Embracing The Slow Life
One of my closest friends rued the other day that she got updates about her children’s lives through Facebook more than she did from them personally. “Mala, how did it come to this?” she asked me, sighing. “Whatever happened to family time, spending quality moments with each other instead?”
As I took off on a vacation with my daughter, I couldn’t help but think of what my friend asked me. In this hustle and bustle that’s life, I was one of the lucky few who could match busy schedules with my daughter Naina, and go on a trip where we could just disconnect from the world and be the two of us.
I try my best to spend as much time as possible with my kids. And I love my “old school” slow life way of showing them how much I care. On my son-in-law’s birthday, I gifted him a card that said “Happy birthday FUN-in-law!” Such a funny pun, I thought it encapsulated the love and lively-filled relationship we had. Interestingly, a birthday card has now become such an alien concept to kids and grown ups alike, my family looked at me like I had brought the most bizarre object to the party.
It was an amusing experience! Growing up—in the pre-digital era, of course—receiving a card was such a special moment in life. You’d walk into a shop, carefully curate the event you needed a card for, lovingly pen down your thoughts and sign your name. The personal touch to the gifting would always make you feel like you’re the only person that mattered!
These incidents also made me reminisce about my childhood, and I couldn’t help but think about how times have changed. Maa ke haath ka khaana is something we all have memories about. Especially when Maa would cook something special. It would be a festival at home! Today, in the day and age of instant food orders and digital implosion, I wonder if it still holds the same charm now. Maybe not!
You know, the more I think about it, the more it seems that food was just a stand-in for the bond we shared with our parents back then. We understood each others’ feelings and emotions a lot more. The only “digital” experience we had was possibly watching movies and shows together on the TV, together as a family.
The greater the influence of digital media becomes in our life, the more curated our life becomes, I feel. While it may seem like you put everything online, it’s actually quite the opposite. You take pictures and emotions, you edit them and add filters to them, and you show the world only the things you want them to see. It’s perfectly manicured to set an image of yourself.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong in being tech savvy and social. Even I am! What matters is the ones we leave behind in this breakneck, fast-paced life—our older generations. Our parents and grandparents.
Spare a thought for those who don’t even have a Facebook profile to track your life events.
As the world becomes smaller, the distances seem to keep getting bigger. Our attention spans seem to shrink and chasms widen.
While working with several seniors, especially women, I often hear the 70+ ladies lament about their kids living abroad not calling them enough. All they need is one phone call, once in a while, where you can have an actual conversation with the parents. Don’t forget to carry along those that have no digital presence!
What I miss most about the slow life is the personal touch to communication. Being online is the truth now, and we must learn to mould ourselves to changing times. But just occasionally, keep your laptops and phones aside. Pour out two cups of tea, sit with the people you share a home with, ask them about your day. And just talk!
The world has a special way of showing you wonderful things when you slow down and savor the moments, truly. Without wanting to Instagram it!