Journal

Embracing a Slower Life

embracing slow living abookishbaker.co.uk

I’ve just been re-writing my about page to try and reflect what I’m writing and what I want from life.

I cast my mind back to my early career and how, as a late nineties graduate, it was assumed women could do anything, be anything. There were no barriers. Well, there certainly weren’t in my mind. And no-one ever put any in my way. (Other than being asked at a job interview whether I’d be having children in the near future. I mean, what?!)

I was excited about my career in business and marketing. It didn’t occur to me that I might not like it. That I might not be fulfilled by this fast-paced world. I just assumed I’d be a career woman. Nothing was going to stop me.

Except, I stopped myself.

Writing this, four years ago to the day we moved to the countryside, I hadn’t realised I yearned for a slower pace of life. I hadn’t realised I hankered for a life similar to the ones both my grandmas had. Country living, fresh air, early mornings, chickens, baking, gardening.

And, for a while, I felt guilty. Guilty about being able to take a slower pace of life. Of being able to sit at my desk and write, then pop out to feed the chickens their afternoon tea, of baking cakes before collecting the children from school.

It all sounds a bit homely, like the working women of the past few generations have struggled for nothing. For me to give the career a go then just to undo all their hard work.

But, then I realised, thanks to their pioneering efforts, I have that choice. I can make a career that suits me. And, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and social media and my compulsion to write and write, I have the joy of making a living from these slower daily actions.

And now I feel I want to get up early. Not to catch the train but to open the back door and breathe. Foggy and frosty mornings are best for this, but sunny mornings are also good. Even the smell of rain is powerful.  It’s all about taking in the moments.

Watching the year pass through the seasons: being aware when the blossom bursts, when the leaves come; when they go, of that first frost, those hot, sticky mornings, the distant sound of a chicken laying an egg, the fresh aroma of newly mown grass, the harvest, the apples and pears; currently the size of currants, beginning to grow on the fruit trees.

#embracingaslowerlife

I find Instagram brilliant for taking in those moments. Since I first downloaded the app I’ve been more aware of what is happening around me. So I’ve created a hashtag for the times in the day when you consciously realise what is happening outdoors. It could be that first blossom of the year, the first rose and its glorious smell, the fields changing colour, moody, thundery summer skies, a leaf falling signifying the beginning of autumn.

An appreciation for the simple. Those moments we take for granted, but are incredibly special.

Do join in.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Sarah @ Say Little Hen

    I also feel so inspired and uplifted when I drop by your space Helen. I’ve just been to your Vimeo account and watched your latest film – so good! Can I just say well done for rewriting your About page? It’s a task I loathe (my own needs updating!) and I always envy anyone who can write theirs 😉

    I’ll be joining in with your hashtag.
    Have a lovely day,
    Sarah x

    26th May 2016 at 12:29 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Thank you, Sarah. The feeling is mutual. I adore your blog!

      7th June 2016 at 10:38 am
  • Reply Steph

    I really love this! I am caught on my corporate treadmill (which I do enjoy) but I am a little terrified by how much of the year has already passed and so far it’s been all about work. I definitely am looking forward to a few weeks time when I have a week off, but I know I need to slow down in the evenings too. Your About page is really lovely (such beautiful photography!).

    26th May 2016 at 12:45 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Thank you, Steph. Yes, you’re right. Slowing down for a few minutes in every day just to be aware of what is happening in nature x

      7th June 2016 at 10:36 am
  • Reply Anna International

    I love this post Helen. I couldn’t agree with you more. After 15 years of being an international lawyer, with 5 (!) degrees, I suddenly realised that would be my life – working evenings and weekends, not even earning big money, missing out on family and friends and life, just for work, and I didn’t even enjoy it! You know that ‘make a list of what makes you happy, make a list of how you spend your day, adjust accordingly’? Well, nothing that made me happy was on my list – friends, countryside walks, gardening, decorating, baking, reading, travel. I decided to quit law, and shape my life into something I would be proud of having lived. The transformation is not yet complete – but I am definitely getting there. The dream is eventually freelance writing, and a little farm or small holding. Same as you really! I am excited to make it a reality. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the little things as much as I can. xx

    26th May 2016 at 2:01 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Anna, I am so inspired by this. Good luck with your change in direction. xx

      7th June 2016 at 10:34 am
  • Reply Lyndsay

    I love this idea, it’s too easy to race through life without a second thought, we are all too busy, too much of the time! Great post, I’ll be checking out your hashtag :)

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

    7th June 2016 at 4:22 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Thank you, Lyndsay!

      8th June 2016 at 6:06 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I’ve just discovered your blog (thanks to the fabulous Cider with Rosie) and I love it. This post totally resonates with me – you go through school being taught to focus on a successful, city-based career as the ultimate achievement. When actually, maybe a simpler, slower life is better.

    Sarah
    https://happinessremembers.com/

    8th June 2016 at 5:10 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Yes, exactly! Oh, I’m so pleased it resonated, Sarah. And welcome!

      8th June 2016 at 6:06 pm
  • Reply Amelia May

    Reading your blog feels like coming home. I am very much an advocate of country life and slower living. You write about it and explain it all so beautifully. Xx

    Keep Calm and start writing –
    23millymay25.blogspot.co.uk
    http://www.millymayamelia.com

    30th June 2016 at 11:52 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Thank you so much, Amelia May. I really appreciate this. :)

      1st July 2016 at 7:56 am
  • Reply Vanessa

    I am so delighted to have just stumbled across you! I have literally just pressed ‘publish’ on a blog post that I have been prevaricating over for days, slightly ashamed of not wanting ‘more’ than a special place to call home and a creative, happy life there. It’s lovely to ‘meet’ you and I look forward to following your journey. xx

    6th March 2017 at 3:12 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Hi Vanessa – lovely to meet you, too! Going to come over to your blog right now!

      7th March 2017 at 6:50 pm

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