Lest you think that's one massive humble-brag, please know this: Did slowing down and simplifying make our lives easier? Not really. And certainly not in the beginning. Simpler, yes, but not easier. What it did do was put the important things front and center. We can now, most days at least, rest easy in the knowledge that we're giving those important things the attention, love, time, and space they deserve. And we can also see that those important things really aren't things at all.
Every week, I receive emails asking how we achieved this values-centered life. Turns out many of you are facing the same challenges my husband and I were struggling with six years ago. And believe me, I get it.
As homes get bigger and self-storage facilities blossom in the suburbs, we find ourselves obsessed with the acquisition of ever more: stuff, status, activity, likes, followers, friends, and money.
Catalogues arrive daily. Online stores ring with purchases made day and night. Retail therapy is mistaken for actual therapy. Social media is used to sell us new clothes, new lifestyles, new business opportunities, new health trends. Advertisements bombard us with the next big thing, making us feel inadequate until we relent and buy, just to fit in.
To paraphrase American actor Will Rogers, we buy things we can't afford to impress people we don't like. And we do it every day.
We fill our calendars with meetings and parties, lessons and classes. We bemoan how busy we are while saying yes to another commitment.
We do these things because we believe, on some level, they will make us happy. We believe that if we just find the right combination of stuff and status, it will perfectly fill the discontented hole in our lives.
But we are more stressed than ever.
We are overwhelmed by a relentless amount of information every day. We have blooming consumer debt. We have homes so large, we can't keep them maintained. We have breakfast and dinner in the car. We have weekends booked out for months in advance. We have forgotten what it is to have less. Less stuff. Less stress. Less expectation. Less to do. Less to be. Less to prove. We are hyperconnected and utterly disconnected at the same time. We engage with strangers on social media, but we don't say hello to our neighbors.
Whenever I have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with people about creating a slower life of less, the response is almost always the same: their shoulders slump as they sigh and say, "Oh, that's what I need."
Usually, that's followed up with the question "But how?"
This book is an introduction to why a slower life is a more contented one, as well as a practical guide to how to achieve it.
Because I understand how hard it can be to crave simplicity or a slower pace when your reality is of overstuffed cupboards, booked-out weekends, and a crammed schedule. And I know how difficult it is to move from the theory into practice without hands-on guidance.
That's where slow living comes in.
WHAT IS SLOW LIVING?
Over the past two years on the Slow Home Podcast, I've interviewed more than one hundred people who all have different views on what it means to live a slower life. From moving to the country to urban living, tiny homes to ethical consumption, self-sustainability to slow food—there is no one way of describing the external indicators of slow living, because there is no one way to live a slower, simpler life.
This book is about how you can choose to slow down. Step off the ever-revolving carousel of want-buy-want-upgrade. Opt out of the comparison games. Stop cramming a month's worth of engagements into a weekend. Refuse to live your life according to trends. Tread lighter on the earth. Create a home and a life that is simpler and slower and, most importantly, works for you.