24 Mar 2020

The “At-Home” Diaries: Slow Life

The "At-Home" Diaries: Slow Life on vickiarcher.com


Life is slower.
This past week I have been taking everything slower, not winding down but making my activities more purposeful. I have no need to hurry the bath or wait to read the next chapter; my life has changed pace. Life hasn’t become lazy or uninteresting rather the sense of urgency and frenetic-ism which I can be prone to have taken a leave pass. There is a conscious need to enjoy each activity, to savour every meal and to finish without the rush. It’s not a bad result under the circumstances.

Self-motivation is paramount as most of us face an indefinite, “lockdown” but there is no reason we can’t take it slow. Slow is not idle and slow is not slack; it is considered. This is our moment to be considered in what we do and make positives from this world-changing crisis. It’s not easy and some days I wake with a ball of anxiety in my stomach the size of a football and others like today, I am calm. Calm is necessary to manage this marathon of change we are facing. No person will be exempt but what will distinguish us is how we manage ourselves, what we learn and how we exit the other side.


Slower, how?

There are those of us who run headlong into plans and activity to make the days crammed, to confuse our brains and dampen reality and there are those of us who have chosen days that are slower paced but just as meaningful. I am making sure to exercise – while we are still allowed, we are walking at 5:30 am around our neighbourhood. Notting Hill has always been a notable part of London but it is as if I’m seeing with fresh eyes; the colourful houses, the bounty of blossoms and the quirky nature of many coins. Savouring the freedom to walk has changed my perspective.

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Yoga is my one discipline of the day – a slow practice – to keep not only me but also my thoughts centered. Movement and the loss of it is the one element of being housebound that frightens me; my preference is to practice in a class. I need to adapt and so I will. How fortunate to have limited online possibilities to explore and encourage my motivation.


Food tastes better – back to home cooking and slower dining. It feels good and makes healthier choices so much easier. How had I become so complacent about food? All my years in France taught me better than that; I do know better.


I’m writing this diary.

It’s not an innovative idea but it is an honest record of my thoughts at this time. I trust some of you feel exactly the same in many respects so I hope my words resonate – your comments and reflections certainly make my day. I don’t have a schedule, my time is my own, and so I’m flying free here when the mood strikes. Who knows what topics will appear but for today, “slow” is where I am.


Reading is the “slow” luxury I truly indulging in. A long bath post walk in the morning and a chapter or two – there is no push. An afternoon chapter in the sunshine, why not? Other jobs can wait. This lack of urgency is to be made the most of while we have it. Looking after us right now, staying well, staying in and staying safe is the most major contribution we can make to beat this virus.


Other moments  – admiring our potted tulips as they poke their unknowing heads into a changing world, watching the fruit trees bloom and sending and receiving messages from friends far and wide – these are all slow pleasures and ones I have shamefully taken for granted. Enjoying a jigsaw  – if you can find one – and playing a game of scrabble. Online card and word games to keep our minds razor-sharp; one place we don’t want a go-slow.


Practical moments can be slower; the photographs can be ordered over days not hours and the cupboards tidied one by one. Who knows what we may find to spark our memories? Garden, pot and cut flowers if you are lucky enough to have them – take time arranging them and the day suddenly grows brighter. For years I have been rushing these joys, but no longer.


And talk time.

Remember that old-fashioned way we once communicated? Punch those numbers in, enjoy a dial tone and wait – a friendly voice is the greatest gift of all. xv




 

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30 Comments

Linda B

Dearest Vicki, you have expressed so many of my thoughts and experiences in this post! It is very validating to know others are sharing our thoughts and feelings about how things are going.

After a 3 mile run in my neighborhood early yesterday, in which I stopped to talk to an old friend who was out in her front garden–from a safe distance, of course–I spent the day knitting away on a dress for my granddaughter so that I can post it in the next day or two. I enjoyed my husband’s company. I had not one but two FaceTimes with my daughter and the baby, and one with my son. . . Really, it was a perfect day, for these times especially.

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Vicki

It’s the appreciation of the “slow” where I have been remiss, Linda. I too chatted with my dear neighbour from our respective terraces which was wonderful and talked with my children… and yes we have been enjoying lunches and dinners together… Will I be able to keep up this cooking pace though ;)

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Suzanne D. Grable

Vicki, I am enjoying the blogs that I have missed due to my busy days lately. I am very slow at this time during the pandemic. Feelings are mixed. I will be happy and sadden by the death tolls. The one thing I can say is that I am never bored.

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Sunflower

A lovely heart warming post Vicki, thank you. At times I feel quite overwhelmed by what is happening to our world and, like you feel I am in an apocalyptic film. I have enjoyed just sorting and organising cupboards and just seeing washing outside on a line in the lovely sunshine we’ve had today knowing that once on the bed it will smell just wonderful and have a calming and relaxing effect to sleep. I am enjoying reading as well and my children are also enjoying this as they have more time; we’ve even decided to read the same book. This wouldn’t have happened in our busy world before. I’m so looking forward to my mini family book club and sharing our views by a group phone call too. I do miss my yoga classes though as it’s the group feeling of calmness, relaxation and support of the other lovely men and women in there I miss. However I am, like you, still practising at home and look forward to when we can all meet again in our class.

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Vicki

Your book club idea is marvellous… and the same for the washing.. such simple pleasures are suddenly all the more important.. Take care..

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Marie

Entering Lockdown in New Zealand. One day at a time. Yes a slower pace is such a blessing. Time to appreciate and notice the little things.

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Vicki

Good luck.. and yes, one day at a time and enjoy each one for what it brings… :)

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Mumbai

This slow pace feel sooo good and makes me concious that time is a matter of the beholder. It’s not endless but now I feel it’s just a number of hours like age is. To enjoy
the daily usual work and being concious about what you just do in that moment. As sad it is it’s also a very educational part for those who are willing to profit . Stay safe!

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Vicki

I like your comparison of time to age – no it’s not endless but it’s worth savouring :)

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Sarah Lawrance

In lockdown here in western NSW taking care of a friend whose just had foot surgery. Thank you for your “slow” blog Vicki captured the current moment perfectly. I am settling into a slow rhythm, walking along the river with the pet corgi in the early morning, preparing meals, doing laundry and reading such a wonderful thing to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon lying with a book. I am also spending time trying to think of creative ways to galvanize people who have lost the jobs into doing something positive for others during this period of crisis. Stay well and stay home. With love

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Vicki

That’s a wonderful idea for others, Sal… it’s so tough.. take care and we will have our catch up sometime! To think we were talking trips not so long ago…

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Suzanne

Daffodil buds are peeking out of the light blanket of snow here. I’ve cut some for the kitchen table and they are opening to full blossom- a sign that change is coming, in time…

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Vicki

Nature is the most wonderful source of inspiration, Suzanne… we have bulbs peeking here in Notting Hill and an abundance of blossom… it is heavenly and makes so much difference…

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Missi

I’m enjoying your diary so much! Thank you for your words. They always feel calming and inspiring.

While filled with concern like everyone, I too am enjoying the slower pace. We are biking every day, walking, playing frisbee together. At some point that may not be allowed, but here in FL it is still ok with family. We ordered out tonight to help the suffering restaurant business. Take care everyone.

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Vicki

That sounds like you are really enjoying your exercise… we are more restricted in London and only allowed out once per day… but we have a beautiful terrace and a communal garden … so are very fortunate .. and thankfully the days are beautiful and full of sunshine for the moment…

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Leslie in Oregon

Thank you for yet another inspiring diary post. I don’t have the luxury of time, but I am enjoying being at home with my husband (who is also busy working from home) and Bob (a Long-Haired Tweenie Dachshund). There is a trail spur into a huge urban forest just down the street, and we have a large garden, so we get outside whenever time and weather allow. It is difficult to respond constructively to worry, especially in the middle of the night, but your posts remind me not to indulge in fearful ruminations and to focus on what we can do for others in need. 😊

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Vicki

I find the nights hardest too, Leslie… not intentionally but unintentionally we are all suffering the trauma of these times. I have found what calms me is an audio book.. shall write about this more soon… but have one on hand… it makes all the difference…

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LA CONTESSA

YES, THE SLOW PACE AGREES WITH ME!
TODAY I DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING PRODUCTIVE BUT half way through the day I decided it was OK.I am ALLOWED to ponder and talk to the animals more than normal!
XX

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Annette

Try Down Dog app for yoga. I use it as I often did not have time to go to class. Also can do yoga in your pjs!

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anitapelayorivera

Vicki, your last thought: I am taking comfort in hearing the voices. Texting is great, emailing is a must for those of us who must write. However, there is nothing like breaking the silence with another human who is experiencing perhaps the same bewilderment as you, or hearing the voice of comfort from a friend or family member. Yesterday, I thought I was going to go mad if I was not going to be able to hear another human voice. My husband was on a four hour conference meeting so I had no one to talk to, until I spoke with my sister in law. I wrote poetry, I danced. I did all the things I LOVE to do, but alone? Not the same.

May we all become more resilient after this storm.

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Vicki

Communicating with our family and friends is everything – I am trying to call one friend a day for catching up – chatting about all and nothing – it really helps … Dance away.. I might tonight… I’ve just wrestled all limbs with yoga so I’m feeling comfortably worn out… :)

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Dianne

There is an app called Zoom that allows for ‘visits’ with family or friends. One can have fireside chats with friends or family, eat a meal together is one the grandchildren want to do and play games. We are artistic so we are sending each other what we are currently working on. Also we send each other our dance moves when we are feeling goofy and have a good laugh. I’ve been calling one friend a day as well Vicki and they appreciate it. Take care everyone and thanks for our daily chats via your blog Vicki!

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Vicki

Yes, Zoom is brilliant… I wonder how many can join in one seating… we could all “live” chat here… would be fun :)

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Michelle à Détroit

I think that we’ll all come out of this with a different, heightened perspective on life. My heart is hurting, though, for those acquaintances, helpers and friends who I know will suffer deep hardship. I am making a special effort to keep in contact with them.

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Vicki

It’s so important… we are in for harder times, I feel sure and feel deeply concerned for so many.. especially our children who have lost their hard-earned livelihoods.. It’s very tough and disheartening but we must do what we can do and do it together… I know your friends will be lucky to have your support, Michelle. x

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