HOW "SLOW LIVING" WORKS FOR ME IN RETIREMENT

Retirement is the perfect time to slow down and step out of comparison and competition. This is how it works for me. #retirement #slowliving

THE SLOW LIVING MOVEMENT

Emma from Simple, Slow and Lovely defines slow living like this:

"I believe that slow living is a lifestyle. And it’s so much more than that. It’s a worldview, a mindset and an anchor....Living at a slower pace of life means saying no more. It means putting up boundaries where there haven’t been any before. It’s being intentional and purposeful with my time. But it’s also leaving enough white space on my calendar for spontaneity."

This summed up how retirement is looking for me - slow and delightful. But it doesn't just happen, it comes from choosing to be content with what we have and choosing to step back from the hurley burley of our consumerist society.

NEEDING LESS

I think the secret to living slower is to pare back on what you think you need. We're bombarded from all sides with the concept of More is Better! and I don't think that's the case at all. Often the scramble to get more costs us too much - too much money, too much stress, too much envy, too much dissatisfaction. It can also result in too little - too little time to ourselves, too little time with the ones we love, too little in our bank accounts, too little joy, too little contentment with what we already have.

When we stop basing our sense of self worth on what we have, it allows us to step back and appreciate that we already have enough. When we're not striving for more, we can take time out to smell the roses, to work less and relax more. When our material needs are fewer, we can use our time for other things - we can slow the pace and go with the flow. Retirement isn't about having less money, it's about having more time. Time becomes our friend and allows us to stop running from one commitment to the next, instead we can take a moment (or two or three!) to ourselves without guilt or pressure - it's lovely.

Some people want material things. Me, I just want peace, happy times, and people who love me by my side.

CONTENTMENT IN ALL THINGS

I come back time and time again to my #WOTY (SYMPHONY) quote from William Henry Channing, and today it's about the very beginning where he says "To live content with small means.A friend told me recently that her financial advisor said that people go through their money more quickly in retirement because they're trying to maintain the same lifestyle they had when they were working. I find this baffling as we live a very comfortable life that encompasses all we need, and our finances aren't dwindling away. In fact, we seem to be living well on very little - a surprise and a joy in light of the consumer society we live in.

When you don't use material possessions as a prop, you learn to live very happily with "small means". So far I haven't noticed any major sacrifices in my life being made in the name of retirement, this might be due to the fact that we lived comfortably and thriftily before I stopped work, or it might be that neither of us are defined by having the biggest and the best "toys". I don't need to upgrade my phone, or my car, or my decor regularly, I'm happy with what I have and it serves me well. Choosing to be content takes the pressure off and removes the need to be hustling for more - and allows me to breathe and live slowly.

"Don't confuse having less with being less, having more with being more, or what you have with who you are." Noah Benshea.

NOT JUSTIFYING MY CHOICES

A lot of people don't understand the idea of having less or needing less. They can't see how we can be content with what we have and not be hankering for more. There will always be those who are trying to keep up with the Joneses - or those who are the Joneses - they don't want to live slowly or minimally, they want all the bells and whistles. I'm happy for them if they love that lifestyle, and there's no point trying to explain to them why we don't want to live that way - it's like speaking in a foreign language.

You can't talk butterfly language with caterpillar people. Or maybe you can't speak caterpillar language with butterfly people?  #lifequotes
Or maybe you can't speak caterpillar language with butterfly people? 
The lovely thing about becoming older and wiser is that you realize that it doesn't matter what other people think. It doesn't matter if they don't understand our choices, if we're happy with our life, if living slower works for us, then we can just get on with it while they live their busy lives. There's room for everyone in this big, wide world - live and let live has become a bit of a mantra for me. Judgement is such a waste of time and trying to justify my choices is pointless, so I intend to keep on doing what works for me - living a pleasant, slow, and simple life - genteel poverty at its best.

WHY LIVE SLOWLY?

I don't think Slow Living is for everyone, some people thrive on being super busy and having very little down time. Life can be exciting and enticing - there's always something new to catch their eye or tempt them in a new direction. I used to live a much busier life - full of work and volunteering, outings, family, friends, and more.....now I choose not to. I think it took all the stress of dealing with the drama from my job to open my eyes to the fact that I don't want to live like that any more.

The older I get, the more I understand that it's okay to live a life others don't understand

I don't want to compete, I don't need to fill my life full to the brim, I want to let go of all of that and move at a slower pace. I love having free time, fewer appointments, less demands. I enjoy creating my own timetable with large spaces of breathing room. I'm happy to have whole days with nothing planned. I also enjoy having times when there's more happening, but not all the time. I need room, I need clear air, I need to remove myself from all the demands and just "be". Retirement has given me the freedom to do that and to live a slower life - for that I'm beyond grateful.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you living slower or do you need to be busy? I think it's different for each of us and we all have seasons in life where we have different needs. I'm enjoying this season of slowness and highly recommend it for those who are feeling overwhelmed. Slow down a little and see what happens - you might like it....

RELATED POSTS

 

Retirement is the perfect time to slow down and step out of comparison and competition. This is how it works for me. #retirement #slowliving
Retirement is the perfect time to slow down and step out of comparison and competition. This is how it works for me. #retirement #slowliving

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24 comments

  1. Hi, Leanne - Thank you for another very thought-provoking post. Like most others, I have been living a slow life during COVID. What will happen for me when it is safer to resume social activities? Time will tell. But for now, I am greatly enjoying the slow, quiet life.

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    1. I'm finding the same thing Donna - I like living slowly and I'm not sure I'll ever feel the need to rush back into a busy life where I'm juggling appointments and commitments - I think I'm coming into my true pace - and it's a very gentle one.

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  2. It's so lovely to read how much you're enjoying your retired life Leanne. I totally embrace slow living. That's the lifestyle that suits me now. No rushing. No packing a million things into one day. No doing what others want me to do unless I want to do it too. I still like a sense of achievement though and I tend to get that through creativity or having a clean and organised home or in the garden etc. I do live with a lot less then when I worked but I probably could be better in this department as I still like a few indulgences. All in all - though I love a getaway now and then - I'm a homebody and love pottering at home so a slow life suits me to a T!

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    1. Hi Min - I think once we let go of who we thought we might be (that busy working woman who was bringing in money for all the little "extras") then we start to experience life on a different wave length. It's like our heartbeat slows and our sense of time stretches out, life just seems smoother and easier. I don't miss my working days at all - and the income they produced isn't enough to woo me back again - older and wiser my friend!

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  3. My life since being made redundant has slowed in some ways and then took on a life of its own in other ways due to family problems far and wide. I would love to just go back to my simple easy days of just a few months ago without all the current stress. It's a much nicer way to be - for everyone concerned. Another great post aimed at where we are in our lives. x

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    1. Hi Deb - you've certainly been through the wringer lately - maybe the consolation prize is that you're not having to juggle a job in amongst it - or trying to take extended leave. You can focus on the true priorities of family and caring for those you love - that to me is what this stage of life really frees us up for. Hang in there and those lazy summer house days will come back xx

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  4. Hi Leanne, I remember asking my husband how much money we would need to retire and his answer was,'depends on how we define retirement.' Everyone defines their ideal retirement differently and while my retirement may not look like yours, we are each content with our choices. I think a mistake people make is considering a specific $$ amount rather than a specific lifestyle when they plan for retirement. Being like-minded with your partner helps.

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    1. Yes, you're right Suzanne - those who want to do a lot of travel have to figure the $$ more than those who stay home (especially when you live in Australia that is a LONG way away from everywhere!) And yes, having a partner who's happily on the same page makes a big difference too - and also being prepared and debt free is a huge one.

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  5. thank you for your insightful thoughtful post today. It really connected with me. I too have enjoyed the extra time that retirement has allowed for me to pursue areas that interest me. During the "pandemic" I have enjoyed the extra time that has been given me while the several groups I belong to have shut down temporarily, and now restrictions have eased I am not sure I want these groups to be penned back into my diary even though it means joining back together with like minded people. I enjoy the white spaces and days free to do something spontaneous. Thank you again. Stay safe and have a good week. I am joining you at the Livin Life linky.

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    1. Hi Jill - you're right about being more intentional in our choices about what we return to as all the restrictions ease. I've certainly enjoyed the slower pace and quiet days. I'm gradually taking things back up again, but less than before - and only the ones that make me want to leave the house. The quiet of lockdown was a bit of a bonus for me too.

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  6. Love this!! Especially not justifying your choices. I have lived like this pretty much since I was a teenager, and some family members just could not understand. But ultimately that's okay and won't change how it feels right for me to live. Plus some of them are starting to understand now as they get older, it's interesting.

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    1. I think a lot of us have realized that the world's values aren't our values and it's okay to turn away from it and live a life that is calmer and slower. It can take longer for those of us who are used to toeing the line because we want to fit in, but once we start down our own path, life just smooths out and I'm loving that - glad you are too x

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  7. Hi Leanne, I can totally relate to what you're saying. I've never wanted to keep up with the Jones's (they have too much debt anyway!) and am happy to downsize, and live a minimalist lifestyle. We're getting there! Your posts always inspire me because your idea of retirement is bliss to me. Regards, Christina

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    1. Hi Christina - I never thought I'd be retired (or writing about it!) in my 50's but it's been such a rollercoaster ride to get here and the payoff has made the journey worthwhile. I'm so grateful to be in a position where we don't need much to sustain a pleasant life and the thought of "working for the man" again makes me shudder a little.

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  8. Give me the slow life anyday!

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    1. That's my catch cry too Anne - so much better than being constantly on the go!

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  9. I'm definitely a slow living sort of person, especially now that I'm 30 weeks pregnant. I've got friends who seem to thrive on being super busy, but that is not me!

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    1. Yes, being well and truly pregnant does make you appreciate life where you're not too rushed! I still remember those days and trying to do everything around a large bump! I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves to be perceived to be doing it all (and doing it really well) whereas, slowing down and being a little bit gentler with our body, mind and soul is so refreshing in comparison.

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  10. Lots to think about here and since I left full time work a few years ago, I'm all about going slow and doing and needing less. Although I'm nowhere near a minimalist, I'm much more conscious about what I need, what I buy and am becoming very good at saying no to stuff so that I can say yes to the things that matter and add meaning.

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    1. I've always been a bit of a minimalist Sammie - I'm very unsentimental about "things" so it's not hard for me to let material possessions go. At the same time, I've always wanted to be seen to be doing a lot and ticking all the boxes - now I'm much better at letting others pull their weight while I sit back and watch. I keep reminding myself that I've well and truly earnt this time in the sun!

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  11. Leanne, I love the phrase ‘leaving white space on my calendar.’ I have to be careful how I can fill every moment in my calendar and then I regret how this makes me feel. Especially, when I have more choices in my life right now.

    I breathe slower and more deeply just reading the word “contentment.” And yes, the human being versus the human doing. I always appreciate the quotes you share. Thank you for many great gems and reminders in this post.xx

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    1. Hi Erica - I've just found that after decades of doing a million things and being super efficient and involved, I'm just happy going slower now and pacing myself. I don't feel the need to justify to others like I used to, and that's such a relief. I wonder at times if I was a lazy person living in a busy person's body??? Because now I feel more at home in myself and so much more relaxed and content.

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  12. I like that you have found what works for you in retirement and sharing it helps others. My life needs some busyness in it but at a pace that I can handle because if not, then some stress returns. All of what I do is voluntary and when I notice I am feeling a bit out of balance, I look at what I am doing...and change it. I couldn't do that with paid work but I can now. I am so much better at this now. Thank you so much for linking up. We are more half way through the year now. Next week it's time for: 27/51 Taking Stock #3 6.7.2020 so I look forward to seeing you then, on or off prompt. Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse, I think part of why I write about living more slowly is that I want to share that it's okay to not be constantly on the run. Some people need a frantic pace, but that doesn't mean we all do. I love that now I'm not working, I have so much more control over how I spend my time and that I can change and be flexible when I need to - it's been such a godsend.

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