Time is dancing. It sways and moves around our lives, on occasions waltzing elegantly to a slow and steady rhythm, only to accelerate unpredictably, racing to some unfathomable beat that alludes us. Modern life is infused with an unshakable sense that time is speeding up. But that feeling is mostly born out of the notion that there is too much to do in a week then could possibly ever be achieved. We live in a hyper-connected world that brings with it an acute awareness of the possibilities that exist. Many of these possibilities are glamourized to a point where their allure becomes almost like a siren’s call, beckoning us even though we know we’d be wise to avoid it. And with this call comes the looming sense that there will never be quite enough time to do all we want to do in life.
But as the Stoic philosopher Seneca remarked “life, if well lived, is long enough”. If we choose our path wisely, giving our time and attention to the things that truly matter most, there is quite enough time in a lifetime. The trick is simply to be clear about what matters most and why. One of the wonderful things about growing older is the realisation that not all lives that seem appealing are necessarily meant for us; not all doors that look interesting lead to a path that is right for us.
At its core, slow living is a mindful reassessment of how we divide our time. It’s a very deliberate choice to invest our time and energy into those things that bring us closer to the life we want to lead. Slow living places our values at the centre of how we make decisions and assesses how we allocate our time in accordance with what we value most. But learning how to do this wisely is a life’s work. It is something we will continue to re-evaluate for the rest of our lives, as our priorities, dreams and values evolve. If we learn to dull down the noise of the external world, learn to quieten all those societal impositions vying for our time and attention, and instead let ourselves be guided by thoughtfully considered values, even though the path may shift and change, it will always feel authentically ours.
By deliberately choosing not to invest time and attention into certain activities, no matter how glamourised they have been, but instead deciding to gift this time to the things and people we value most, we free ourselves up to have more time and attention for the things that are most likely to bring us closer to the life we want. This state of mind demands of us to be highly selective about how we spend our time. But this selectiveness ensures that we allow enough time to do those things that matter with attention and care. With less vying for our time, we are able to engage with the fewer things that we do more fully. And with that full engagement, we gain more pleasure and meaning out of each thing we do. Whether that involves opting out of media time in order to prepare a healthy meal with care or choosing to spend more time with fewer people so that we can allow ourselves the time and attention necessary to form authentic, meaningful connections.
It’s simple, but not easy: define our values clearly and understand why these things will lead to a life well lived, examine how what we gift our time to aligns with these values, allocate the most time to what will bring us closest to the life we want to live. We have to be brave, it’s never easy swimming against the current. But by always being mindful of how what we do aligns with what we value, we will end up with a life well lived that is indeed long enough.
Images above show the preparation of a wonderful summer salad recipe from Naturalmente Buono. A perfect, light summer meal that goes wonderfully with oven-roasted salmon.
In this shoot: Organic Cotton Bento Bags, Unprocessed Linen Bento Bags, Maple Cutting Board in large, Pallares Solsona Kitchen Knife in medium, Berry Colander, Simple Pouring Bowl, Simple Bowl and Spoon, Eggshell Plate, Eggshell Bowl, Pinch Bowl in matte grey on brown clay, Stone Washed Dessert Flatware Set, Heritage Brass Water Mister, Simple Matte White Vase, Cloth Bowl Covers in Grey Ticking, Mixing Pouring Bowl, spoon from the Stone Washed Flatware Set