Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Learning to slow down
Even before we planned the move, like many families I'm sure, getting to work every morning was always a rush. However much time we gave ourselves in the morning we always seemed to be in a mad scramble for bags, shoes, keys, lunches and bombing out the door to nursery then the office and then the same again in reverse later in the day. I only worked half days in the UK so my afternoons were a bit calmer but still, trying to get anything done between L’s naps and mealtimes meant that I’m sorry to say I was far too often that harried mother goading her tired children to hurry up.
I’m not going to claim that China has made me a different person (yet!) but I’m really trying to be more mindful of my time and how we spend it. With our opposite schedules and F’s kindergarten sessions we are still clock-watching more than I’d like but I am really trying to slow down and live in the moment a bit more. I read a great quote last year that has really stayed with me.
“He did each single thing as if he did nothing else.” Charles Dickens
This is how I aspire to live- mindfully and finding the joy in everything I do. Instead of thinking about all the things I should be doing, I aim to really concentrate on and appreciate what I am doing at any given moment, be it writing, cooking, teaching or being with my family. I am working on embracing unstructured play with my children and allowing life go at their pace.
I am also learning to say no. We were recently offered some extra, very well paid teaching work which we turned down. We like teaching and this would be to small children which fun, but our schedules are pretty full just fulfilling our contracted hours. If we wanted more money we’d have stayed at home. We took a two thirds pay cut to come here so if we were working purely for money we’d be on the wrong track entirely. Our time and time with the children is precious and I don’t want to lose it just for some extra cash. We don't have a lot of money, but right now we have enough to live in a simple way and for that I am very grateful.
I read Carl Honoré’s book ‘In Praise of Slow’ last year and at the time it really resonated with me. I’m about to start re-reading it to help rekindle that spark and remind me of all the things I swore I'd do when I finished it, not to add to a 'to do' list but instead a 'not to do' list, how liberating is that?
Do you have trouble keeping pace with life and long for more time? I'd love to know how and if you manage to slow down as I have a lot to learn.