In 2008 I moved back to Australia after living and studying in Scotland on exchange. I was 22 and I was incredibly ambitious. I was on a mission whilst I was over there to improve my job prospects and to be well on the fast track to the traditional “good life”. I wanted a Bally handbag on my arm by 30. (Those handbags are still beautiful, but not on my wishlist anymore)
I threw myself into my fast life. I was working close to full time, studying full time, taking accelerated French lessons on Saturdays, fitting in all my assignments and going to the gym 3-4 times a week and trying to catch up with friends as well. Sundays were for rushing to see family, doing all the housework and more assignments and study.
It worked for a little while. I thought it was going to make for an amazing life. But it was stressful and eventually it showed. I got sick, and then got sicker. I got a stress fracture in my foot. I started to silent cry on the train rides home from work. (Thank heavens for oversized sunglasses).
Then the GFC happened and I my contract wasn’t renewed. Other things happened in health and family life that made things challenging. My health had suffered greatly and it took some time to get answers and to recover. It should have been a wake up call. But really, it would take until the beginning of 2013 to see that the more I work myself into the ground, the more everything suffers.
From 2009-2011 I worked on my own business and then in 2012 took on a second job. I was working crazy hours with a crazy commute (3 hours each day) with the business still running at night. I was back to burn out. Ba-bow.
I didn’t really know that I wanted change until I spent 3 months travelling the US and I realised how much more “me” I felt. How much I loved the slow pace of things and this slower life. I realised I wanted this to be more a part of my life and it’s really taken me until this year to realise just how important that is to me.
I think it’s being a year into injury recovery that’s really hit it home for me. I’m thinking more long term than ever before. More about what a good future looks like, and for me it’s a slow one. It’s a hard change, though. To go from someone who has two speeds: full and stop. To someone who enjoys a slower pace. But every time I do, it pays off.
It doesn’t mean that there won’t be any hard work or that I’ll become lazy and unmotivated. It will mean that I have more focus and more motivation towards what’s important to me. It’s about making some tricky changes now that will be a benefit both in the short and long term.
Slow and deliberate is a shift that takes time. But it’s one I’m ready to give a red hot go. I bought a beach ball on the weekend and I can’t wait to make the time to enjoy it when the weather is better.
Have you thought about slow living? What pace suits your life?