Some journeys in life take us directly to our destination, while others meander slowly, taking every side road and backward path. My life has felt more like the second option and I am happy about that.
For years I have said I am a late bloomer, slow to the uptake. If there is an easy way of doing something it’s almost a guarantee that I will not choose that way. I always seem to take the longer, more difficult route. I think I get this from my Papa which is also kind of sweet and maybe why I don’t mind it so much. This perspective though is what kept me open to us moving overseas shortly after we got married. At the time when we were deciding if we should move or not, we knew that if we chose to leave the States we were in many ways leaving behind a steady move towards security and careers. This was not lost on us. We could see how leaving would slow us down in certain ways but we also knew that getting there faster didn’t mean it would be the right way forward. So with the knowledge that adventure and the pursuit of specific dreams was before us as well as a pause of sorts on our careers, we moved to Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is a small country and I mean small. The whole island of Ireland is tiny but then you add the Northern Irish border and it gets even smaller. Ireland as a whole from North to South is about 301 miles long, and from East to West is about 170 miles wide (roughly the size of the state of Indiana). For some reason, this little fact made it feel even more appealing. Big places make me nervous and I feel out of place. I remember for example, my first trip to New York city. I felt so small and insignificant and I did not like that feeling. Arriving in Belfast International Airport though, at what could be one of the smallest airports I have experienced, felt strangely comforting. The small roads, the small cars, the smaller stores. It all started making sense. I love the small life.
By small I don’t mean insignificant. By small I mean the limited size and experience of life. Due to the fact that the country as a whole is small meant that our community was small. When you live in a small community in many ways it makes it easier to get connected. You see the same people more often, you most likely live closer to your neighbors, and the choices you have of where to shop, eat, play, etc. is limited. That suits the indecisive part of me quite well. Less choice makes my life simpler.
What I didn’t realize though was that by living in this new, small place, I was actually being changed from the inside out. My cultural norms were shifting, I was seeing life differently and that was a very good thing.
Now we live back in the states but I am different than I was at 24 when we first moved to Northern Ireland. The internal landscape of my life is different. America is big, I mean really big but we choose to live a small life. Our circle of deep friendship is small, our house is small, our network is small. We choose this because it allows us to live a slower and more sustainable life. The only thing is that this is counter cultural to where we currently reside. We live in one of the biggest tech areas of the states. We are surrounded by Google, Microsoft, Expedia, and the list could go on. Everything around us pushes for a faster pace and a blurry existence. Yet we know that is not our way forward.
For years I watched two of my closest friends from a distance push back against this reality. They have intentionally carved out a different way of living. It was largely their two separate lives that gave me hope that we too could create a different yet sustainable way to live here. As we are now three years into living back in the States, the time felt right for me to begin whispering to attentive ears about a different way to live. Therefore, I have arrived at the doorway of creating my first ever, quarterly newsletter that will begin this January 2020, Slow. Small. Sustainable.
In my newsletter I will be sharing ways that we can lean into and live life in a slower, smaller, more sustainable way. This newsletter will be simple, short, and quiet. If you are looking for Vegas style flashing lights and tips this is not for you. If however, you are craving quiet, gentle ways to approach your own life then please reach out and I can add you to my email list. I promise not to waste your time or inbox space. I promise to share honestly what I am learning and believe could be beneficial for you. I also promise to not be offended if you choose to opt out in your own pursuit of a slower way. I do however hope that you will join me. We are better together and a shared life is in my opinion a richer one.
So enjoy this Christmas holiday season, and as you prepare for the coming year, please consider joining me and many others in this journey to pursue the Slow Small Sustainable way forward.
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