Have you ever been accused of being slow? I have but feel I have good reason, here in this fast(er) paced world. Growing up in the South, things just naturally move slower there than they do in the North. Why is that? I don’t know what everyone else thinks but this is my philosophy – it’s mostly hot and humid in the south and if you hurry, you break out in a sweat and wear yourself out. Here in the north, where I now live, there’s more time that it’s cold and windy – who wouldn’t want to hurry up and get out of it?
But that’s not the subject I’m talking about today – this is about Slow Food – have you heard about it? It’s a great movement that’s been around for a while and I’ve been reading more about it since I have decided to strive to eat a more whole food diet, as well as simplify my life. If you’ve never heard about it, here’s a little explanation from the Slow Food Canada website:
“Founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986, Slow Food became an international association in 1989. It now boasts 85,000 members, offices (in order of creation) in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, USA, France, Japan and the United Kingdom and supporters in 130 countries. Slow Food believes in recognizing the importance of pleasure connected to food. We should learn to enjoy the vast range of recipes and flavors, recognize the variety of places and people growing and producing food. We should respect the rhythms of the seasons and conviviality. Slow Food is committed to safeguarding foods, raw materials and traditional methods of cultivation and transformation.”
One of the main themes of this movement is to turn people from “fast food” and back to eating food the way it was made originally, food how God made it. Many today feel they are too busy to do this, it takes too long to prepare, and a lot of other excuses. One just needs to look at the whole picture to see the benefits outweigh the excuses. Eating in this manner keeps us healthier, reducing costs of medical problems, time lost from work, healthier children and better quality time to spend with family. It also forces us to plan meals and when ingredients are on hand, food can come together quickly.
Incorporated into this is what I’d call slow living, which is similar to “voluntary simplicity.” This emphasizes a less-is-more approach, focusing on the quality of your life. It also addresses the desire to pursue a more holistic sense of well-being in the fullest sense of the word.
“Simplicity” is a word that has literally jumped out at me for several years now and I’ve been on a venture to find out why. At first I thought it just meant the literal sense, to simplify my life from things and tackle my clutter. But, as I started pursuing that angle, many other things came clear to me. It wasn’t just “things” I needed to simplify, it was me – and that was a huge challenge. The further I dug into this, I realized it meant for me to “slow down and smell the roses,” take the time to let the important people in my life know that I loved them, and tell them so. I needed to find contentment with what I have and quit constantly striving for something “better.” And, most important, I needed to try and simplify my finances and relieve myself of the burden of debt that was constantly pressing down on me.
I was fortunate that I didn’t have a huge mountain of debt but it was large enough that it was slowly burying me, mainly because I didn’t want to deal with it. If I ignored it, it might go away…..or maybe not. Looking it in the eye and addressing the real problems was the start of making inroads to deal with it. I slowly waded through the problems I had created for myself, set up processes to assure I paid my bills on time, avoiding late fees that seemed to be a constant on my monthly bills. Payments on the credit cards became more than the required monthly payment, and eventually paying most of the amount owing. I strived to put aside one extra payment for my mortgage, which reduces the amount of overall interest. I was finally starting to apply all the “head knowledge” I had but did nothing with.
Admittedly, I still have a long way to go to fully “simplify” my life, but am further ahead than a few years ago. As I travel this path, I find this is the best way for me to live, not missing the rat race at all.
Mary Cunningham would never claim to be a financial expert but has worked in the area of finance with personal taxes for over 15 years. Those personal taxes included all personal aspects, rental property and small businesses. She will be offering some Canadian insight to this venture but she came to live in Canada by way of Kentucky.