2020 was a blessing and a curse in so many ways. There was the isolation, the lost work, the monotony, not to mention the general upheaval in the country. But there was also a return to slow living that I didn't even know I'd been craving. In the before times I can't tell you how many times I said things like "I just don't have time to cook from scratch" or "I can't sit and read for an hour — I have to multitask to keep up with email." Well guess what? I have all the time now and it is refreshing.
Before the pandemic, everyone I know was stuck in the busy-hustle culture of spreading ourselves too thin, cutting corners to get it all done and bragging about how busy we are. Well, as Debbie Millman so eloquently said on her podcast, Design Matters, "Busy is a choice." Why did we all willingly choose to be overworked? What satisfaction did we get from declining invitations and rescheduling lunches when something we perceived to be more important came up? If you'd have told me in 2019 that in 2020 I'd be baking bread from scratch, I'd have laughed in your face.
2021 may have started off a little rocky but now that the new administration has taken the wheel, and there is a vaccine on the way, it feels like the crushing uncertainty has melted away. I mean, there is still uncertainty — I have no idea when I will get a vaccine being in a certain age group with no underlying conditions — but I see progress happening and I know full well how to navigate the world during a pandemic, after 11 months of mask wearing and hand washing. Looking back at the beginning of 2020, I was paralyzed by the uncertainty and had trouble motivating myself; but this year I can basically go about my life the way I would have had the world not taken a wrong turn last March.
Random items on my slow living to do list: plant a vegetable garden, incorporate hand sewing into my designs, eat less meat, cook more from scratch, read for fun not just to keep up with current events, spend more time outside, declutter and clean more often, take photos every day, go for long walks, enjoy every day of the upcoming summer, unplug from technology one day per week, and sleep more.
“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.” — Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere