Living a slower, simpler, more meaningful life

The BIG change we always wanted to make

I called this blog Slow Change because it was going to be the story of how my family and I made small, slow changes to our life. It was all about slowing down and living as though we had bought a little house in the country and were living the simple life. Even though we hadn’t, actually. Even though circumstances made it impossible for us to buy that little house and create that idyllic life of country simplicity. My dreams of kitchen gardens, orchards, home made jams, freshly baked bread, lush green views, fresh air, and above all financial freedom were not to be realised.

Faced with this disappointment, it dawned on us that there was still plenty we could do to slow down and live simply, without actually moving anywhere. Thus I coined the term slow change to represent the small, slow changes we would make to find pockets of peace and simplicity in our otherwise fast paced city life.  That was exactly what we did, and it made for a nifty blog name, but I did end up feeling like it was just a positive spin on a massive compromise – what I really wanted was that little house in the country dammit!

So we slowed down, and we really did make a lot of changes. These days we cook and eat differently, shop differently, spend our time differently and ultimately value time and people over money and things. We grew a few vegies and learned a LOT about what not to do in the garden. I didn’t make jam, but I did bottle tomatoes and make kombucha. We also ditched a whole lot of nasty plastics and chemicals from our lives and started buying bulk organic food, at least some of the time. As it turned out though, that nifty blog name was more apt that I could have realised back at the beginning.  We hit a fair few roadblocks along the way to change, and the pace of change was certainly slower.. and bumpier… than we anticipated.

Some of the tough stuff we experienced distracted us from our slow lifestyle for a while, but ultimately placed us even more firmly back on the slow bandwagon in the end. Scott found out he had rectal cancer, so we went through all of that and came out the other side. We had some crazy Ketogenic diet times with Beck’s epilepsy before we got his seizures under control. I burned outgot diagnosed with various tedious things and stopped working.  We realised we couldn’t live on one salary, so we sold our house and moved into a rental for a year. I didn’t get better, ended up with some more diagnoses and had a hysterectomy. It was an exhausting, overwhelming few years, full of ummm….. opportunities for growth and…. valuable perspectives on life!

And so, there we were. Cashed up but homeless, living in a little house in Melbourne’s Inner North surrounded by another family’s furniture. A family that would be coming home soon, so we REALLY needed to make a decision about what was next for our little family. How WOULD we live on one salary indefinitely while I rebuilt my health and embarked on a totally new career path? How could we balance financial stability with happiness and good mental and physical health. How on earth could we manage to keep slowing down and living in alignment with our values to create the life we’d dreamed of?

And then… OH MY GOD WE DID IT!

We bought the little house in the country.  Look!

Exhibit A: Little house in the country. Ignore plastic bag in foreground (who put that there????).

 

Yes we did! Well OK, the house is actually not that little. But it’s most definitely in the country, there is definitely enough land for a kitchen garden and an orchard and trees and fresh air, and there has definitely been some bread baking going on*. We’re not quite as financially free as we might have liked, but we now own a home with the potential to support all of the dreams we can possibly dream up and a few more besides. So it’s a done deal. We moved in over the holidays and spent a few weeks juggling around getting it painted, which meant we finally had the house to ourselves on the first day of school. And now here I am, a week later, alone in a fresh, white, quiet house, with (almost) all our furniture, quite a lot of boxes and absolutely no plans. Bliss! A couple of days ago I felt like writing for the first time in quite a while. This is what I call an exceptionally good sign.

In other news I’ve been pretty exhausted. House hunting, moving, school holidays and just getting our new place set up has really taken it out of me. It’s been non-stop for 3 or 4 months and through it all I’ve only just kept the fatigue at bay. It’s that old familiar story of running on adrenaline, then hitting the wall as soon as you stop. Not the best approach when you have adrenal fatigue, but it was kind of unavoidable under the circumstances. I’m still feeling optimistic about recovery, and really it’s all been leading up to this moment. Now I can finally stop, walk in the garden, breathe the fresh air, rest when I need to and simply take the time I need. I can already feel the rejuvenating effects of this place; this place that I’ve dreamed of for so long. Finally here! All the pressure of striving and planning and problem solving has finally dissolved and I feel relaxed and hopeful. A lot of things have fallen into place, and even though there’s still plenty to work out, there’s time for everything and I’m not in a hurry.

I don’t know when I’ll have the energy to get back into running my women’s circles. I really loved holding space for women, but it was shocking how much energy it took from me. I had to put that, and all my other plans, on hold so we could get through the moving process. Now we’re here and it looks like I need to go back to square one and start my recovery again. It’s oh so frustrating and tedious to have so many plans and so little energy. I’m getting better at sitting with it though, and I’m getting better at recognising that I’ve stretched my limits and putting on the brakes before I go over the edge. I’m a slow learner – but hey it’s all about ‘slow’ change right???

Anyway, I hope to be able to continue sharing the journey with you. I don’t know what the next year will be made up of. I might be focussed mostly on my health and recovery, or I may be well enough to continue my Reiki journey and begin working with women again. I hope to be able to share the transformation of our beautiful 2 acres in the Macedon Ranges and share some of the ups and downs we experience as we re-connect with the land and discover how we might breathe new life into it.  It’s something I’m approaching on multiple levels. I’ve started sketching out a plan for the property, using all those permaculture skills that I knew I’d use one day. But also I’m wanting to sit and breathe and connect with the spirit of the place and feel what it wants from us. I love wandering around this little piece of paradise and discovering all the surprises the garden presents as it changes every day. I may have to start an instagram account, cos I would love to share all this colour and wonder with you. Check out just a few of the little details I’ve enjoyed this week:

Anyway, watch this space. There’s plenty more to come. You can sign up to receive emails when I post updates, because you really can’t rely on Facebook to let you know these days. No doubt you’ll have noticed that I post pretty sporadically so there’s not much chance of it becoming annoyingly spammy. Or if, by some strange turn of events I become a prolific sharer, you can easily unsubscribe. Thanks for coming along on the ride with me.

 

*I never said I was the one baking. Thankfully Scott is the resident baker around here, and I just get to eat it 🙂

8 Comments

  1. Edie

    I am so thrilled for you Emily. Here’s to a year of rest, recovery and happiness xx

    • Emily

      Thanks Edie, a year like that sounds perfectly delightful. Also you forgot to mention tea!

  2. Sarah

    This made my heart sing – well done you! ?

    • Emily

      Thanks Sarah, my heart is most definitely singing too, along with the birds!

  3. Jo@JoSimplyWill

    What wonderful news Emily! Although there were lots of twists and turns along the way, it’s great to hear that you have ended up where you had actually visualised yourself to be. Wishing you well as you get to know your new house, garden, and community. I will look forward to reading stories of this next chapter in your life.

    • Emily

      Thanks Jo, and did I see that you made a similar move yourself recently?? All the best people end up in country towns don’t they 😉

  4. Imica

    Em, this sounds amazing. I’m so happy that this long time dream of yours has come true! Up for visitors soon? ?

    • Emily

      Yes! You can come and pick blackberries with me anytime, let’s talk!!

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