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.