I’ve been reading various blog posts recently about how difficult it is to live a slow life and how, away from Instagram, lives are anything but slow. It has given me a lot to think about, in terms of my own life, my relationship with Instagram and how it all fits together with this relatively new and unformed project which is the Slow Living Squad.
I spoke before in my first ever blog post about how relieved I was to find the Slow Living label and how it seemed to encapsulate everything which had previously seemed ‘weird’ about my life and could provide some comfort and community as I increasingly feel out of kilter with mainstream life. And yet…. This label does seem to imply a certain aesthetic. I realise that I have felt blocked about posting on Instagram because (completely self-imposed judgement here) I felt (feel?) that my photos aren’t good enough, that my styling is non-existent and that my real life isn’t slow enough. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove looking at beautifully curated images of slowness and stillness, the moodier the better in my book. But I feel that I’ve been judging myself against these impossibly high standards and it has stopped me even getting started. So, it’s heartening to read that behind these photos of perfection, there is a messier, real life that is anything but slow…
Which brings me to my radical new idea for myself. Slow Living Light. It was partly inspired by the Coca Cola Light that I love to have while in Mexico, for me it’s always seemed much more exotic and exciting than Diet Coke which we have here in the UK ( I always have to say Light in a Spanish accent too which just adds to the exoticness in my eyes, but probably sounds completely deranged to anyone else). I love the idea of lightness being added rather than Diet which for me implies a certain heaviness, dourness and general puritanical buzz killer.
So, along these lines I decided to add this idea of lightness to Slow Living. It doesn’t have to be a another burden added to my already busy life with two daughters, a day job and a house to run. It can be the opposite. I don’t have to post perfectly curated photos of my Slow Life because a Slow Life lived Lightly doesn’t have to conform to any preconceived aesthetic. I don’t have to live in a perfectly minimalist home, or have perfectly arranged bunches of wildflowers that I somehow picked up during a slow walk out in nature or have perfectly arranged plates of food bathed in a beautiful play of light and shadows. I don’t have time! With lightness added I can make Slow Living Light a part of my real, everyday life and begin to explore what my life looks like when I start to take things away that don’t serve me. I subtract the ‘stuff’ that is no longer useful, I subtract the need for complicated meals, I subtract the time spent with people who do not resonate with me or my values or who are just not nice to be around, I subtract the extracurricular activities that seem to abound for my daughters, I subtract the ‘shoulds’, I subtract the ironing, I subtract and subtract and subtract until what do I have left….?
I have tiny pockets of time and space. Spaces in my home and time to just stop for a minute. To take a breath. To just be, even if it’s just for one second. I have time to spend with my kids and they have time to play, to create, to get bored, to imagine, to just be. No, it’s not perfect and it’s not very photogenic, but it gives me hope in these hectic times.
Does any of this resonate with you? Do any of you have any thoughts you’d like to share about Instagram and the space between real life and what is presented on there? I find it a fascinating space and I’m hoping to explore that space in lighter way, without bringing my preconceptions and judgements to it and blocking myself in the process. I’d love to hear what you think…
PS. I love the idea of Slow Living Light so much that I asked my husband to handprint it on a t-shirt for me! I find it an amazing reminder to just stop and find the lightness in the moment. If you like it too, you can find it in our shop. But please be aware that wearing the t-shirt isn’t a pre-requisite for living a slow life : )