Developing thoughts on slow living

I tapped into the zeitgeist that is slow living just over a year ago. It looked like a beautiful way to live your life: calmer, more peaceful and intentional. It was a change that I wanted to make because I thought it would be beneficial for my family and me. I took small steps whilst I was on maternity leave to achieve it and I had lots of ideas of how to continue it when I went back to work. Within two weeks of work I could feel myself slipping back into my old ways. Sure I lit a candle or two here and there but that mindset of “squeeze in as much work to the day and night as possible” was creeping back and with it the meals in plastic containers at the desk because that makes it easier to keep working, the coffee in plastic coated takeaway cups because I hadn’t made the time to make it at home and I can imagine how it wouldn’t be long before I was offsetting the morale hit of the long hours with internet shopping. It was frustrating but there were so many other things that I was trying to process (getting settled back at work, adjusting to not being with my family as much as before, getting over a ton of bugs caught off my son from his nursery) that it didn’t matter that slow living had dropped down the priority list. I’d figure out how to get it back at a later date when things were more settled.

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Then I watched “Fast Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” by Stacey Dooley on the BBC. If you haven’t seen it I would highly recommend it. It’s about the environmental and societal impact that the fast fashion industry is having. It’s horrific. It highlights not only the damage caused by making the clothes but also the decisions we make as individuals that feed consumerism which keeps the fast fashion wheels turning.

I can’t help but think that these problems are not limited to the fashion industry. Mass consumerism and the throw away culture isn’t just about clothes; I see it in how we shop for our homes, how we shop for celebrations like Christmas and how we surround ourselves by stuff (not because we love or need that stuff but because it’s cheap and we can buy it).

This was one of those documentaries that opens your eyes wide and smacks you full in the face with the consequences of your actions. It’s given me a complete motivation kick to pick that lifestyle change back up and to move it forward - I no longer see my decision to live slowly as a “nice to do” and instead it’s become a “need to do”. I don’t think that our constant consumerism can possibly be sustained and I don’t think that I have the right to keep taking, causing damage on the environment and on other communities that have to live in that damaged environment. Change doesn’t happen overnight, however committed you are, and it’s not easy but I think it’s the right thing to do. I’m not going to go and live in a tent on a small holding but I do want to make sure that the decisions I make are thought through and are making as positive impact on the environment as possible (or as least damaging as I can given what options are available). I’ll let you know how I get on and what I learn as I go so you can take from it anything that you may want to include in your own life.

Have you seen the documentary? If so, what did you think about it?