Whilst everyone has their own meaning of slow living (you can read mine here) it is often synonymous with the concept of being in the moment, being present and feeling calm and relaxed.
Slow Living is a really important notion in my life, especially now that I am travelling. I want to write about it both on here and on my Instagram. I also want to promote it as something that will enrich life but is also attainable for anyone. Something real and achievable. I also want to make sure that I am truly encompassing the things that I write about. That I am actually doing the Slow Living and not just merely writing about it and pondering on it.
Slow living is huge on Instagram. Anything that is fed and nourished within this social media sphere has the ability to grow into something more visual and concrete than it should be. It becomes specific, stereotypical and based on an aesthetic. This means it can induce comparison and cause anxiety for people hoping to incorporate slow living into their lives.
The danger is that slow living becomes projected as a materialistic thing without us realising. It prescribes what you should wear, what you should be eating, what you should be reading and what you should be buying. The thoughtful and mental side becomes blurred with the visual side. Wearing certain things and decorating your home in a certain way become the fundamentals of Slow Living rather than the mindset.
Linen dresses, green plants and beautiful coffee mugs are seen everywhere on Slow Living hashtags. There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with this and I love these inspirational kinds of imagery. However I worry that they can also cause anxiety and shift the focus onto the wrong thing. We strive to look the way that we think Slow Living should be when in fact I believe Slow Living is more a way of thinking and a mindset that we should try to adopt with all the material things aside.
I guess what I am trying to say is that whilst all the beautiful images we see and post on Instagram are gorgeous and can encapsulate the idea of Slow Living (and often to do so very well) it is important not to get so caught up in the aesthetic that we lose the meaning behind it. Behind all the imagery illustrating Slow Life is a fundamental reason for doing so. For me it is to feel more connected to myself, to be more more present, more mindful and intentional. I want to ensure that I am actually practising this and exploring this idea offline. Not just emulating an image of Slow Living without the actual doing and meaning behind it.
So to come back to my opening and the search for my ‘Why’. This is really just a reminder to myself. Underneath beautiful photographs and aesthetics I must remember Slow Living is a mindset much more than it is something tangible. It is this mindset that I want to underpin my work, not the representation of a perfect and stereotypical Slow Life.
And finally I hope this does’t come across as an attack on Instagram. I believe the exhausted argument that Instagram is merely a ‘highlight reel’ is reductionist and not very helpful. (I have a whole other post coming on this soon!) This also isn’t an attack on the beautifully curated Slow Living imagery. I know a lot of people get a lot of pleasure from creating and viewing it, myself included! I just want to make sure I remember how Slow Living fits into the offline world and not to get too caught up in how we think it should look.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this too.