Lifestyle

Simple Living and the Slow Movement

When it comes to lifestyle, what I’m hoping to find is balance. We hear a lot about work life balance, but there is so much more to the life part that we ignore and as a result, work seems to be the focus.  Admittedly for most of us, work does take up a significant amount of our time.  Those who have families are juggling work with children and school and all the joys and challenges that family life brings.  Our materialistic culture seems to have created a situation where we work more and more, to obtain more and more stuff that we don’t really need.  And because we are working so hard, we don’t have time to use the stuff anyway. Often our spare time gets used up trying to manage the stuff that we don’t have time to use. It’s a depressingly vicious cycle. However, there are a lot of people who are trying to do things differently. Recent times have seen the emergence of the simple living and slow movements. More and more people are opting out of the ‘norm’. The internet is full of blogs and websites about getting rid of your stuff, decluttering, downshifting, seachanging, slowing down, minimalism and more. When you find yourself wondering what the point of life is, this alternate approach is like a breath of fresh air.

Over time I have slowly been simplifying my life, getting rid of stuff I don’t need, working towards a situation where I can balance my work, family life and personal life in a way that works for everyone.

slowLeisure

One of the reasons this blog exists is a result of my desire for more leisure time.  Perhaps it is just me, but I struggle to manage life in any kind of productive way if I am so busy that a week passes where I have not had any free time. It seems more and more that leisure is becoming somewhat of a luxury. In a society where work is the focus, and working so we can buy stuff is the norm, leisure has taken a back seat.

Leisure by definition is simply free or discretionary time.  Time without commitments, time to do as we please. Blissful time to relax, unwind, explore the things that interest us. Recreation is often what we do in our free time. These activities literally re-create us so we can feel renewed and regenerated in order to face the rest of our life.  Without leisure, and the opportunities for re-creation that it brings, life becomes a frantic blur, a pointless waste, an emptiness, a longing…..

It seems that we are often defined by our work. She is a doctor, he is an engineer. He is a builder, she is a secretary. She is a tax officer, he is a labourer. Really?  For some people their vocation is their passion.  It is who they are and the line between work and life is blurred.  For others, work is a job, a chore, something that takes them away from the rest of their life.  I am a teacher and work with many colleagues who are so passionate about learning and education that the line between their work and leisure time disappears. But what about the factory worker who hates their job? They come home and they cook beautiful meals, research recipes, create masterpieces for the dinner table.  Are they a factory worker, or are they a cook?  And then there is the cleaner who after work spends her time participating in environmental protection groups. She volunteers with local charities to raise awareness of local ecological issues. Is she a cleaner, or an activist?

Why can’t leisure be the thing that defines us?  Is it okay that so many people accept a life with limited or no leisure time? Does having a passion for uninterrupted, self-indulgent time make us lazy, or selfish?  I believe that without time for reflection, contemplation and engagement in things that make us feel alive, we are not really living at all.

Relax

Blog Posts About Leading a Life Less Busy