This article in The Boston Globe claims that some families are discovering unexpected benefits of a slower approach to life in the midst of economic downturn.“It’s hard to slow down. It’s hard to step back,” said one of the people interviewed who lost a corporate law job, “but it’s a blessing in disguise.”The article doesn’t go into great detail, but touches on a few areas where formerly fast-paced families have been making changes and adopting a “slow” philosophy:
Shrunken budgets are prompting more homemade entertainment, home-cooked meals, and pioneer-type survival strategies for families – all changes that slow down the pace of family life and the recent emphasis on materialism.
Regardless of how the economy has affected your lifestyle, you may be making changes, simplifying and slowing down.If so, what are some changes you’ve made? Point us to some blog posts you may have written on this topic, or let us know in the comments.How slow have you been forced to go?And would you say you are discovering, like the Boston Globe story suggests, “unexpected benefits” in the midst of economic downturn?
We have been taking care of my mother and even though for the last few years she has been in the nursing home there are still many things to sell and take care of. Visits to mom, gifts, needs, much to do for those we love. This takes it toll after 9 years and this year we nearly have stopped of evenings. We bought a limited amount of Netflix and are not going to movies at all. The closest movie is 25 minutes away. We have popcorn at home like we did when the children were small. We drink a lot of water and very little coffee or pop. I use a dry homemade soap in my washing machine and dry clothing just long enough to get the wrinkles out and then hang them up. I’ve started ironing a few things again. I like to iron and it makes older clothing look fresh. My days are still busy with full time work and we have cut back in different ways. Planted tomato plants this year and the plants look fabulous so strong and healthy. Bought less flowers but put the ones I bought in selective places near my front door to show them off. It is a very good year. We are saving more money and getting much needed rest.
I wouldn’t say that it is the economy that is causing our changes; rather we have been consistently working toward a simpler, less hectic life for the past few months (since my third son was born last September.) We chose not to replace our second car when it was totaled in December, and we’re doing our best to limit our errands on weekend. It is a trade-off – family time or errands! Obviously we’d rather have family time!
We’re doing our best to be frugal and build up our savings account again (it was decimated a year ago when we had to pay for COBRA insurance for 9 months) and so I use cloth diapers, shop carefully with coupons, and rarely buy things that aren’t actually necessities. We planted a garden in our back yard and the kids are loving the fact that we can eat our very own green beans!
It really is a nicer life.
Rita & Emily, thank you so much for this great window into your lives! You both really do seem like you are reaping benefits from simplifying and making frugal choices that in the end have been more fun or rewarding in various ways. In particular, Rita, I like picturing your robust tomato plants and the select pretty flowers by the front door. Emily, I’m impressed with your choice, if I understand you correctly, to be a one-car family. Wow, with three children, that’s got to have its moments! But I did read a lot of interesting articles about living with only one car and many people appreciate what it’s done for the family, even with the challenges it presents.
May you both continue to enjoy many delicious fresh veggies in your gardens! We’ve got one planted, too, but I wouldn’t describe it as particularly robust. I think I’d better try some Miracle Gro!
This brought to mind a post a wrote last year, before I’d ever hear anyone refer to “slow living”…
I think this post was kind of just the start for me. The thing I’ve realized the most over the past year, at least for me, is that slow-living isn’t so much about what I’m doing/not doing, as it’s about my attitude; where my heart’s at and what (who) my focus is.
I really enjoy your blog, by the way 🙂
Even if the invitation says, “no gifts please,” there is a party, a park, a grocery store run. Someone else is having a baby and needs a meal. A family member gets sick and needs a visit. Maybe things haven’t turned down enough for us. We’re so busy – so fast. I lie down at night, and I think how I can’t believe the day is over, and I can’t believe another one is going to kick on in the morning. Do you think it’s just my mommy stage?
The economy and our recent adoption have certainly caused us to slow down a little more than we already had in recent years (and we’d slowed down A LOT). However, having a baby in the house, one who needs her schedule very, very much, has really caused us to slow down in a more significant and purposeful way.
We try to live on a tight budget (which we’ve been doing since before the recession), and it has pleasantly slowed down our life. I am a stay-at-home mom, and in order to cut out the cost of services or convenience, I try to spend a lot of my time doing things that we would otherwise be paying for. We use cloth diapers that I launder, I cut my husband’s hair, I iron his work work shirts, we cook almost all our meals, we use our local library for books and movies, we own one car so I walk or take public transit a lot, we don’t have a TV (we watch movies on our computer), and we try to make as much stuff from scratch as we can. I really enjoy everything on the list except for ironing. 🙂 We especially love making things from scratch – it’s often our Friday night or weekend activity. Some things we’ve made are laundry detergent, peanut butter, hummus, applesauce, and bread, to name a few.