SLOW FOOD, SURE! BUT SLOW RECREATION?

BY BLAINE HOWERTON

We are all painfully aware of the frantic pace of modern life. But have you ever come off a weekend, so jam-packed with leisure activities that you feel as if you’ve worked straight through from Friday night to Monday morning? It may be that you drove yourself to recreate at your usual pace of work so perhaps without even realizing it, it was as if you worked through the weekend!

In Italy in the 1980’s local residents of small towns as well as large cities recognized that if something wasn’t done to address current trends something precious was about to be lost — their way of life over centuries in their enjoyment of a midday meal during the work day. Their concern helped launch the Slow Food Movement.

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Perhaps not so well known is another trend — Slow Recreation — and if I am just imagining this movement, well, then let’s start one!

The staff at North Forty News works hard to find ever more comprehensive ways to advise our readers of all the great things going on in your own community as well as the communities around you. We believe this is of value in helping you learn more about our State of Colorado that you were either lucky enough to be born in or smart enough to choose as your home going forward.

But in addition to rest and renewal, we need an ever-improving ability to respond to the demanding and often lightning-fast changes we must navigate in our work life, sometimes in our communities, and on occasion, through the demands of our families. Right-paced recreation and travel can both restore and inspire us — but not if we go about our leisure activities at the same frantic pace that our careers might demand.

So I am suggesting something that has appeared in various guises in self-help books such as The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. The “Artist’s Date” is not the exclusive domain of people who consider themselves “in” the arts — we are all the “artistic creators” of our own life. If you’re single you can embark on this adventure as originally intended. Choose a place you’ve never been, go there on your own with a notebook and just be present moment-by-moment, soaking in the sights, the sounds, the fragrances or perhaps the odor of the place. It’s the newness of the occasion and your total focused attention, minus any technological intervention, that can help introduce you to aspects of yourself you didn’t even know existed but were there all along — you might be amazed at who you meet on an outing like this — YOU!

If you are in a relationship or a parent with family, you can still benefit from this IF you make it a point to plan to see ONE place that is new to you and your family and you plan to make that excursion at a leisurely pace — no drill sergeant waking the kids up way before they usually do on a Saturday.

Hold a family meeting before the weekend, propose where you will take your family to see if they approve — if not, propose option number two.

Once you have a destination (and that can be a nearby place you’ve just never gotten around to seeing) plan a festive breakfast, either at home, or in a restaurant and especially with little kids, create excitement around the event. Plan to begin the day at a reasonably slow pace before you set out. You might limit photos to just ONE group shot so that your cellphones are tucked away and turned OFF during your excursion.

The idea is to take back the weekend and possible day trips to a more leisurely pace (it might feel like putting on the brakes as you come off your frantically busy week but you’ll get better at it over time).

Slow Recreation will reward you in surprising ways — in addition to recharging your creative energies, you may discover positive traits of your family members that otherwise might go unnoticed in the speed of modern life. But most important of all, you will come away refreshed, relaxed, and more prepared for what lies ahead — and in a world changing at an ever-increasing pace, that’s a very good thing!

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Blaine Howerton

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