This morning I read an interesting article called, “Not So Fast“, by David Hochman, recommended by my hubby. Hochman’s call for people to give “slow-living” a try made some great points that seem to be popping up all over the place. Our generation has become so reliant on technology that more often than we’ll admit, our “pinging smartphones” take precedence over actual human interaction and connection. Taking photos, editing them, updating statuses, checking emails, and keeping up with “facebook friends” is constantly at our fingertips and can be a huge distraction from real life. Hochman explains how his family decided to take a break from all the busy and institute a month called “Slovember”. This month would be “focused on doing things well rather than fast, on making human connections instead of electronic ones, and on getting more out of life by doing much, much less.” If you’re like me, this might make you feel a little out of your comfort zone. While real human connection sounds magnificent, doing “nothing” sounds a little boring.
In a previous post about our photo frenzy family I mentioned how hard it was for me to relax and nap with Emmy without checking my phone for the time. There’s no doubt that by abandoning my addiction to technology, I was able to embrace a moment much more sincerely. I’m sure I’ll always remember falling asleep with my daughter snuggled in my arms. I’m sure I’ll always wish I could relive that moment because it was full of love and fulfillment- something they don’t sell an app for.
Personally, I am a CHRONIC multi-tasker. One of Hochman’s quotes about his wife struck me a little harder than the rest. He explains that she “began taking a one-thing-at-a-time approach instead of making dinner and watching TV and talking on the phone and checking Sebastian’s homework at the same time.” You mean even though I’m fully capable of doing both, I’m supposed to purposefully focus on one? Sounds hard. I’m sure it was very difficult but the pay-offs of their “Slovember” sound so worth it. They created moments that would matter a year later. They laughed with friends and spent time outside. They invested in real relationships and saw the benefits of life lived “well”.
Bernadette Noll, a slow-living author, gives some tips for how to take steps towards slowing down and connecting, and creating more joy:
- Decide to be done (aka Walk away from the laundry at a certain point)
- Make eye contact (Hello- it’s kind of important to actually look at people’s faces.)
- Go outside and play (A little vitamin d will make you feel alive)
- What do you need? (Noll believes this question gets to the bottom of it. “It increases the chances for good communication.”)
- Spend nothing day (try avoiding consuming for the day. Enjoy a little scrabble and a homemade meal with your fam!)
- Slow sports (Rather than rushing to practice four times a week, try kicking the ball around with friends and family.)
My favorite line from the article is, “I couldn’t afford to ditch the rat race, but what about making more time to enjoy the cheese.” I think this hits the nail on the head. I am personally going to make the effort to “enjoy the cheese” a little more and the technology/schedule a little less. Matt and I are both going to opt for talking over TV-watching, sitting outside over being on our computers, and being present over push-notifications. While we’re not going to some of the extremes mentioned in the article, we’re committing to a month of making focused efforts at “slowing down” and enjoying life more and stressing less. Since some of this won’t come naturally at first, we’ve come up with a few rules for slowing things down. Our list includes:
- Check our phones less– Matt’s going to make an effort to stop checking emails and staying connected with work unless it’s urgent. I’m turning off all my push notifications and only checking in with social media once during the day. Sometimes it’s easy to see a comment from a friend and wind up distracted and scrolling/browsing when you could be spending quality time with the people you’re actually with.
- Watch less TV– Sometimes the #momanddadlife causes us to be stuck at home by 7 pm with a baby whose already asleep for the night. It’s easy after a day of work and baby-chasing to wind up relaxing in front of the TV most of the night. It’s become especially hard since we’ve taken up the challenge of watching all 6 seasons of Lost on Netflix (How did we both miss that series??). We’re limiting ourselves to one episode a night and two nights a week of absolutely no TV.
- Read more– I can’t count the number of books we’ve both started only to be left unfinished. One of the most rewarding things we’ve done as a couple has been to read books about the Lord, marriage, raising kids, etc. It spurs on meaningful conversations and leads to a closer relationship. We haven’t done it in so long with all the busyness of life (aka eating popcorn and watching endless hours of lost).
- Nightly walks– Rain, shine, or lazy, we’re committing to taking a walk together every night. Not only will it give us time to slow down and catch up, it’ll give us a little exercise and fresh air.
- Make real connections– While we love spending time with family and friends already, we want to focus one night a week on spending quality time with some of them. All distractions aside, having great conversation, and relaxation with the people we love. It seems like “game nights” and “dinner dates” have fallen to the wayside and they’re truly missed.
We’ll let you know how this challenge to slow down pans out for us. Somehow I just know we’ll wind up feeling closer and more fulfilled. Feel free to join us! 🙂