I’m moving house soon! Back in July, I posted about my plans to move to a more intentional lifestyle in Armidale in rural NSW. It was dependent on me getting some ducks in a row. Namely having gainful employment and somewhere to live. I am pleased to report that one duck has been lined up and nailed to the wall! I have a job in Armidale. The job is a good one but at this stage only for 6 months – but (very) likely to be extended. It’s at the same salary, but not in a school and it will be a very different role.
This news sets the dominos in motion. The next step is the pack up and find somewhere to live. Rental properties are not hard to come by in Armidale and my own place will be easy to rent out as the market is very lean at the moment. All good there. As any good organiser would, my very first task was to create a timeline spreadsheet. (Colour coded, of course!) This included all the important things, like when I need to be at my new place of work, when I finish in my current position, the Christmas holiday period etc etc. I was in my nerdy organisational happy place. And then…
Moving House Stumbling Block Number 1: The removalist
One of the first steps in moving is to book a removalist. I “googled” and came up with a few companies. The first quote was for nearly $8000. Screech on the brakes!! Say what?? Eight grand?? I don’t think my furniture is worth that much!!!!! Add on the prospect of MAYBE shipping all my stuff back after 6 months. Urggghhhhh!
In my second Slow Living post I suggested that I could sell all my stuff, buy a tiny home and live more simply. I billed this as an extreme response. With this quote, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea! Do I really need to move my stuff? Can I rent my place in Wollongong furnished? Do I free myself of my possessions? Do I sell my lounge and fridge etc etc and buy replacements once I’m there? So many questions!
As part of my meanderings around the idea of slow living, I have been listening to Brooke and Ben Macalary’s Slow Home Podcast. A lot of what they talk about resonates with me. “Slow” living is a loaded phrase. It has connotations of laziness or “dropping out” attached to it which might be hard to accept especially for people like me who prefer to be “busy”. Brooke suggests another label for slow living. She says many prefer to think of it as intentional living.
What is intentional living?
Intentional living means that you maintain a lifestyle that adheres to your beliefs and values and you don’t just live on autopilot. Rather than floating along with the dominant culture’s tide, you steer your own boat. My values include reducing my consumption, a value shared by many, but not supported by the dominant culture of capitalism. “Culture” wants to buy lots and buy often. I am digging this groove because while I’ve been living “fast”, I have been living intentionally for some time. I have worked on my life’s purpose, I have values and beliefs which I stick to.
Curiosity about how other people live intentionally sent me down an internet vortex. There is plenty out there on the interwebs about this topic. Looks like I wasn’t late to this party, just that I have been partying in the dark for a while! Label-less!
How do other people “do” intentional living?
In one pod episode, Brooke describes her morning routine and refers to “Morning Pages”. The idea intrigued me. Like Brooke, I aim to get up early. In summer, I usually do some exercise in an attempt to beat the heat and humidity. In winter, It’s hard to get the runners on when it’s dark and cold, so it’s more likely that I will settle down with a cup of tea and do some writing. Morning Pages might be my thing.
Morning Pages were “invented” by Julia Cameron back in 1992. The idea is that you write three sides of standard US letter paper (A4 for us Aussies!) first thing in the morning before you do anything else. It’s a stream of consciousness style of writing. Just write the things that pop into your head. Don’t censor it, don’t stop to think, just write. The first thought that comes into my mind is that it’s a waste of one side of a piece of paper! The rule about “before you do anything else” is so you capture your thoughts before they are waylaid by the realities of the day.
Thinks to self: I’m presuming it’s OK to pee but NO cup of tea? That’s a bit extreme.
After you’ve written your three pages in longhand you are supposed to throw them out. This way you are free to write anything without the fear of someone else reading your private thoughts. Frankly, I hope that someone will, one day, actually read my scribbled, illegible journal notes! I leave them messages! Sometimes I laugh out loud at my little notes to a future reader! Such wit and humour!!
Journalling vs Morning Pages.
Stream of consciousness scribbling can lead to the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the writing rainbow. First, you write draft zero, get all the rubbish out of the way and then you *might* find the pot of good thoughts. Your flow hits the perfect viscosity. I often experience this when I am out running or walking. A great story idea pops into my head. sometimes I’ll stop and record a breathless voice message because invariably, I have forgotten the said brilliant idea before I get home!
I keep a journal, so far I am up to Volume 10. I use an A5 hardbound notebook with unlined pages and write in pencil although I don’t write in it every day. It’s a hotchpotch of shopping lists, to-do lists, ta-da lists, ideas for blog posts, self-recriminations, summary notes I’ve taken while listening to online courses or Youtube. It serves as my travel diary. It even holds some deep dark secrets! I’d love to be able to decorate it with beautiful sketches and calligraphy but doodles are as far as I go in the artistic department.
I don’t want to throw my jottings away! My first intentional decision then is to stick to journalling. My journal serves a similar purpose. One day I’m hoping some of my descendents will read it and say “What a funny old chook Great Grandma was, I wish I had met her!” Through the pages of my journal, I think they can.