The Italians figured it out first. The Slow Food Movement in Italy, circa 1980, celebrated taking the time to cook fresh & local and rejected eating fast, processed food.
Covid 19 created a new slow movement: living the slow life. Suddenly, in March 2020, the world shut down as humanity cowered indoors from a deadly pandemic spreading throughout the world. We knew so little about Covid back then so we all just stayed home to stay safe.
Along the way, a strange thing happened. We couldn’t eat out, so we started cooking again. With long days at home, it was suddenly helpful to spend time trying out complex recipes or waiting for home baked bread to rise.
Actually, we couldn’t go anywhere. Those of us who could, worked and learned from home. Stuck indoors, we treasured our quick and silent walks in our suddenly ghost town neighborhoods. The streets were empty, the cars were stilled, and new sounds of the city emerged from singing birds to buzzing bees. Birdwatching—that ultimate slow hobby—became the hottest new trend.
We were all forced to discover the quiet joys of the slow life. Parents read books to kids, families played board games, we explored new interests and activities indoors. Trips to the library were replaced with digital downloads. Shopping expeditions were replaced by online purchases. Streaming media became the new entertainment.
Later, when scientists learned enough to know that being outdoors (socially distant of course) was safer than indoors—we started exploring our local parks and natural areas. We gathered for family picnics, walked on beaches, socialized on front lawns and urban stoops. We got to know our neighbors across back fences instead of home visits.
As for us, after a lifetime of chasing movie openings, attending indoor concerts and plays and pondering art in museums, we are now happy to stay home and watch the latest shows across our ever expanding streaming services. Evenings are also more leisurely with home-cooked meals and the occasional takeout. Rarer still, are outings to restaurants where we first run mental algorithms about how safe it is to eat indoors or out.
And flying anywhere has become a high stress puzzle of logistics vs practicality. Do we sit next to others? Will there be a maniac on our flight? Will we get stuck somewhere mid trip? Or worse, will our trip be cancelled? Air travel seems suddenly less fast and more fraught. Staying home sounds increasingly appealing.
So, we live our slow life and as more time passes, it doesn’t seem as much a hardship as a gift. Covid has taught us to appreciate the simple joys of being alive and appreciating every moment during this devastating pandemic.
How has your life slowed down? I’d love to know…after all, I’ve got lots more time to read your answers!