Friday, July 2, 2010

Exploring Downshifting and Simplicity

It’s crazy how busy life can be. Up in the morning, maybe exercise, quick get dressed and ready, commute to work, work work work, commute home from work, maybe exercise if we didn’t in the morning, try to find something quick for supper, check email, catch up on housework, sleep, repeat.

So, how do we slow down? And do we even want to slow down? Good questions. Our fast paced life seems to drive us CRAZY sometimes! But do we want to live any other way?

The Slow Movement focuses on connections and living more deliberately. "The Slow Movement aims to address the issue of 'time poverty' through making connections." "We are engaged in constant fast-forward motion whereby we are often overscheduled, stressed and rushing towards the next task. This rushing is not restricted to our work environment. We rush our food, our family time and even our recreation." Another common term for this movement is downshifting. Downshifters often make more 'time' by working fewer hours, commuting less, and accepting lower pay so they can slow down many things in their life like making meals, family time, etc.

There are many resources available for 'slowing down.' I’ve started the book In Praise of Slowness which has a lot of interesting information in it. I’m also hoping to read The Happy Minimalist, Graceful Simplicity, and Your Money or Your Life. Choosing Voluntary Simplicity is an interesting blog I’ve been reading and a couple other websites with a lot of resources are The Simplicity Forum and New American Dream.

Also check out this talk radio show from MPR's Kerri Miller titled: Changing the way we think about the American dream.

We don't really know if this is the route we want to take but we're checking it out. :) Currently we are working on paying off our debts so we can have more financial freedom and we’re trying to eat healthier (which is a battle). This year we planted a garden and are hoping to learn how to can so we can eat more home-grown, healthy foods. This spring we picked strawberries and made homemade jelly for the first time! We have cut back on things like cable TV (we got rid of it and don’t miss it), we eat out less, and purchase fewer things we ‘want’ and try to only purchase those we need. We have started a wish list so things we want go on the list and if we have extra money at any point we might buy one of those things. But, most things have been on the list so long it’s obvious we are doing just fine without it! We still spend money on travel because we love it but when we do travel we do it as simply as possible by hiking to save on transportation costs and finding cheap places to stay.

We’re still trying to figure everything out but are starting small. Does anyone else have any thoughts or ideas? You know what they say: The best things in life are free! It just doesn't seem like anything is free anymore!


  1. the wish list is a good idea. we should do that. as for thoughts or ideas on slowing down, i had to learn to say no when people ask me to do stuff for them/with them. otherwise, the calendar is packed, and i feel like i don't get to enjoy life. i'm just running from one thing to the next. i feel like it makes a big difference. i'm much more relaxed and less stressed when i have lots of free days on the calendar when i can spend my time doing just whatever comes up rather than hurrying everywhere--or spending the time thinking about all of the places i need to get to or the things i need to do. :o)

  2. that's a good tip. we need to work on saying no. a lot of our weekends consist of trying to get from one event to the next. and i'm pretty sure our calendar is booked through october currently and it's only july!!! ahhhhh. it's hard to say no. and a lot of times we want to do some of the things we have on our calendar but it always seems like 5,000 things are happening every weekend with 5,000 different people and we can't possibly make it to all of them and then we end up rushing through the ones we do go to. how the heck do we pick which ones to do and which ones to skip?? yeah ... we definitely need to work on this topic.


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