I came here to write a whole totally different post, but I really have to write the words that want to be written. I think that’s part of what true writing (art making of any kind) is about. Not what we want, but just what comes, what happens.
I’ve been thinking so much about all this slow living that I keep reading about, seeing everywhere all over social media. Seriously it’s my catch-phrase… maybe it’s the motto of the year. No? But really I keep questioning what it means because currently life feels anything but slow. The only slow at the moment is the speed at which I manage to get through my epic to-do list.
I’m weary, I’m completely exhausted. I don’t know some days how to even drag myself out of bed and do all the things I have to do. I know I’m not alone – golly. Far from it. I see the other parents at school drop with faces scurrying to the next thing, thinking of all that needs to get done before school pick up, and dinner and the tussle to get the kids to bed. All the things to achieve before we ourselves fall into our beds. Every day feels like I’m going backwards in every sense of what I need to do just simply to get through the week of living.
There’s always a pile of dishes to finish, and clothes simply get moved from one pile of clean clothes to being on a body to dirty clothes, to clothes line, back to clean clothes pile. Endlessly and always things that I didn’t do. There’s a year’s worth of weeding, gardening, mowing, clearing to do outside. It’ll take me at least a week to sit down with all my paperwork and sort it out to do my taxes. If I want to bother cleaning out the kids clothes I know I’ll need to scrap the thought of doing anything for a whole weekend, and then some.
And all this before I’ve even actually started thinking about this work I do. This business we’re making / living / running / working. To do one thing – sit here and build a website, email customers, write these blog posts (that need to be spoken), take those photos, hustle the work. To do that means leaving the dishes for another time, for later, for tomorrow, for my kids to whinge about not having to do. To do the dishes and put the clothes away, and go shopping and make biscuits for my family means I don’t get that important part added to my website, or that photo taken when the light is right. Driving my kids to school and then picking them up, making lunch for my baby and then feeding him to sleep means I don’t get to my dye pots to dye the fabric people are waiting for. All these things.
BUT the most important thing I’ve been realising I’m not getting. The thing that keeps getting pushed off the list, pages and pages down the process of any lists. Simply sitting in the sun, simply having a real conversation with my husband or my sister or my friend, simply sipping tea, simply playing with my little ones. Any of these things without thinking of all the other things I should be doing, need to be doing, I’m behind me, I’ve forgotten, someone’s waiting for……..
Instead of #theartofslowliving I’m working towards a new way of thinking for myself. To give myself space to breathe and to think and to simply be. I’m working towards intentional living. Doing these things I need to do, but with an intention. With a meaning. Going through my day not thinking of what I should be doing – but actively choosing to be intentional with what I am doing. If my to-do list is giant, that’s ok – I cannot do more than I physically can. The reality is I need to embrace each job, give over to it, allow it to be. And then move on to the next thing. Rather than rushing from thing to thing to try and get it all done. All this talk of slow just feels like rushed.
I keep wondering what I can drop, let go of. Seriously nothing – there’s nothing that can be scraped from the list. I cannot push aside the work of making my business and my income, yet I cannot push aside the time with my children and family. They must somehow work and learn to live and co-exist. Somehow. People talk about working smarter and not harder, but sometimes I don’t know how to move towards that. For me – I’m choosing instead to work intentionally, thoughtfully, purposefully. To give fully to one thing, and then fully to the next thing.
I know at the end of the day I will never ever EVER finish my to-do list. Perhaps most of us never will. Maybe that’s ok. As long as we realise that, and be ok with it. As long as we’re honest about it, and share it with others. And don’t lump things on someone else’s to-do list thoughtlessly.
Today I searched cheap accommodation in our region. I thought a night at the beach would be the best. And it would. Oh yes indeed – a night with my family in a swish hotel (remember we have outdoor toilet + shower, we don’t have a tv, we share a bedroom). But oh…..of course nothing in our budget, but also. To go away for a night would mean leaving jobs undone, time away from jobs to be done. Instead we’ve decided to go to the beach for the afternoon. To soak up the fresh sea air and be content with those moments. A compromise perhaps – but while I’m at the beach tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be feeling as if I’m on holiday. Even if it’s only a 3 hour holiday. Intentional living will help me work towards being in those moments, fully soaking them up.
Be gentle with yourselves Friends. Take time to remember the beautiful moments. Choose what you do wisely, choose intentionally to live the life you want rather than scurrying about. And hot chips for dinner at the beach every so often is highly recommended.
*though if someone were to ring and say we’d won a night’s holiday at the beach. We’d be there in an instant that’s for sure!