Copyright Georgia Clark 2010
Whether it’s eating, working, having sex, or chatting with your friends, it’s time to pull over, breathe in deeply and take it reeeal slow. Georgia Clark explains.
Harder Better Faster Stronger may be an awesome song, but as a way of life, it’s downright exhausting! Contrary to popular belief, the Slow Movement isn’t about pensioners getting on public transport. It’s a modern approach to life that espouses old-fashioned attitudes to help you take the time to connect to everything from your own emotions to the food on your plate.
The Slow Movement grew out of the Slow Food Movement, started in where else but Italy. Established in the ’80s as a counter culture to factory line fast food, Slow Food is about good, clean and fair food. “Good, because it has to taste good. One of the fundamentals of Slow Food is the pleasure of taste,” explains Leonie Furber, chairman of Slow Food Australia. “Clean, in that it’s grown in a way which is kind to the earth. And fair, in that the producers are remunerated fairly.”
Now with 80,000 members worldwide, Slow Food is rapidly expanding (irony duly noted). Slow Food is about enjoying good food grown locally, so take a bite by hitting up your local farmer’s market or co-op. It also encourages you to connect with your grub by growing your own, whether that’s a few herbs on your windowsill or a big sprawling veggie garden (speaking of which, Slow Food Australia are liasing with local councils to plant them in nature strips!) And of course, Slow Food is about savouring and sharing the joy of eating – with your flatmates, your family or your neighbours. As Leonie simply puts it, “Breaking bread with somebody is a very nice thing to do.” Bon appetit!
So the pace of life is accelerating. The good news is you can order a pizza online and get it practically as soon as you log off. The bad news is we’re losing time to connect with our emotions. “Speed can sometimes make us desensitized,” explains Pam Stavropoulos, psychotherapist. “Sometimes we’re kind of on automatic pilot, and often we lose touch with our feelings. But once we recognize that we’re desensitized we can start to look at ways of pulling back and slowing down”. Pam describes the importance of clearing a daily space in order to just relax and reflect on our thoughts and feelings. Some people like mediation, or a simple ritual like lighting a candle. And slowing the tempo to connect to ourselves is really the best way to have meaningful realtionships with our friends, family and partner. “People pick up on our energy,” Pam says. “. If we’re less stressed, the next time we have an encounter with anyone we have a significant relationship with, they’re going to pick that up. The significant changes are the ones we make internally.” More time to think about the wonders of YOU? Sounds pretty good to us!
One of the beauty parts of being Generation Y is our ease at racing up the corporate ladder. We don’t need to be in a job for a certain amount of time before asking (okay, demanding) a promotion – when we’re ready, the only way is up. It’s cool we don’t need the approval of others to fast track our careers, but our Roadrunner approach to work does have a few negatives. We can get burnt out or get promoted before we’re really qualified. Another danger in racing from high school, through uni and bang! Straight into a 9-5 is waking up one morning and realizing, hey – I don’t actually really dig this. “You might be so focused on getting ahead that you’re not getting any satisfaction in what you’re doing,” says Kate Southam, editor of careerone.com.au. “By the time you realize, you’ve already invested so much time there you want to stay there all the more, but not for any reasons of personal sense of satisfaction.”
Take time to think about what really makes you happy and what you – not your parents or social circle – really want to do. As Madonna famously once said, knowing what you want is the first step to getting it.
While some other aspects of your life can benefit from embracing ‘old-fashioned’ ideas, like borrowing a cup of sugar off the neighbours to bake a homemade apple pie, we’re clearly better off being educated and empowered when it comes to sex. But while the man-hungry Samantha Jones entertained us with her laddish lays, she also created some pretty unrealistic sexpectations. We no longer feel guilty about having sex, we feel guilty about not having enough. “A lot of people are trying things out of obligation rather than curiosity or comfort,” comments sex therapist Tanya Koens, “It can put a lot of strain on relationships.” She goes to point out that a worldwide study of long-term couples aged between 18 and 80 found that on average, couples have sex every two weeks. “It’s better to have sex that you enjoy and don’t feel pressured into twice a month than having ‘let’s get it over with’ sex all the time,” she says. And slowing it down in the bedroom is a great way to start having regular, enjoyable sex. Tanya starts with her clients by banning sex, and encouraging them to spend twenty minutes, three times a week, touching. “No erotic touch, just touching and talking about what feels good,” she says. “We start building from there. I’m all for paring things back.” She goes on to say a relatively regular encounter with your partner doesn’t have to be about swinging off the chandeliers or five orgasms – that sort of pressure is not conducive to great sex. “Sometimes the lazy morning five minute f*ck can be great,” she says. “It’s a snoozy cruizy way to start your day!” Yes please!