Chasing Slowby Erin Loechner
Length: Approximately 10 hours. To read (297 pages)
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We are all chasing some kind of dream and working hard to run after all that we seek out of life. What if we were meant to slow down and enjoy the journey more than reaching a set destination? Chasing Slow is one woman’s true story on learning that lesson of finding joy and balance.
Who should read this?
This book is for any woman who feels pressured by daily life and its expectations. Single women, wives and mothers will all find something of value in how Erin went about learning to find the right pace for herself and her family, despite what the culture thought she should do, say and behave. This book is for women looking to lay down the burden they feel and find their true, authentic selves.
I would even encourage high school girls and college women to read this book so they can hopefully learn these lessons early and find their own way in the world with confidence. We don’t all have to follow the same path or expectations. The sooner we find our own paths, the more joy we will have in life.
Erin Loechner is an early blogger, setting the tone before blogging became something almost everyone does. She was known as the “nicest girl online.” Her blog focused on design and she quickly became well-known, with work being featured on HGTV, Elle Décor, Parenting and Marie Claire. She is also a speaker requested to cover a variety of topics from design to parenting. The book was published in January 2017, just over a year ago, as Erin looks back on more than a decade of blogging. She brings the reader along to learn the lessons she herself learned as she sought more, then less, then what was right for her. The book is written for women facing the different stages of adulthood – singleness, wifehood and motherhood.
On her blog (Design for Mankind), Erin says the book is about slowing down when the world shouts for you to do and have more. “But it’s also about the inbetween. It’s about what it’s like to vacillate between different parts of yourself and not dizzy your mind from the whiplash. It’s about living in the tilt a whirl that is standing up for something, then losing focus and vomiting over the handrails. It’s about staking a claim into the ground, then tripping over it on your way into the house for dinner. It’s about what happens when you strive for excellence and fail, and when you allow grace to change your mind.”
The book starts with Erin in college, trying to find her own way and starting to decide her future. Out of nowhere, she meets a man and starts to fall in love. The man has a brain tumor and may live a few years or many years. She learns to deal with it by trying to keep an eye on it, but it causes her anxiety. They move and settle in California and both start chasing dreams. The pressures and time cause a rift in their marriage.
They decide to move and simplify their lives, but then blogging enters the picture, along with the criticism of her presentation of design. Life gets busy and then comes the balance of having a child. She soon realizes that she should pare down some more, but perfectionism still looms heavy on her. Only when she starts missing moments of her daughter’s life does she finally start to find the rhythm that is right for her and her family. She stops worrying about her husband’s health to the point that it robs the joy of daily living.
Erin went from chasing more to chasing less to finally chasing slow. Whether following dreams or pursuing minimalism, women often place expectations and burdens on themselves that far exceed what is necessary for the situation. When blogging, Erin would often receive items delivered in the hopes they would be reviewed or used in her design blogs. She enjoyed getting the items for a while, but soon there was a lot of clutter and things that were not even used in her house.
When she would chase minimalism, she would allow herself very little leeway and it would feel more like something that had to be done in a specific way instead of creating more room for joy. Only when she chased a slower life did she finally find peace. She was able to let go and enjoy her life and her family.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was written in a personal journal style of writing, similar to Ann Voskamp. Erin goes through her life and lets you see her days through her eyes and then shares the insights she had during those different stages. The book is a journey instead of just telling the reader a way to life a slower life. I felt challenged to let go of some of my expectations and perfectionistic tendencies and look for ways I can seek to slow down and enjoy life on a daily basis.
One of the best parts of the book is the writing style because the reader journeys and learns with the author instead of the author just telling the reader how to live. She’s very honest in her writing and letting the reader into her struggles. Her honesty lends credibility and she seems very authentic. Her story in inspirational and made me want to make some changes.
The book also ends with several resources for decluttering, including an A to Z Guide of tips to slow your life and Five Methods for Decluttering Your Home. It is really great to read a book that inspires you to make changes and find practical ways to start implementing that inspiration right away.
Some readers may have trouble with a stream of conscious writing style, but the author does go in a chronological order, which helps keep things straight for the reader. If a reader hasn’t struggled with perfectionism or feeling the burden of daily life, I don’t think she would understand Erin’s struggles.
Erin’s faith is gently interwoven into the book, but not the main focus. She is honest with her struggles with God, too, which is another way many women can relate with her. If you are looking for a book that focuses on faith as the main way to change your life, that is not how Erin approaches the topic of slowing down.
Chasing Slow is a great addition to the recent books where women are being honest with their search for authenticity. The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, The Grace of Yes by Lisa Hendey, In the Middle of the Mess by Sheila Walsh, Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst and Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist are all in that category and they all help set the stage for a new era where Christian women can take off their masks and be authentic with their struggles and joys.
- “We were never meant to keep an eye on it. We were perhaps only meant to see today.” (Page 282)
- “Authenticity is not the watering down of your message to help someone accept your words.” (Page 206)
- “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” (Page 235)