So we got back from Canada about a month ago and re-entry into city living has been a bumpy ride. The first week everything seemed so loud and fast; the second week I felt a strong compulsion to make plans and have dates in the diary and since then I have been moving at an escalating pace - having lunches, meeting people, keeping up with current affairs, taking Senan all over town and spending an inordinate amount of time on buses and the tube. It really has been interesting to watch myself transform back into an urban gal.
We followed the principles of slow living while we were away - we ate meals together, did physical work in the fresh air every day and went for long walks on the beach as a family in the evenings. We watched no TV, ate fresh food from the garden and drank practically no alcohol. Reflecting back on this time what I have noticed is that when we were out there I did not get any kind of a sense of "lack" - I never felt like I was missing out on something, even though we were doing very little. Nor did I see any mundanity in my daily routine of feeding, walking and playing with my toddler.
However, back in the "real world" (more analysis of this ridiculous concept later) I am keenly aware that I get bored or irritated with the repetitiveness of visiting the same park every day or doing the same chores. I suddenly feel that being a stay at home mum is hard work - there seems to be no time beyond the childcare and housework for a glamourous lifestyle or the important "proper" work I see all around me in this city.
But I don't let it get me down and I try to remind myself that that fabulousness is merely an illusion. So many people (including myself sometimes) busy themselves because they feel that this is what they ought to be doing (mums seem to be the guiltiest of all at this!), and they feel acute discomfort being still and not doing anything at all. But perhaps being comfortable in not doing anything is one of the important steps to living a low impact life. It ain't easy in the big city, but I am going to try to recapture some of the peace we experienced on the island and bring it back into London life.
I like this quote:
Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.