What My Slow Life Looks Like

Call it a rhythm, rather than a routine.

Wake up between 6:15 - 7:15 am, depending on what time I went to bed the night before and what commitments I have that day. If the bed is empty, make it. If not, move quietly through the house until my other half stirs. Brush teeth, wash face, and pull my hair back gently will clips or a headband to keep it stable throughout the morning. If necessary, I run a bit of Aveda's Smooth Infusion through my dry curls, extending their shelf life a few hours before the humidity hits.

I'm greeted by all the fur paws, Gallow - Hobo - Princess Tiger Lily - Mini Cooper, all "starving" in their own opinion but content to start their morning outside. 

Next, sweep calmly with my favorite broom, a Viet short-handled, soft-bristle from years ago that's long lost its plastic handle cover. Now it's bare wood and fraying at the seams; not quite time to part with it yet. Though I try to stop myself, I can be a fervent tidier even upon waking, so as quietly as I can, I straighten each room to be a neutral as possible. Sometimes I manage a glass of water, sometimes I go straight to tea, depending on the temperature and my temperament.

Sometimes, I forget that the pets rely on me for more than just food and shelter.

They also want love, playtime, and cuddles on their own terms. If they're around, I snuggle as many pets as I can in the morning. Mini Cooper can be the toughest to snag, as she's the most adventurous. Once she's had breakfast, she's gone for the day, hunting whatever moves until it's nap time around 3 pm.

Gallow is the easiest; he's 100% pure mama's boy. He goes outside for a moment but once the official business is complete, he wants to be right back where I am. A blessing and a curse - he's the most polite, gentle giant, but clingy beyond compare. Less often than I should, I join him and Hobo outside for a little squeaker chase. Hobo watches, Gallow usually runs past the toy blindly after I've thrown it.

Morning Tips: Prepare your clothes, your things, and your schedule before bed and your morning will be inevitably at peace.

I grab my outfit for the day and dress, setting my shoes by the door and bringing my bag nearby, grabbing a sweater, a snack, and potentially a jar for the beverage(s) of the day. While not always my preference, this is about the time I apologize in advance for the noise and rev up the Vitamix with a smoothie:

Frozen bananas, macadamia nut milk, raw cacao, maple syrup, chia seeds, vegan protein or gelatin, and a scoop of green vibrance.

Occassionally, I throw a handful of greens, blueberries, or a scoop of maca in there to spice it up. I'm a creature of habit and this smoothie has been a morning staple for years. It gets me going, keeps me healthy, and prepares my stomach for the impending influx of coffee. 

Before I jet off for the day, Alhen and I meet on the couch and share our itinerary for the day. This is where I wish my routine were different. It's where I look forward to the future. I look forward to the day where are itineraries are more often than not together. Our dreams of converting a school bus and becoming wandering makers and adventurers is never far from conversation, so revisiting this each morning before we split for the day keeps my heart warm with the changes we're creating in our world.  

Earlier this year, I sold my car to become a full-time bike commuter. Best decision ever. 

I hope on my bike and go to one of my favorite workplaces: Grassroots Kava House, Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails, or Station House St Pete. Working from my computer has its benefits and drawbacks - one being that I can more easily craft a slow schedule. I can work from 10 - 4 or 9 - 6 or 4 - 10 pm if need be, providing I don't have meetings or time-sensitive deadlines. It does leave me alone a lot of the time, so being at a cafe and having some interaction when I remove my headphones breaks up the screen-brain time warp and rejuvenates my focus. 

I'm not a "I'll have the usual" beverage consumer. Each day is different - iced matcha latte with mint simple syrup, green & white kava mule with Tidal Boar ginger beer, hot & rich almond milk mocha; depending on my mood, the barista, and typically the weather. I sit down and set up a workspace wherever I go. This includes: 

Call me an "office nester".

Once I'm set up, sometimes headphones in for focus - other times no headphones to remain present in my environment - I get to work. I'm not a full-time blogger or self-employed creative, but I do spend my days working creatively and strategically for a consulting firm. Working remotely has its perks, and the cafe environment gives me what my work lacks: personal interaction. 

I needn't say much about work, aside from doing it slowly has been my greatest challenge.

Instead of letting perfection be the enemy of done and trying to finish my work as quickly as possible, I consciously choose (as best I can, which isn't always) to savor my tasks; to learn from whatever I'm doing, rather than simply completing and checking items off my list like a machine. I'm fortunate to have a job where I can learn, where I am often learning about topics that interest me, and where I can apply those skills to help people. 

I head home in the afternoon, typically after 3p and well into the "no more caffeine, just water" state of mind. 

At home in the woods in Tennessee, soon

This is what I'm coming home to. Some evenings its Netflix and dinner on the couch, other evenings we are steadily planning our big adventure: Converting a school bus into an adventure home. We sit together and research engines, discuss pitfalls of certain product years, compare transmissions, illustrate layouts in our gridded notebook like a couple of architects planning a palace. Truthfully, it'll be under 250 square feet, we won't own much, and the freedom will be more immense than we can imagine.

What I live slowly for - to enjoy life freely and completely. In slowing down, I get to savor the moments in between the big accomplishments that everyone talks about. Behind the scenes of the "wow, what an adventure!" are a lot of quiet, late nights surfing Craigslist and bus auctions, watching time tick by as we hope to find the right home. But, sitting over a bowl of Alhen's Kimchi Fried Rice (a recipe which I'd be happy to share with you someday), creating our possibility as a reality is my ideal lifestyle. 

How does slowness show up in your life? Share with me in the comments and stay tuned for next week's launch of the Slow Living MicroZine.