel rushed though. I feel like there is so much I would like to do. (Declutter our home, read every book imaginable, spend more time couponing, etc.) If I had more time, my number one priority would be reading. If I could cut one thing from my schedule, it would be housework! My daughter is young, and I know things will pick up as she gets older and starts school, but I’d still like for us to be home more often than not. Before I got married, I worked full-time and had plans most nights of the week and had multiple plans over the weekend. But, my husband is very introverted and that has led to our slower lifestyle. And I love it (most of the time anyways!)

  77. avatar
    Crystal says:

    I think the hardest thing about choosing to “live slowly” is that it means disappointing people, saying no to activities and events. In mainstream American culture, it requires a lot of effort and boundaries to actively choose that life. Of course, the benefits are phenomenal, but it’s not a default setting, it’s an active, daily choice. Especially if you’re blessed to have great community around you, it means you can’t do every activity that you want to. Sometimes you have to schedule in quiet days/nights at home, even if there are exciting things going on and you have to remain flexible, reevaluating what is best for your family. There are times to be responsible to commitments and there are times that it’s appropriate to no follow through on a social obligation in order to focus on your family and the example you set in terms of choosing peace. When I try to do it all, I almost always regret it because the result is lack of peace within and without.

    I can’t do it all. I can’t go to every birthday party, or be involved in every worthy cause, or fulfill all the social expectations of others. I can’t even fulfill all the expectations I have of myself in terms of being involved, etc.

    At least for me, that’s generally how it is. And this type of decision requires a conscious awareness of your values, goals and priorities so that you can stand your ground and resist external pressures to join the chaos. For me, as a single parent, there’s an extra need to not let things get out of hand because I don’t have a back-up adult to assist. In some ways, it’s hard because I can’t do everything I’d like to – and in some ways it really helps me because I don’t even have the option to extend myself. My priorities have to be simple and I can’t afford the risk of burn out because there’s no one there to pick up the slack if I over-commit.

  78. Compared to most families these days we live VERY slowly. I think we can thank homeschooling for a lot of that. There aren’t a bunch of afterschool activities or birthday parties you feel obligated to go to etc.
    I’ll try to answer your questions as best as I can.
    What’s your definition of “living slowly”?
    My definition of living slowly is not allowing “things” to take over your life. And by things I mean outside obligations that are unnecessary. Sometimes home things can start to take over and we forget to slow down even at home.
    What’s one thing you’d add to your life if you had the spare time?
    I’d probably add having an Etsy shop. I love to craft and stuff but put most of it on the back burner because of the season I am in with children and such. And I don’t mind putting it on the back burner because I want to enjoy my kids while I have them here.
    If you had the freedom to say “no” to one obligation in your life right now, what would it be?
    I have to laugh because I really haven’t said yes to anything since I had my last child 7 years ago, so I’m good. LOL!
    Can’t wait to see what your next book is.
    Have a lovely day.
    Kim
    Kim @ Homesteader’s Heart´s latest post: A Blog Post to Tell You About Upcoming Blog Posts.

  79. I have cancer, a metastatic sarcoma that I’ll probably be fighting for the rest of my life. So… I make the most of my time here on this earth. Not to the point of exhaustion, but I do make the most of each day. I am always in the midst of a project, painting, redecorating, or improving my house in some way. Part of me feels that if I were to leave, I want everything to be “just so” at home for my hubby. We also enjoy our life and take the time to enjoy each other and our family. I feel blessed.
    SJN´s latest post: my outdoor room with a view

  80. avatar
    Sandra says:

    I too have lived overseas and loved living slower too. I agree with what many have said. For me it is not packing my schedule so tight that I am always on the go. With 5 kids that can be hard. I used to do that and realized I was always in the car and didn’t quite see the point to it all. So we dropped our activities and now my kids are not in any activites and life definitley slowed down and I think we are all happier. I find many stay at home moms are never at home. My kids like to be at home and I dont feel this need to always be somewhere. One thing I have loved about other countries is the “siesta” lifestyle where you take time to rest and slow down. I think it takes a conscious effort to slow down and actually want to slow down. It is easy to get sucked into the go go go lifestyle even if its just to feel you measure up to all the families that have so much going on and have their kids in so many things. I definitely feel that pressure where we live.

  81. I have spent the last fifteen years trying to figure out why life in this country is so much different then we had in Germany. I am german, and I lived there until I married my husband in 1995. I agree with you 100% that life here is like being in the fast lane all the time. We never find the time anymore to just relax, take in a cappucino, walk, and spend hours in a restaurant, or go on a nice vacation (longer then 14 days).
    I have come to the conclusion, that this country is just different in so many ways. One of the first things that bothered me so much when I arrived – and I mean literally sent me crying to bed – was the fact that I never saw people. I saw billboards, tons of cars, metal, concrete, but no social interaction. Mothers walking babies, bicycles, old people on a bus, and children walking to school are just some of the things I realized were just no longer there. In Europe, no matter where you go you are surrounded by “life”, and all of the emotions that come with it. You are automatically pulled into it, allowing your visual senses to overflow with emotions just from things you see on a day-to-day basis.
    The problem with this country is that we have no infrastructure, and we don’t think of the future. Although regulation scares many people, it is also the basis of a great community. For example, the lack of sidewalks and bike lanes leads more children and families to stay inside. Street lights should be mandatory in most neighborhoods, so people can feel safe, be allowed to walk outside, and meet their neighbors. I could go on and on. Malls should be built that people can walk across the street.
    Regulation in Europe does not allow businesses to pop up just everywhere. In Germany for example, the businesses are in the center of town. No cars are allowed, only pedestrians, and city transportation. Most people have to walk, and you will find more mom-and-pop type stores, then these huge time-wasting, money sucking “Wal-Mart’s”. Of course, most of the time, you stop and get a cup of coffee with a pastry, or choose to eat at a great restaurant. And yes, dinner should take a few hours.
    Life is worth living over there, not just because life is slower, but because life spoils you – the person.
    I had a minimium of 6 weeks of vacation, and travelled every summer to a new destination around the world. Sick leave? It did not exist. If you were sick, you were sick. Medical bills? none. We ate out at least twice a week, and enjoyed the dinner and did not mind the cost. We ate the heavy food, pastries each day, but because we walked every weekend for hours with our dog, we never gained a pound. Our social life was always full of fun things to do, cultural events, and we had a ton of friends.
    I live in Florida now, and one of the first things I did when I moved was to look for a neighborhood with children playing, people working in their yards, and not alot of traffic. I like where we live, and even though we spend most of the time in car vs. on a bicycle, I too have gotten used to the life as it is. I still force myself to stay home on Sundays. I refuse to go shopping on a Holiday, and send the kids outside to play all the time. I try to make a difference. I will not shop at Walmart. Instead I seek out Farmer’s Markets, and bakeries to buy the things we need. I do cook most of the time, and I try to meet up with my friends once a week for a little bit of social interaction.
    I wish everyone in this country could have this experience for at least 6months. It definitely opens your eyes to a different way of life.
    Jeannine McCloskey´s latest post: Popsicle Dress

    • avatar
      Tiffany says:

      While I have not lived abroad, I have traveled to Europe a dozen times or more and agree that life seems much richer there. I was often traveling on business and would find us spending hours at lunch, lingering over a good meal, talking about families and the weekend ahead. Work seemed to be their secondary life, not their primary life like it is in America. Thanks for the dreamy description, Jeannine.

  82. I go in and out of living slowly. We were definitely able to do it when we lived on Kauai. But living in a big city gives you so many options to do more, more, more. I think right now, my margins are small because I am trying to reach a certain goal with a few projects under my wings. But I question the insanity frequently. Is it worth it to hustle, work and hustle some more when I miss quiet moments with my daughter? I do give my daughter 1:1 time every day with no distractions. And I also give myself 10-20 minutes per day to lay down, focus on my breath and listen to meditation music. My body, mind and soul need that stillness and nothingness when I have a million ideas constantly running through my mind. But I think I would like to balance living slowly and a fast-paced life. When I was on Kauai, I missed the action. I was not as inspired or connected with art and culture– and I’m a performing artist who thrives on watching live music and shows. But on Kauai I was more connected with nature and simplicity which sometimes I miss to stop and look at when I’m always in my car in a big city. So ideally I’d love to live in a big city with a retreat to live slowly several months out of the year to recharge. I think living slowly is an intention. You just reshift your focus and slow down in the chaos. Things take longer when you sow down, but you really get to savor the moments and do things deliberately instead of always reacting. Looking forward to your next book!
    Jadah {family sponge}´s latest post: What I really want for Mother’s Day

  83. Living slowly to me means that we have time to breath everyday. We are not the family that is running 24 / 7. I believe that if we don’t have time for silence everyday we are to busy.
    Debbie´s latest post: Leadership Training

  84. This is a good, thought-provoking question! :) I want to say that I live more slowly than many of my friends…my husband works a full-time job and teaches a half-semester course in the Fall and Spring (for our taxes!) he is also one of the Pastors in our church. So his time is full. I’m a home schooling mom to 3 of our 6 children and I have a small home business on Etsy and I’m looking out for my aging parents that live next door.
    We made the choice to live in rural NY so on the one hand we don’t have all the neighborhood drama that many people have but it takes us 30 minutes to go anywhere (groceries, church, work).
    Also, we decided not to participate in all the many activities that are out there for our children. One of our children takes piano lessons from someone in our church so we use that time for a little bit of fellowship each week. Our oldest child is involved in our church puppet ministry and volunteers in our church food pantry. The youngest (5) goes wherever we go! :)
    I spend most of my time, between housework, school and business. I have already said “no” to any church commitments other than our once a month Bible study (I co-lead). I think I would want to spend more time with my husband if I had a little more spare time. Otherwise, I feel like I’m doing what I should be. I have tried to think what I would get rid of and can’t think of anything in particular…although, I am trying to implement what you have suggested in your ebook “Organized Simplicity”. :)
    Karen´s latest post: KateXpressions Creating…new designs…

  85. Tsh, I DO think it is very difficult in the US. I grew up overseas, and my husband and I hope to live overseas for at least a few years. In France, where I grew up, people hang out at the park on Sunday afternoons. Many families take evening walks after supper….all year round. They sit around the dinner table for hours, savoring the conversation as much as the delicious food.

    My husband is a student now…we have found those around us to lead very hectic lives. We have to make very conscious decisions not to. One thing I do is to not do regularly scheduled events. This allows me the freedom to have friends over or go out with friends on any given day.

    What I think a slow life is:
    Being able to go on a picnic to the park, spur of the moment.
    Lingering over a cup of coffee.
    Enjoying a book for pleasure.
    Watching my kids wade in the creek at the park without worrying about a schedule that we have to get back for.
    Stopping everything to help my kids through an emotional time.
    Etc…it is so difficult to make happen yet so important. Can’t wait to read your book. :)
    Johanna´s latest post: Watching out for your kids needs

  86. For me, living slowly takes some planning and a departure from the instant gratification lifestyle that we have here in the United States. I am not a purist about this lifestyle but I do raise my own chickens, tend a garden and partake in an organic food coop. I buy locally raised lamb each year from a friend and when my family has enjoyed the last meal of the lamb we wait until the next year’s lamb purchase is made. A few of our hens were lost to predators recently and now the rhythm of my baking and cooking is altered by the number of eggs that I am able to gather per day. Some days, there are no eggs, but I don’t rush to the grocery store to buy them. For me, living slowly also means taking the time to savour the abundance that we do have and give thanks.

  87. Living slowly is having time to enjoy people. Turning off the screens. Turning off the phones. Just enjoying your family. Whenever we go to the family cottage, life instantly slows down. Even when we’re busy, we’re busy going to the beach, hiking in the woods, canoeing down a river, picking berries. All things that are fun and draw family together. There’s no TV, no internet, barely even a cell signal. It’s my favorite place to be.

    If I could add something, it would be more hospitality. I try to invite people over once a month, but it doesn’t always happen because weekends fill up fast.

    The only obligation I have right now that I wish I could back out of is being a trustee for my village. I’m in the last 7 months of a 4 year term and I am ready to be done. My life is not the same that it was 3.5 yrs ago when I ran for office. But I keep my commitments so I will continue to serve until my term is up.

  88. For me, living slowly means having a 20% margin in my life. In other words, my life is about 80% filled with 20% left for breathing, relaxing, existing. That 20% also gives God room to move in unexpected ways. My slow life is one of balance and simplicity FOR ME. In other words, what I consider balanced and simple will look very different for someone else. I would love to take piano lessons, but I refuse to fill my life beyond that 80%. I’ve been there before and don’t want to be overloaded. Piano lessons can wait until the kids are out of the house in about 10 years. If I could say “no” to one obligation, I am not sure what it would be. I feel like my life is pretty in place right now.
    Kari Scaer´s latest post: Sunday Reflections – Overwhelmed with God

  89. The last year has been the first I would consider “living slowly”, at least compared to America’s standards. If you want to “live slowly” in America, you have to be INTENTIONAL about it. We made some huge changes in our lifestyle to get there, the most influential was that I quit my job to become a SAHM. (you can read more about all of the changes here: http://thecreativemama.com/putting-the-life-back-into-your-years/) We also don’t commit to everything we’re asked to do. We don’t go to every church event or every birthday party. My kids aren’t in a dozen sports or activities and we don’t pack our weekends with plans. Yes, we miss out on some things that sound fun or may be something considered “good” but honestly, we aren’t “missing” anything. We haven’t been this happy in YEARS :)

    The last piece, for us, is that we have lived day by day. We have goals and dreams (and plans to get there) but we aren’t rocked by changes to them. For example, in 12 days we need to move. I have no idea if we are staying in the city we currently live in or if we are moving to Bend (looking forward to finally grabbing that cup of coffee with you, Tsh!) We will (hopefully) know by tomorrow but if not, what’s the worst that could happen? We trust that God has always and will always provide.

    I didn’t know I had so much to say about the topic but I can’t wait to read the new book, I’m always looking for more ideas to slow down and enjoy living :)

  90. avatar
    Michelle says:

    For me living slowly means not having to multi-task. I’d like the luxury (where possible) of doing one thing at a time.
    I agree with one of the replies above about not adding anything else to my life but spending more time on the things I enjoy already.
    I would love to say no to some of the class birthday party invitations (last weekend all three of my daughters were invited to different ones) however we are living in a foreign country and we say yes to the invitations in order for our children to socialise more with children in our village.

  91. avatar
    Jonalyn says:

    I would say that living slowly means living within or under our time “budget”. As a mom of 5, I have overscheduled myself for years. It got worse when I went from being a full time stay at home mom to a full time working mom 4 years ago. I also was a full time student at that time. I was definitely not living slowly. I have returned to being a stay at home mom and am working on slowing the pace of our lives. I’m cooking more homemade meals rather than eating out because we don’t have time to cook. I am spending more time reading with, playing with and enjoying my children and husband. I have returned to a more marital relationship centered life rather than a child centered and driven life. All these changes are helping to slow our pace.

    I also believe that living slowly means living within financial means. It helps to live life more slowly when you aren’t looking over your shoulder worried there are bill collectors knocking down your door. Paying cash for more items and saving for those items we can’t afford right away is rewarding. I believe it helps to appreciate things more fully.

  92. avatar
    Stephanie B. says:

    Sundays as a Sabbath are a necessity for me. Time worshiping God and learning with fellow believers in church and relaxing with my family, not doing any chores that don’t have to be done. What I would love to do would be to have time to solely devote to gardening, raising chickens, and preserving food. I do garden and put away food, but I am involved in a very busy ministry that divides my time. I would like to be able to devote more time to just visiting with older people and friends in our community.

  93. avatar
    Elissa says:

    I love my “life in the slow lane” (I seriously want a T-shirt with that on it). It wasn’t always slow living for me though. I felt God call me back in 2009 to start giving up a lot of things that I was involved in. They were “good” things but I don’t believe that they were the things that God wanted for me. It felt so good though to de-clutter and de-stress my schedule. I am loving being a homeschoolin’ mama to my three amazing boys, wife to my super-awesome hubby, and a part-time (like twice a month) baking and soap-making instructor. The only thing that I am sort of itching to have is a (once or twice a month) group of women who desire to live simple lives, loving and serving Jesus, our families and “our neighbors”.

    • avatar
      Elissa says:

      Just got done reading Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. I really enjoyed it although she does treat the Amish as if they were a monolithic culture. But I still really enjoyed the message of the book.

  94. Mmmm, I love that you’re writing on this. It’s sure to be excellent!

    At the moment, my definition of living slowly is rather narrow. I mostly think of it when I’m getting my 2 year old ready in the morning or to leave the house. I try to “give him the gift of slow” as I believe Jamie once wrote about. Whenever possible, I give us 15 minutes longer than *I* think it should take to complete a task to allow him to be independent as much as possible. When we have to skip this ritual…things go down hill!

    If I could add one thing to my life right now it would be an extra hour of sleep at night. I keep ending up with only 7 due to dishes, late night chats with my husband, or frankly, wasting time.

    If I could say “no” to one obligation it would be sorting/de-cluttering. I’m ready to be done. The two steps forward, one step back dance gets tedious…
    Sarah G @ JoyontheJourney´s latest post: The Best Letter I’ve Ever Received

  95. When I lived in West Africa, I heard a phrase that I thought was awesome, hysterical, and painfully true: “The white man invented the watch, but we have the time.”
    We’ve kind of unintentionally built a slow lifestyle into our little urban life. We had it even before we had children, so I have hopes that we can maintain it as they grow older (obviously making adjustments for different seasons).
    When I read your book, Organized Simplicity, I was finally able to put my finger on it. We were only doing things that (1) we really believed in, and/or (2) that we really loved doing. This meant saying no to everything else, which I think is 90% of the battle. Saying no to good things, like volunteer opportunities and activities with friends sounds crazy in our culture, but if those activities aren’t in tune with our family mission statement (to use your Organized Simplicity phrase), it’s not a priority that we’re going to allow to steal our family’s peace.
    So to answer the questions”
    (1) What you said in your first book about family mission statements and creating a schudule describes “living slowly” pretty well. I’m excited that you’ll be able to expound on that concept more (because ya know our culture needs to hear it!)
    (2) The one thing I would’ve said I’d like to add was a YMCA membership to keep us active, engaged, and keep us active as a family and a couple. Thanks to having a free, slower schedule, we were able to do that and use it pretty frequently.
    (3) Can I obliterate dishes and cleaning floors from my schedule? Keeping up with the housework – even in our tiny house – is such a time filler, and I hate trading time with my kids (or my husband in the evening) for soending more time over the sink or dishwasher.
    My two cents. Thanks for the questions and for Simple Living Media. I love it.
    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)´s latest post: On the Menu: 3 Ways I Simplify & Streamline

  96. I live slower than many of my peers, but I wouldn’t say slowly. With a 4yo, 2yo, and 5mo in the house, our day ebbs and flows between naps and fast-paced activity. We place a premium on our afternoon siestas, and rest is part of our weekly plan. Cooking together, reading together, cuddling on the couch are also daily activities when in slow-mode; but I also seek activities like parks, playgrounds, nature walks, and going to our local splash pad that are cheap forms of active entertainment for the energetic older two …while I can sit and smile and feed the baby.

  97. avatar
    Rachel says:

    I agree with what the previous commenter said. I live life more slowly than many of my peers, but I never feel like my life is slow. On the other hand I am filling it with things that are important to me that other people would consider slow. Making my own food and snacks for our family 90% of the time. Hanging my clothes on the line when it is not raining. Walking and biking many times we go somewhere. Spending most nights at home as a family (or with at least one parent home). Spending most afternoons (when it is nice) in our backyard on the swings, in the sandbox and reading books.
    In my perfect world I would get rid of our TV, I feel like that adds more stress to our lives. (We are on our way…) I would spend more time sewing and crafting if my life was slower. I am not sure that I would take away an obligation. I fell like I have gotten pretty good at saying no.

  98. avatar
    Bessie Watson says:

    I have only recently learned the value and “ok-ness” of allowing myself to say, “No.” And, yes, it has helped in my quest to live life more slowly :) I am able to offer my “better” self to doing the things I HAVE agreed to in a much more efficent and helpful manner! People are less likely to have me involved in their projects/programs/get-togethers in a half-hearted way, when I just know it’s not good timing or in my family’s best interest, so everybody wins!

  99. If I had the time in my day, I would love to be able to cook all three meals from scratch and entertain friends/family at our home on a regular basis. Shamefully, what I’d love to give up are my kids’ extra-curriculars. My two oldest play baseball in a town where the sport requires as much devotion from seven and ten year olds as the major league expects from pros. Four days a week for each of them, practice schedules are released each Sunday, and invariably, we’re running to baseball six days a week and twice a week trying to get two boys to different practice fields at the same time. No fun for me nor the 4 year old.

  100. avatar
    Aubrey says:

    I am in graduate school (Master of Theology-bound), have to work part time, I teach adult Sunday school every other week, I help plan women’s ministry events, and my son is not quite 3. My husband is also in school and looking for part time work.

    Because of all that, my life doesn’t feel slow. Since I’ve been in school I’ve intentionally done nothing on Sundays. No reading, no writing, no housework, no meetings. Just sit, play with my son, eat a freezer meal, don’t clean it up until Monday. Say, “It’s not my problem.” Sweet bliss. All this to say I think living slowly would involve keeping the feel of my Sabbath throughout the week. Having time, each day, for a kind of mini-Sabbath, where I can do whatever I want with my family (or by myself) and not do anything I HAVE to do. I think living slowly is about creating buffers between you and your schedule wherever you can find them.

    If I could say no to something, it might be to cut back on ministry a bit, but honestly I’m looking forward to when my husband is out of school and I can be at home again. I’d say “no” to paid work outside the home. Also, some family commitments (because they just add stress sometimes, amiright).
    One thing I’d like to add is more time to run, because I used to be a distance runner and no longer have the time. I also miss playing the piano.

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