I recently walked into a store in Portland, Maine that goes by the name of k colette. I walked in because I saw the books in the window display, books that seemed particularly eye appealing with their soft tones and simple words, catching my attention far beyond I would ever expect.
The display was calming, somehow overcoming my fast pace down the street, causing me to slow down. This quaint shop in such a busy city took my attention and dragged it in a different direction, completely changing my view on the pace of my lifestyle.
I walked around, picking up some random throws and candles, then the homemade soap, then the books, then more books. I flipped through pages, taking tiny steps, forgetting where I had to be or what I had to do. I smelt the soap, I sniffed the candles, I touched the fabric.
I read some paragraphs, then I smelled the freshness of the pages from a new book. I forgot what it was like to smell the pages of a book, to really take in the quality of the words spilled onto the paper.
For once, in a very long time, I felt completely calm. The need to rush to the next best thing that day, or in life I guess, disappeared from my vision. I didn’t think about where I wanted to go after, what I wanted to purchase next, who I wanted to see later. Instead, I fell deep into the feeling of letting go, of slowing down.
I didn’t even take out my phone to capture the moment and let my fellow social media pals know where I was. I was too focused on the way I felt, the takeover that was happening in my mind and body. Instead, I wrote about it. I took it all in, and then I wrote it all down.
It took me by surprise to feel my mind come to a sudden halt just by the sight of something much slower than myself, something much more at ease, something much more calming. I thought about it when I left the store, wondering how to bring my life to a slower pace.
I wanted to feel like I did when I walked into ‘that store’ in Portland that brought racing minds from over-crowded streets to a simpler way of living, a simpler way of life.
Hemingway once said: “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
Well, you can’t really taste the food if you don’t slow down while eating it, right?
How to Enjoy a Slower Lifestyle
With all of those feelings, here are some of the ways I’ve journeyed myself into a less chaotic lifestyle—one much slower and better for the soul. They are some things you can easily do to live less hectic in such a hectic world.
1. Read more.
I read whenever I can, and I make sure I find the time. I found it so easy to tell myself I had way more to do before I could read the book I’ve been dying to get my hands on—but the past is the past. Now, today, I read. I read before I do most things, because it calms my mind. It brings me down a notch, and I learn more about myself through other peoples words.
2. Take smaller bites.
Insane, right? When I eat now, I eat slowly and I take smaller bites. Shoving an entire meal down my throat in less than 10 minutes used to be a thing. Meals weren’t important, but the thing I had to do next was.
3. Take a walk.
Having a dog helps this because he motivates me to get up and go for a walk just by looking at me—but with or without a pup, it’s a huge game changer. Walking has relaxed my mind, and I’m in no rush to run to the next thing. I take a slower pace, looking around and breathing in the fresh air. It doesn’t matter when, whether it’s the middle of the day at lunch or an after work thing you do. It’s much easier to slow down when you walk, as us non-runners would put it.
4. Make time for people.
“I can’t, the house is a mess, I have a deadline, the workload is too high.” Rushing to the next thing, taking on too much, seeing people you love dwindle from your schedule. Put them back in, pin them back on your calendar, make the time. They won’t care about the dirty laundry on your floor—they’ll care about your thoughts pouring out into words so you feel better.
5. Make time for yourself.
As important as it is to see the loved ones and say yes to the guests sometimes, it’s also extremely important to be alone. I’m all about making time for myself, whether it be at yoga or a movie on my couch. Give your mind a rest, will ya? Try to do this weekly—even if that means meditating ten minutes out of the day. 24 hours minus ten minutes equals a lot more hours in your day still.
It’s ok to want to be minimized, to be smaller than the rest, to be off in a house you love with the people you care about, without the meetings, the calls, the speaking events, the published pages, the name.
It’s ok to want less instead of wanting more. It’s ok to want the feeling of a quaint store over the crowded streets with rushed souls.