This is another post where I am connecting my undergraduate education to real world issues and how what I learned in college is still unfolding in front of me years later. This is the third posting I’ve written about the subject. Read the first two articles in this series here and here.
I want to share how I learned to slow down, live simpler and also greener.
I realized this all from reading one book, In Praise of Slowness, by Carl Honore.
I had to read the book for a capstone class I took in college, taught by my favorite professor. As a class we really studied every chapter of the book and had real discussion about the way the book made us feel. We also had some guided meditation and journal responses about the book.
The book really changed how I viewed the world and my own life. It validated a lot of feelings I already had. Before reading the book, I knew I hated the break-neck pace of the world around me, but thought I was alone in my feelings.
After reading it, not only were my views validated, but my mind and eyes were opened to a new way to be. Before reading it, I didn’t know I didn’t have to live fast. After reading it, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to slow down.
Honore presents his case with loads of evidence and pithy prose. Honore’s major argument presented in Slowness is against what he calls “mindless speed.” Sure, sometimes you need to do things fast, but the accepted cultural norm is moving toward doing everything faster, because it shows how busy you are. How productive. How successful and even how smart you are because, look at you, you can “do it all.”
I purposely chose to write this post right here smack dab in what is the busiest time of the year for most people. This is a time of year when a lot of people are trying to do it all and have it all. Work, holiday parties, family parties, running from here to there to buy Christmas presents, the list goes on and on, unfortunately.
Slow: It’s simple and green
So how does Slow Living fit into simple, green living? Most Slow concepts are not new, they’re rooted in days of old. Take the Slow Food movement for example. Slow Food is all about the pleasure in the preparation of the food. Picking that perfect eggplant from your grocer or farmer’s market, simmering a pot of homemade marinara all day or making a homemade salsa. They are all the antithesis of fast food, drive-thru, wrapped up and slapped together meals.
Slow is green in that a lot of slower ways of living are better for the environment. Like Slow Food, obviously locally grown produce is better for the environment than buying oranges shipped into a big box grocery store from Argentina. To me, Slow Living embraces common sense, respect for the environment and for each other.
What I have taken away from In Praise of Slowness is that faster is not always better and slow does not always mean sluggish. Living slow is more about being present in the moment, taking things in and really observing, rather than rushing through something just so you have the satisfaction of crossing it off your to-do-list.