Overall, this week has been pretty much amazing.
Do you ever have those weeks? Where everything ticks past smoothly, and nothing frazzles you?
This week, I passed my Level Six pole fitness exam (something I took for the first time over a year ago, so that was quite an achievement). I also billed another client (which is always fun), had lovely messages from my Valentine’s Day card customers, and had a lovely date night with my husband at Sticks N Sushi, then the Corn Exchange for “Sue Perkins Live! in Spectacles”
All in all, pretty lovely.
This morning, my step-sister sent out a group message to a few of us girls from the sailing club, arranging her birthday meal out. Of course, after about three minutes, we’d changed the topic of conversation entirely and somehow ended up concluding that no one knows each other by their actual real surname…
Ah, the inner workings of the all girl group chat…
It hadn’t even occurred to me that anything was out of the ordinary until one of the girls wrote “Do none of you work on Friday mornings?!”
The responses came back – #UniLife #MyBossIsOnHoliday #ItsFriday #WorkingFromHome and of course, for me, #SelfEmployedLife
We were clearly all supposed to be doing other things, but we’d put those things down to speak to, and arrange an evening out with our friends. Does that work both ways? Do we all put down our friends and personal plans when work needs attention?
I think we probably all do that.
That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad – or good – thing.
Last week Lee asked me “Am I Slow?”
My immediate answer was no; I mean, he works full time, two days in Colchester, two in Cambridge and one in London. He starts getting emails at 6am, and they often keep coming in at anything until 3am the next day. He plays fast sports, squash, cycling, running etc, and he does this thing we call ‘ticking’, where he gets lost in a cycle of thought about work or a particular meeting he’s got coming up, and switches off from the present moment while he ticks through all of that in his mind.
Then I thought about it more, and we agreed that although his current lifestyle doesn’t allow him to be Slow to the same extent as mine does, he is (what we’re calling) Flexible.
He shares the same ideals and principles as I do for our future together, and so we’re going to work towards a Slow and Simple future together, step-by-step.
Brooke McAlary often talks in her podcasts about “finding your why” – in plain English, figuring out your priorities, and what you want your future to look like. Once you’ve got that picture you can take the first step.
Obviously, not everyone’s priorities are the same, but that doesn’t mean anyone’s priorities are better than anyone else’s.
I won’t bore you with every detail of our Why, but here’s one aspect of it:
What’s the dream?
We picture our future involving travel, as a family.
What’s the priority?
Quality family experiences.
Lee is 12 years older than me, and so (in a very boring, practical, but realistic sense) that means that he’ll be a slightly older dad than you might expect to see at the school gates. But, that also means that his hard work on his career thus far is starting to pay off.
The priority is quality family experiences, so the goal is to be in a position where Lee is able to spend more time at home, or indeed, travelling with our family.
But Slow Living isn’t just about the future. It’s about actually prioritising your priorities, not just getting around to it later.
So how can we take care of that priority right now?
Well, by making the time we spend together as high quality as we can. If your priority is the same as ours, you can interpret that however works for you! For us, it means we do the things we enjoy doing.
Yes, I know, that’s ‘easy’ for us because I work from home and I can do all of the boring things throughout the day when he’s not around. Yeah, maybe I can, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy them any more than you might do. That’s just one choice that we’ve made in order to prioritise our priorities.
We’ve also agreed to not use our phones in the bedroom, which means we start and end our days with each other, not next to each other, looking at social media…
These are choices that we’ve made, according to what’s important to us, and that’s pretty much what Slow is all about.
Lee can work at 100 miles an hour if that’s what he needs to do right now, because we both know the reasons why we’re doing what we’re doing.
We’re a team.
So yes, Lee, you’re Slow.
You’re everything that Slow means to me.