Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Life in the Slow Lane


I love the concept of ‘slow travel’ and I’ve written about it myself. We don't run a car, so most of the travel we do in an ordinary week certainly is slow. Sitting for an hour on our little bus as it lumbers all around the winding country lanes to get to town (which often involves backing up for tractors) is certainly not a speedy way to get around. But with a bare two hours to do a whole week’s worth of shopping plus choose library books, the whole outing sometimes feels just a little rushed.

I love the concept of ‘slow food’ too. Everything I eat is slow food, I suppose, since we don’t have a microwave, never go into fast food outlets, never buy ready-made meals. Then again, how long does it take to steam a bunch of broccoli or kale? How long does it take to boil an egg? Or to pick salad from the garden, wash it, pat it dry and put it in a bowl with some cold-pressed virgin olive oil, some balsamic vinegar and some seasonings? How many minutes does it take me to pull a carrot, scrub it, slice it into strips and spoon out a little dish of tahini to dip the strips in? I can have my sort of meal on the table in under ten minutes. I do eat slowly though. So maybe it is slow food after all.

Since retirement – which is sixteen years ago now – my time has been my own. With no employer to answer to and nobody else’s agenda to follow, I am now living in the slow lane at last. What bliss! I can have lovely, lazy mornings, deliciously unhurried afternoons, slow, quiet evenings. I can spend the day however I like.

So in retirement, I do all the things I enjoy. I take long walks every morning – walking as fast as I can, of course, in order to get my aerobic exercise. I have always loved to read, so now I read six or seven library books every week as well as the books I’ve been sent for reviewing. I love to connect with friends and relations and acquaintances all over the world and now, in retirement, I have time to do that, so I have dozens of emails per day and I’m on eight social networks. And since I no longer have to earn my living and I can do whatever I want to do with my day, I have a zillion projects on the go at any one time because there are so many things I love to do and so many fascinating things to get involved in and I am totally in love with my life By bedtime, I am usually exhausted.

Mind you, it is a happy, contented sort of exhaustion. The sort of exhaustion you get after a day of slow travel and slow food and...er...living in the slow lane.

7 comments:

creativelife said...

I enjoyed reading this post. I will look forward to the freedom I heard you write about. I am still in what I think of as the fast lane as I'm still full-time employed. However, I try to consciously live in the moment and this helps. My days include time to read, knit, connect with friends on Elderwomanspace, my sage-ing groups and,time with my family and my dog. Thanks for holding a vision for me for life in the slow lane. Linda

Tess said...

Great post, I can just see you pulling up that carrot. I think there are ways even to make the fast lane slower while you're in it. All to do with being present in the moment.

Sinclair said...

Beautiful. I don't own a microwave, and relish the slow food as well. I have always eaten slowly , also, and have said to others (in jest) "It is because I like to CHEW MY food." I am blessed to be able to enjoy slower life even before retirement age, and am glad you are enjoying it as well.

chris said...

I hit the slow lane too early, perhaps as a result of always going at the max - but I enjoyed your post, and am with you in spirit, though I seem to have lost (for the time being?) your wonderfully positive approach. Is it a decision to be thus? Or a choice? Or random results of personality? I'd love to know.
Thanks, anyway

Elderwoman said...

Linda, Tess, Sinclair and Chris, thanks for your comments.
This was actually intended to be a somewhat ironic post, since on most days my life doesn't actually feel very slow at all. But I suppose it still is, compared to the way a lot of people live. And for that, I am exceedingly grateful.

One Woman's Journey said...

Marion, finally back online in the country. Without a computer in my new home for 9 weeks was almost too long.
I have returned to the slow lane.
Still moving fast as I create a different setting but it is slowing rapidly.
Great post and it made me smile.

Melody said...

8 social networks? 6-7 books a week? when do you stop looking at a computer screen or the page of a book and just sit with your Self?

a zillion projects waiting? maybe that's the garden that needs weeding.