Table of Contents
- Life In The Fast Lane
- The Emergence Of Slow Living
- What is Slow Living
- Further Reading
Life In The Fast Lane
As humans of the 21st century, we are conditioned to live life in the fast lane. Having a ‘busy life’ and ‘always being ‘on the go’ are generally considered markers for success.
Swiping up a sugar-loaded Starbucks, scrambling to buy the latest iPhone as soon as it is launched and standing in long queues to pay a ridiculous amount for that jacket, just because it is trending, is ‘in’. But, do these things and possessions really fulfill us? Or are we simply buying them incessantly to meet the criteria for social validation? Have we paused to think about the origin of that possession or wondered what impact is this fast-paced lifestyle having on us, those around us, on our environment?
We are so focused on ‘owning’ and ‘having’ that we are forgetting to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’. Slow living may not answer all these questions but puts things in perspective for us. To a layman, slow living would sound like life that’s slow which further means ‘boring’. It may also come across as a life that is dominated by meditation and yoga and no ‘fun’. In fact, it is anything but boring. A life lived slowly or ‘slow living’ can actually enrich your life.
Slow living is synonymous with ‘mindful’ living and ‘sustainable living’ as well.Slow living is synonymous with ‘mindful’ living and ‘sustainable living’ as well. Click To Tweet
The Emergence Of Slow Living
Although these new ways of living have become lifestyle trends only recently, slow living as a social movement started in the 1980s in Italy as a protest against fast-food chain McDonald’s – the harbinger of unsustainable fast-food culture.
In 1986, Carlo Petrini, known as the founder of the Slow Living Movement, spearheaded the protest along with a group of like-minded activists against McDonald’s that was setting up shop in Rome. The aim of their campaign was to “defend traditional food, the good gastronomy pleasure, as well as a slower pace of life” (Slow living lifestyle, what is and how to start it?, 2018).
Slowly and gradually, the concept of slow food extended to other contexts e.g. clothing, beauty, etc. and gave birth to the broader concept of ‘slow living’. Although McDonald’s and others like it flourish, the slow living movement is becoming stronger as well.
Thanks to activists like Carlo Petrini, who also wrote the book Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair, practitioners of slow living, awareness generation, education and information communication, slow living has garnered the attention of the world and is here to stay.
What is Slow Living
“Slow living has over 100,000 followers in more than 40 countries who rely on a slow pace in cooking, work, school and even leisure”…it is a “worldwide cultural current that promotes the slowdown of our present fast lifestyle”. (Slow living lifestyle, what is and how to start it?, 2018)
According to Vanilla Papers, “Slow living has become a big trend. But its essential message is about consuming less and taking a slower approach to everyday life.”
The author of In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed, Carl Honore, lists out certain features of Slow living while comparing it with fast-paced lifestyles. He argues that Slow living,
- Helps one cope with burnout which is the result of fast living
- It is a mindset, a lifestyle and behaviour change
- It is about doing to the best of one’s abilities rather than quickly or hurriedly
- Choosing quality over quantity
- Being present in the moment and doing things thoughtfully
- Doing things at the right speed and time.
- Having a balanced and healthy relationship with technology instead of being consumed by it
- Letting go of the fear of missing out and focusing on things that matter; prioritizing what’s really important and learning to say no to the rest
Improve Interpersonal Relationships
When we are mindful and thoughtful about our actions and behaviour, our relationships naturally begin to improve and strengthen. Friends and family will rely on us to give them advice, trust us to get them through tough times, etc. Slow living sets the perfect example for our children too.
A Healthier Self
Slow food or food that is sustainably produced, that is free of pesticides and made with love by people who are happy, is far healthier than food that is mass produced with the help of machines and cruelly mutilated animals kept in pathetic conditions. So head to your local farmer’s market to pick up fresh, organic veggies or that local coffee joint for that famous vegan sandwich, and be a happy and healthy person. Ditch that night at the club for a trek in the mountains or a sound therapy session and do your mind, body and soul a world of good!
A Compassionate Society
Buying local produce, handcrafted home accessories or clothes made by individual artisans, NGOs and small businesses can support your community, small businesses and people in need. By now, we are all aware that many clothing labels run sweatshops that employ labourers under appalling conditions. Others employ illegally trafficked migrants and pay them less than minimum wages to make bigger profits.
So next time before you go to that fancy store, do your research. Alternatively, head to your neighborhood seamstress and have her stitch something beautiful and compassionate for you. Refrain from buying things that are created from hurt and pain. Remember, when the buying stops, the selling will.
A Healthier Planet
With a ruthless demand for products and mass production and unsustainable practices, the earth is degrading at great speed. Slow living encourages us to introspect our consumption patterns and their impact on the planet. When we become mindful of what and how much we want, we can ensure a sustainable future for everyone, especially future generations. As the saying goes, Earth has enough to fulfill man’s need, but not his greed. So let us consume consciously and save our planet.
Read more about slow-living from our own book:
Slow Living: A Guide To Live The Moment by Wonsuk W. Choi (Founder of ESCALTO)
Slow living is a choice to make a holistic change within ourselves. Life shouldn’t be about the things we own or how fast we bought them with the money we made so quickly by cutting down on time with our family. It is about living mindfully, being mindful about how we treat people, conscious about what we eat, and being more thoughtful in our deeds. Slow living is about a substantial change in our mindset, behavior, and lifestyle. It can help us lead a life we love, that makes us happy, content, and fulfilled. What more can we want?
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