Someone recently sent me a message via Instagram and asked me what slow living meant to me. I took it as a genuine and well-meaning question even though they put in brackets, (especially considering you get up at the crack of dawn for constant photo opportunities.) I have the term ‘celebrator of slow living’ in my bio, thus I am assuming why I got the question. Regardless of the intention of the message, it made me think about what slow living means to me. There is no right or wrong way to embrace slow living but basically, it means to me, trying to live a slower and simpler life. It involves a whole lot of things such as learning how to say no, being prepared to let go, doing important things and forgetting the things that simply don’t matter. Doing more with less. Owning less. It is about living mindfully, being grateful for what we have and not comparing what we have, with what we don’t. It is about focussing on happiness and gratitude. It is about focussing on our personal values. It is blocking out the noise of the modern world and making the here and now a priority. It is about doing things that we love. It is about giving no value to the negative voices and those who are half empty rather than half full. It is about walking away when necessary It is a whole lot of things to me and I get it wrong a million different times, but they are the things I try to remember. Probably sounds like gibberish but slow living is all about a million different things to me.
I had to make meringues this afternoon and it was an exercise in slow living and summed up why it is so important to me. I got home this afternoon and felt like I had a million different things to do. I had just dropped into to see Bec to go over some ingredients for this weekend and I had a few things I needed to do this afternoon to start our preparations. I am also feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment, but I had a list, and I was going to stick with my list regardless. Despite there being limited time to get the meringues in the oven before I had to pick the kids up. I whipped up a batch anyway. I didn’t take the time to put the sugar in slowly. I didn’t whip the meringue long enough, I put the cornflour in and forgot to fold it. The mixture was not firm enough, but I piped it anyway, whacked it in the oven and ran out the door, forgetting to turn the oven down. When I got home, I had two trayfuls of sticky burnt sugary toffee in the oven.
So, I took a deep breath, chucked the mess in the bin and started again. This time I did not give myself a deadline and forgot about my bloody list as it wasn’t going to get any shorter by looking at it. Regardless, things would get done and if they didn’t, then they weren’t that important anyway. I remembered how I simply love the process of cooking as much as eating and sharing. I took the time to let the initial mixture develop soft peaks. Then I took ten minutes to put the sugar in the mixture one spoon at a time while giving it all the time in the world. I folded the cornflour in and then scooped the whole delectable mixture into a piping bag and piped perfect little meringues. I remembered to turn the oven down, and one hour later I had the most amazing little sugary white shells. I had forgotten my rush and I did not even poke them or lift them as I know they need overnight in the oven to dry off.
I was reminded by my meringues, what slow living is all about. It’s about making something beautiful with very little apart from some time and love. It’s about focussing on the task at hand. It’s about loving what you do. It’s a whole lot of things. Life lessons from a meringue.