It never crossed my mind to move out of the city after living in New York.
While I was making the move back to Boston, I craved to stay in the fast-paced lifestyle. There was this fear of living on the outskirts: not being able to walk to get overpriced coffee, driving to the grocery store instead of walking to it, taking in the quietness with no cars flying by in the middle of the night, the thoughts shook me to my core. It was all too… slow.
I moved into my tiny Boston apartment, with way too many clothes for my closet, and took myself for a walk to get that overpriced coffee that would get me through the day. I ordered quickly, being rushed by the hurried people behind me, and sat down to take it all in.
The feelings of slowness came to me as I watched everyone in such urgency. Slowness is a funny word in this situation, with such speed buzzing by me. In that moment, with my phone put away, social media not close enough to be scrolled through, I found a way to settle into minimalism in such a fast-moving world.
There wasn’t one specific thing that brought this to my attention, there wasn’t one person who made me realize I could slow down as they hit fast forward right in front of me, there wasn’t a light that lit up right in front of my eyes with words blinking “you need to take a break” but instead there were a million things that came to mind. A million faster than ever thoughts that made me slow down.
I realized, right then and there, that I could live this life I loved so much. I could breathe this city lifestyle I craved and still give myself a moment to take it all in before I missed it; before fast forward became too fast. I didn’t have to give up my favorite way of living to experience another one.
That day, I went home and wrote down five ways to start living less in a city. Five ways that helped me become better, more aware, and much more in-the-moment.
1. Sit at coffee shops with nothing but your coffee.
This one is my favorite because that is how I let myself finally come to the realization that I could live both ways. Take in the souls around you, take in the rushed orders and the baristas ready to pull their hair out. Watch as people hit fast forward while you sit right in the live moment. Sip your coffee slow, put your phone away and let your mind wander with nowhere to be.
2. Accept that you want to live slower.
In order to be better, you need to become better, and in order to become better, you need to tell yourself that you are capable. The first thing you need to let yourself do is accept, because if you can’t accept, you’ll never get there. It’s ok to want to slow down in such a rushed area. It’s ok to want to take it all in for a minute. It’s ok to find a quiet park and lay there with only yourself. It’s ok to walk slower as people are shoulder checking you. It’s all ok, and you need to let yourself know that.
3. Clean out your closet.
Get rid of what you don’t need, what hasn’t been worn within the last year, and what you will never wear again. If you forgot you had it, you probably won’t wear it again, or you need to remove all the clothes that were hiding that specific piece. If you want to live a minimalist lifestyle in a fast-moving city, get ready to remove clutter. Once you remove unnecessary pieces, you will instantly feel more free and more calm, and much more ready to live this life you’ve chosen.
4. Find your quiet spot.
I’m telling you, it’s out there. No matter what city you are in, you can find a spot where you are able to sit and breathe with no one there to bother you. Walk around and look for it, then go to this spot regularly. Read a book, magazine, your phone even, whatever you want. Just make sure you find your spot, it’ll come in handy at just the right times.
5. You can live the city life tomorrow.
It’s important to let yourself know that you can still live this fast-paced lifestyle whenever you please, but for today, you are going to let yourself live slower. You are going to more minimalistic in this city, because you need it. Even if you only do this for 24-hours out of an entire month, that’s ok. Once you realize that the city is still right in front of you, that this lifestyle isn’t going anywhere, you will be able to slow down easier. You don’t have to give it all up, you just need to let your mind know that.