Living more slowly in this whirlwind of a society isn’t the easiest choice in the world. For me it was a deliberate decision, a little scary, and takes practice every day… it’s not yet second nature.
Lots of people ask what it means to live slower, live greener and have a vintage way of life. Really, it’s all about the attitude – the overall picture rather than the specifics.
There’s a whole Slow Living movement – people wanting to be more present and more mindful, and to appreciate each day we have. It has overtones of being more green, of self-sufficiency and refusing to take part in the rat race. But it’s not prescriptive – it’s more about personal preference and being able to fit your principles into your daily life.
It’s different for every person who discovers the idea and takes up the mantle. For me, long torn between my love of vintage style and scruples, and my unquenchable thirst for technology and knowledge, it’s become a balance of the two, and all about choosing what works for my lifestyle.
So what does it look like, this harmony of opposites? Well, often it involves being generally thrifty but splurging without guilt on things that make me happy. (Shoes! Books! Learning! Typewriters!) Cooking lavishly and abundantly, then buying pudding. Finding perfect retro additions to my home and wardrobe via the wonder of the internet. An emphasis on experiences rather than things. Taking the time to write by hand to say thank you for gifts or time, or just to say hello.
More drastically, I quit the City a couple of years back to work nearer home and have more time to spend on the people and things that matter to me – my family, my friends and my businesses. Though juggling them sometimes keeps me even busier than I used to be!
I grow herbs and flowers instead of vegetables. I walk or cycle to work because it’s greener and healthier, but when I do drive, I drive my beloved sports car. I still use a fountain pen or a typewriter to stay in touch with friends, and I spend my evenings coding websites. And I wear repro or vintage-inspired because I’m a UK 16 and there really aren’t that many originals around which fit me.
It’s an infinitely adaptable lifestyle and it’s changing all the time. This column will explore what it means to decide to live slowly, and share my experiences in changing from City worker to semi-self-employed, slow living ambassador. I have too much of a love affair with digital technology and cars to ever be truly green, but that’s the joy of this movement – it fits with who you are and who you’d like to be.