My dad is 86. You wouldn’t know it. He is tall and slender with slightly too long gray hair and a trim beard. He is a painter, and spends 4 hours every day working in his studio – still working to resolve problems in his work. The piece that currently sits on his easel is an older work of his; a nude figure reclining on a couch. He has decided to keep the figure as is, and completely rework the background. He is constantly outgrowing himself.
We have lunch or dinner with dad and his wife, Beatrice (a highly talented artist in her own right), at least once a week. This week, as we moved to the living room to talk and relax after consuming a delicious lamb stew and mashed potato dinner, dad said, “We need to find a way to slow down. Everyone is racing here and there, and going nowhere at all.” To which my husband responded, “Robert, you are the best example I know of someone who is living a slow, thoughtful, and purposeful life.” Tim is right. Here is a typical day for dad:
-Wake at 5:30 am.
-Go downstairs and make coffee (slowly – Dad grinds the coffee, puts it in the base of the cafe filtre glass beaker, adds just a small bit of water, swirls it just so, waits….then adds the rest of the water, waits again, and then s..l..o..w..l..y presses the filter through the coffee. The coffee addicts among us are shaking by the time the coffee gets poured, but it’s the best coffee there is.).
-7:00: Call Erika (me) on her way to work.
-Turn on some music.
-Start making breakfast (A typical menu might include poached eggs, sausage, biscuits, and berries.).
-Dance to the music while making breakfast.
-Light the candles (for breakfast!), set the table.
-Call Beatrice down.
-Eat breakfast (slowly….with lots of conversation about the news, the arts, ideas, and maybe some chores that need doing).
-Clean the dishes.
-Make a list.
-Answer and send a few emails.
-Go into the studio. Paint for the morning while listening to music.
-At exactly noon, stop working and eat a wonderful lunch prepared by Bea.
-Do a few chores around the house or yard (Last year dad worked on cutting down a bamboo forest that had taken over the backyard! Did I mention that dad is 86?).
-Put bike on car and drive to beach.
-Ride bike around beach and golf course.
-Come home. Take a nap.
-Wake around 4:30.
-Consider working more on painting.
-Get ready for the evening.
-Have a glass of wine with some cheese and peanuts.
-Help prepare dinner with Bea.
-Enjoy another amazing meal prepared by Bea.
-Talk about all sorts of interesting things.
-Read in bed.
This is the Slow Dad Movement.
I need to find a way to start working toward a lifestyle that looks more like this and less like the frenetic lifestyle I am now living.