Meditation on Slow Living and The Hustle

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I am drawn to a slower, more intentional lifestyle. You may have noticed this. :) Maybe you are too, and that’s why you’re here. The wistful vibe from slow living bloggers is enough to stir the soul and make me seriously consider a life outside of the city.

I’m not running commentary or making judgements on the choices others have made with their slow lifestyle. I’m simply exploring what I’ve noticed in my own life.

I’ve mentioned before that I was kind of forced to slow down the pace of life when my daughter was born. That is a natural process that happens with a new child. For some, the pace picks up again after a few months or a year or two. But not long after her birth, we moved to North Carolina for my husband to attend graduate school. We would only be there two years, and I felt (and still feel) strongly about being home with my children while they’re young. It didn’t feel right to try and find a job when I felt needed at home and when I knew we would be moving somewhere else in two years, even though it would have helped a lot financially. So the slow pace grew slowly with my daughter’s growth.

I feel like a different person from the girl who busted her tail all day at a high-end residential design job. I wake up slowly, get moving slowly, walk slowly (because two-year-olds haven’t learned to power walk yet). Everything takes more time. Grocery shopping is done between trips back the the counter for more samples. During bedtime, I have to let my daughter go for a run down the hall between each step of getting her pajamas on. My focus is constantly being pulled in several different directions at once, and I rarely enter that “flow” state I used to live in at work. This is motherhood, and I’m learning to be okay with it.

I notice more than I used to. I see the changes of the seasons as little by little each day the trees grow buds, then flowers, then leaves, and then they fade again into winter. I pause to feel the sun on my face. I love seeing each developmental phase my daughter reaches, hearing her laughs, understanding what she needs, drying her tears. There is so much peace and joy from this.

And sometimes I wonder if I’ve slowed down too much when I don’t feel motivated to plan Instagram posts or experience writers block. I’m looking for the urgency and drive I had before and wondering if I put it to sleep. I still have some of it, but it’s not as strong, as if it’s only whispering to me through the fog of motherhood exhaustion.

Everyone now talks about the “hustle,” what you do that keeps you busy or makes you jump out of bed, or brings in your living. Hustle means hurry, hard work. If you’re a hustler, you are constantly working hard and pushing your limits. Making anything your living requires some hustling, some hard work. You don’t make something out of daisy chains. And it feels good to work hard. To feel you’ve done good work for the day and fall asleep content.

How do you live slow and have the motivation to do some hustling? Are those two things compatible? Should they be? Is slow the same as not being busy? Or is it more of a calm you feel deeply inside as you go about your day to day life? Is it more of an intentional way of working hard, rather than a frantic rush? Can you actually build something with that way of work?

Life has seasons that ebb and flow, and what I’m doing now won’t work for me at every stage of life. Part of the reason we’re here is to learn about ourselves and have lots of different experiences. So if this stage isn’t what I expected or imagined, maybe I need to accept that and work with what I do have. I can recognize what is most important, prioritize those things and let the rest fall away. Maybe that’s what slow living really is.