Slow Love, a book review

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Looking for something new to read I spotted Slow Love: How I lost my job, put on my pajamas, and found happiness by Dominque Browning.  While Browning  and I live in completely different worlds, her’s the corporate world of magazine publishing, me….anything that I love and can do from home.   I decided to take a peek into Browning’s transition from the corporate world and an empty nest.

 

This is not a large book, yet it took me a long time to read.  I found it hard to relate to the author who is going through a struggle to find her place in life.  She feels disconnected from people, and spends way too much of the book, in my opinion, covering her dysfunctional relationship with a man stuck between being married and not.   This is also the journey to finding a new life, one that finds the author deciding to downsize, sell her home where she has raised her children.  These situations bring with them a new awareness of what is important in life.

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I have decided to quote from some of the best parts of Ms. Browning’s book:

 

On making the decision to sell her home:

….Then again I wasn’t about to move into my parents’ house when I was ready to settle down.  Why would I expect my children to do so?

On Possessions:

Our sense of home has become portable.  That may be one reason we invest our possessions with so much more meaning – They, rather than rooms and gardens, have to carry the memories.

How to live as a local foodie:

I can see it coming: Just as the wine cellar was the status of the 1990s, the root cellar will be the status symbol of these times and mommies across the land will spend August canning tomatoes and blueberries.

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Her son’s view of possessions:

When asked what he might like saved from his childhood home replies:  “No, Mom,…I told you, I’m not attached to material things.  They aren’t what’s important in life.  Attachment causes suffering.  Go ahead, do whatever you want.  You have to learn to let go, Mom.  Material things, they aren’t real. Remember?”

 

Trouble letting go of valued possessions:

…why are my things in control of me, rather than the other way around?

Why would I move into my next life with 160-odd cookbooks that make me feel as if I’ll never measure up in the kitchen?

On shopping

Let us remind ourselves that shopping is not about need….shopping for food, like shopping for shoes, is about fantasy, hope, dreams, and the expectation that the right purchase will lead to living happily ever after.

Another way to view the empty nest

Shopping for one.  You will never again have to set foot in a Price Club, Costco, Walmart, or Sam’s Club…..The other good news about cooking for one is that even though organic food is more expensive, you have to buy so little of it that it is affordable.

To-do lists

There’s always tomorrow for what can’t get done today.  Making lists of tomorrow’s chores must be a way of shoring up  against that childhood anxiety – “What is there to do? There is nothing to do.”  One is hopeless; the other, the place from which hope becomes possible.

Where is home

I’ve often wondered where home really is, for those of us (most of us) who don’t live where we were raised or where we raised our children.  I’ve finally decided that home is not necessarily where you live all the time; it is where you want to be when you die, where you want to be buried or have your ashes spread.  Or perhaps it is the place where you feel most alive and true to yourself.

Acceptance

I’ve come to accept that I can’t count on anything to be permanent and it no longer matters…..I  know if I ever leave this home, I will make another. If I lose my garden, I will plant another.

 

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The funniest thing I took from this book is that Browning’s son has a better grasp on what matters in life,at least until the end of her journey.  I found my choice to let go of my family heirlooms was the right choice. They weren’t me and won’t fit my children’s homes either.

 

I have found my home, whether it is this apartment or even this town in the long run, I have never been happy unless I am near water and have open space around me.

Did you find anything that you can use from Browning’s  journey in your life?

16 Comments

  1. I have been accused of being unfeeling and slightly ruthless because I have no qualms getting rid of things. That’s the thing about it. It is just a thing. When you die, you don’t take any of it with you. Morbid? maybe. I enjoyed the quotes from this book, even if I can’t really relate to the author, it’s always refreshing to see people from all walks of life come to realize what is really important.
    Katie

    • Katie, you are neither unfeeling or ruthless, you know what you need and what you don’t. As I wasn’t supposed to live this long each year is a gift, but I want to use that time setting an example for my children/grandchildren that things can be restored and not much has to be bought brand-new. I also want them to see my living with just those things I need, not an excess and when I die they can have a big yard sale as nothing is valuable, at the end of the day put a free sign on the remaining and pass on the example of how I lived my life.

  2. I agree with the view of the author that one of the reasons people hold onto objects is the memories they contain. Living in the world of memories is unhealthy, since life is now, to be lived. Memories like possessions clutter and enslave.

  3. I could relate about the sense of home being portable. I think the main reason I kept so many things over the years was that I moved so often, I loved being surrounded by my things after I unpacked them. They made me feel secure and gave me continuity.

    • Dar, when I read that part of the book I could see a little of myself in her words. I too used to move around quite a bit and it was unpacking all my things that made each place feel like home. While I have gotten rid of so much, the one thing I use now to make my home suit me is the artwork on the walls. It takes up very little space and makes me smile. The majority I made myself so it didn’t cost much either.

  4. “why are my things in control of me, rather than the other way around?” This speaks to me. I find it really difficult sometimes to get rid of things. But what is really awful, is when family or friends give me something that is just not me and I want to get rid of it, but worry about hurting their feelings….

    • Jen, I too had that problem. My values were defined in large part from the influences of Native American’s I have known. As a result I had a few treasured pieces in my home that meant something to me. But then family and friends would buy me gifts they thought I would like that I had no interest in having. Many confused Native designs with that of Mexican designs. My home started to feel like some cheap gift shop. One day I changed everything from the paint colors in some of the rooms, and all the art on the walls (packing away my most treasured pieces) and offered back all the other stuff I never wanted by explaining that I had felt a need to go in a different direction. It might have been extreme, but it was the only way I could see to break the cycle of these gifts and reclaim my home without causing problems.

      Now, I have stopped all but my children and my son’s father from buying me things. My ex usually gives me a gift card to a book store and my boys look for things that will have meaning, such as a family portrait they got together to surprise me with, or tools they know I could use in repairing furniture.

      I wish you luck in stopping the unwanted gifts, it really is hard to do.

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