We are the Templeton family. We live in the Lakeview neighborhood on the northwest side in the City of Chicago. We are a husband, wife, two kids, a dog and nine chickens.
I recently went through what I’m calling a mid-life crisis. Some people who go through a mid-life crisis yearn for fast cars. Me? I’m yearning for slow living. What I had come to realize is that I needed to slow down the pace of my life. I needed to be more deliberate with my choices. I needed to stop trying to do two or three or four things at the same time and not really enjoying (or even remembering) any of them. I had spent far too much of my life rushing through at a frenetic pace, ambitiously trying to get everything done.
I was lucky that Chuck had introduced me to the idea of “lifestyle design”, which is re-engineering your life to make time for what’s most important. And, so when I examined my life, I decided “We can do better”. We can do better for our family. We can do better for each other. We can do better for our home. We can do better for our community. We can do better for the earth. And you know what? It’s not even always all that hard. We just need to take a slow approach – one that is thoughtful of our values, one that is resilient to the challenges that society places on us, and one that is enables us to take pleasure in the journey as well as the destination.
So, this has become my mantra “We can do better.” And we can.
I grew up not really being “green”, but I did always have a green tint to myself. I had respect for nature, but didn’t understand how humans impacted it. Growing up, we recycled and did some of the basic things like that, but I didn’t really think about my over all impact. Then, with the birth of my first daughter, I started to do some reading to try to understand what the world might be like when she got older.
What I learned was disturbing. And the more I learned, the more alarmed I got. Between population growth, climate change, resource shortages, species extinction and general environmental degradation, I came away thinking that we faced a lot of challenges and that I needed to become part of the solution instead of remaining part of the problem.
So as I have learned more and more about the impacts, I have made a decision to try to live a healthier, sustainable, more simple and happier life. To me (and this is where Julie and I differ some) this means living a more resilient life. The goal of this blog is to share the story of our journey.
We are borrowing from the wisdom of the Slow Food and the Slow Money movements. Slow Food is about more conscientious food decisions. Their mission is to “create dramatic and lasting change in our local food system to ensure equity, sustainability, and pleasure in the food we eat.” It celebrates food that is local, seasonal and sustainably produced. And the the Slow Money Alliance is “bringing people together around a new conversation about money that is too fast, about finance that is disconnected from people and place, about how we can begin fixing our economy from the ground up.”
We adopted fast lifestyles, simply because we could. Anything that was fast and more convenient, was always better. And our society fell into some comfortable norms that had big short and long term side-effects. But, what did we lose along the way? We lost the recognition of the impact of our fast decisions on the world around us. We lost of the connections to rich heritage of purpose and community. And, we lost the element of pleasure.
And so, we are attempting to create a home and family life to enable a slow existence, and to challenge others to think and act as they see fit. This blog will chronicle our journey, our struggles, and our triumphs of our Slow Dwelling.