The Slow Series: Dreams and Finding A Path (Part 4 of 6)

My experiences in 2020 have made me re-evaluate how I wanted to spend my time.  After making a list of my priorities, the three most important things to me were my family, nature/herbalism (which, to me, are intertwined), and creativity.  Regardless of your three most important things, even if they are the exact opposite of mine, you can’t lose sight of what is dearest to you.  Not if you want to be fulfilled.  And the path I was taking didn’t fulfill any of those three things for me.

This post is an ode to charting your own course, to following your own path, regardless of what exactly that path is.  We don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.  As the saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy.  What makes one person happy will not make another happy.  Finding our own path, especially when it is different from those around us, can be scary from time to time.  I’ve had numerous moments where I found myself crippled with self-doubt.  Many times, I didn’t even know what path I was taking.  Slowing down has allowed me to clarify that path in many regards, however.

After my post-grad degree, I was drained, seriously burnt out, and in near-constant pain and fatigue.  Taking time off has made it clear living slower is essential to my well-being.  Not only am I less stressed, but I’ve also found my creativity returning and found more purpose in my life.  No longer do I feel that my life has to be defined by a fast-paced career, how much money I make, or where I am in comparison to others.  In fact, those were the exact things that were making me unhappy.  Slow living reminds us of the simple achievements, of a cup of tea enjoyed while looking out the window, of the scent of favourite candle filling the room, of enjoying the time spent creating something of our own. 

There is a growing movement of people looking for a slower life, a life spent caring for the home, and a creative life, and for that I’m thankful.  It’s easier than ever to find people online that resonate with our own desired lifestyles, whether as support as they embark on their own journey or as inspiration for what we aspire to do with our own lives.

A lot of slow living blogs do seem, at first glance at least, to be wondrously blissful: perfectly content lives spent baking in idyllic country cottages with the quaint, charming decor.  Often, I feel like some of my posts read in the very same way.  Because that’s what I want to achieve.  And many days, just like the blogs I read, there are moments that are perfect.  Equally, however, life is flawed, and part of what I want to express across my slow living experience here on the Slow Series is authenticity.  I’d be lying if I said I knew that embarking upon the path of slow living was the perfect decision for me.  We are faced with an endless array of choices, each with different endings, and it’s impossible to pick every option, which leaves an ever-present, niggling doubt.

As I am reminded, however, we can become anything we want, whenever we want.  It is never too late to start over or to take a different path.  Sometimes people find their path at 20 and others begin charting the life they’ve always dreamed of at 70.  There is no right answer.  Plenty of people at the peaks of their careers and people who are now doing what they love have embarked upon numerous journeys and started over many times.  We can always change.  There is no wrong path if we follow our hearts.

What we shouldn’t do is set aside our dearest dreams and feel compelled to follow a fast-paced life that isn’t for us.  So many of my friends and people with whom I went to school have echoed my own feelings of uncertainty about finding and following a path, about feeling drained and burnt out and aimless.  That’s not to say slow living is the panacea for life’s woes.  Slow living isn’t for everyone, but slowness is a form of healing when we aren’t sure about our path.  If you haven’t, check out my post ‘Slow Living For A Fast-Paced Life‘ for some tips on how to incorporate slowness into your day-to-day life.

For me, slow living has confirmed that the path I’m on is the right one.  A fast-paced life may have provided material gratification, but little emotional satisfaction.  Slow living, however, has provided the peace and calm I’d been searching for for years.  There is still doubt; there are still difficult moments.  My dreams have changed dramatically since the start of the year, but I’m grateful for these changes.  Slow living has brought me back to my blog, back to writing, and reconnected me to what makes me happiest.  

Our dreams change and our paths twist and turn, and slow living can help us navigate these uncertain times.  We do not need to be consumed by the need to rush or reach a certain target just because someone around us has.  Slowing down reminds us of what we hold dear, and the things that are most important to us are equally the things that provide purpose in our lives.  Slowness reminds us to reconnect with what we may have lost and creates a meaningful life we’re glad to live.