Life in the fast lane, surely make you lose your mind

+Thanks for the reminder Eagles! If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know by now I’ve been trying a change of pace and hoping to get more out of life by doing less, and guess what — it’s working!

For anyone who knows me, this comes as no surprise… but I’m a bit of a control freak. It’s not an ego thing, I actually just want everything to be perfect and I spend a lot of time thinking about and researching the best way to do things. My mind is constantly in analyse mode – better, faster, more efficient…. You get the drift. So when someone’s doing something differently (hubby for example), I’m like ‘hold on mate… this is how you’re supposed to do it’ or ‘hold on, you’re doing it wrong, let me do it’. Now that I am getting a bit older (and wiser), I have realised that perfect isn’t really all that great. In the pursuit of perfection I would just end up doing too much and not sharing the load, or being continually disappointed. Not to mention always second guessing myself and driving myself crazy with my own indecision. It’s time to let go!

I work in a busy marketing role. I used to feel unhappy at work all the time, like I had too much to do, and not enough time, money or manpower to do it. What I realised is that despite this, as a team we continued to deliver some pretty cool outcomes in these tough circumstances (which I may add are not unique to my workplace, but seem to be the common experience regardless of industry). Everyone is much happier if we’re more realistic about what we can achieve with our limited resources and work together on solutions for the challenges and setbacks, rather than being rigid and expecting perfection at every turn. In fact, some of the best moments in my career have been born from imperfection. If things don’t to plan, and yet you can still achieve a really good result, that’s what I call real satisfaction.

Talking about work, I’ve decided that to be able to have the lifestyle I want at this point in time, I am going to have to work less (in my paid job that it). In life, you have to make choices. I am not bitter about it. I want to have a career, be an at-home mother and pursue my own hobbies and interests, but what I’ve found is that I can’t work full time and do all these things, as I am burning out. So part time it is. What an awesome job I have to enjoy such flexibility! I don’t feel like I am putting my life or my career on hold, just putting a stop spreading myself too thinly. Yes, we’re going to have a bit less pocket money (a lot less), but I guess I’ll just have to bake more from scratch and find some other thrifty ways to make our dollar stretch further.

Living more slowly is all about changing your habits. One thing I find hard about trying to change my habits is simply remembering it is that you’re trying to achieve. I am a bit like a distracted puppy, jumping from idea to idea, forgetting all my resolutions as I go. A couple of Facebook pages I have found to be a great daily reminder to slow down and smell the roses include The Hands Free Revolutation and Becoming UnBusy.

For the past 28 years, I have done very little to live slowly — in fact, I have always gone 100 miles an hour. I never slept during the day as a baby (sorry mum; truly!), playing every sport at highschool, worked nights and weekends throughout uni… You get the drift. So needless to say it was (and still is) going to be a hard habit to break, but a couple months into my journey I am finally starting to make a breakthrough. I am finally trying to squeeze less into a day and not feel guilty about it. Hooray! For example; two weeks worth of washing is sitting in the back room unfolded and here I am blogging. It urks me, but I’m holding back and letting go.

Oh and another thing I have been excited about, well a bit of a revelation actually! Drumroll please… Sleep isn’t the only activity that gives me energy. Sure it’s really important, and you need to be getting enough of it to be happy and healthy (experts say at least 7 hours), but becoming a mum has made sleep a real obsession for me. An annoying obsession: how much the baby was getting, how much I was getting… you know the struggle: always trying to lay down when the baby went to sleep. Feeling angry that I couldn’t sleep because I knew I wouldn’t get another chance. So anyway I decided enough was enough. I didn’t want to be stressing about sleep anymore. So I tried some EFT (counselling technique) and it helped me to unpack my feelings about sleep and let them go. And you know what? It worked! Now I sleep when I really want to sleep — not when I feel I have to. And if I want to do something else, like write, sew, cook or just read, I do. I even started getting up two hours earlier to exercise and have ‘me time’ before Elsie woke up and it was awesome. Granted I have let that slip, but back on the bandwagon this week, promise!

So what slow activities have I been up to? Well, heaps! Picnics in the countryside with family, visiting the art gallery, baking treats to take to work (see recipe below), gardening and sewing a little dress for Elsie to name a few. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s my date slice recipe — it’s quick and delicious, so; winning! You can also substitute dried apricots for the dates and drizzle some dark chocolate on the top (after baking) for a fancy touch.

  • 1.5 cups dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 250 g melted butter

Mix ingredients together and press into a slice tray. Bake in a 180-degree celsius (fan forced) oven until golden brown on top (about 20-25 mins). Bake for less time if you want it really soft and chewy, or a bit longer if you want it more crisp but take care not to burn it. OMG this is so yummy, and quick to make!

Also on the cooking front, now with the cooler weather settling in it’s the perfect time to get out the slow cooker for some old-fashioned, hearty meals. From The Complete Slow Cooker by Sally Wise. I made the Lancashire Hot Pot, and served it with homemade ciabatta bread (feature image for this post). This combo was to die for, and I was proud as punch for making it from scratch. I don’t have a bread maker so the ciabatta took a little while, but was simple enough and totally worth the wait. I used the Lauke brand pre-mix. It was great.

So there you have it. I am well on my way to living more slowly, and I am looking forward to spending some more time at home with my little pumpkin. Please share with me your tips on living slowly; what’s worked and what hasn’t as I love hearing your feedback and ideas!

With love,

Emily x