Over the last few months, many of the biggest trends of the 90s have returned. We’ve seen chokers, centre partings, Liam Gallagher starting incoherent arguments with other public figures – but I’m holding out for the renaissance of the greatest subculture of the decade – the slacker.
Pre-smartphone, pre-broadband, before we started to carry all the cares of the world in our pockets, slacking was easy. You could go out for lunch for an hour and have a glass of wine, knowing that you could come back to the office without anyone tutting or sending emails headed, ‘URGENT: PRE MEETING CATCH UP‘. That is where the expression “lunch hour” came from.
You could spend your weekends as you wished, probably napping, without suffocating under the expectation that you needed to be having a spiritually motivating, culturally fulfilling and envy inducing time, while producing professional quality photographs documenting each fabulous activity. Even hair was easier in the 90s. We didn’t have to watch videos about how to achieve the “perfect undone blow out”. It was simply a case of seeing what you could do with 15 minutes, a palm full of VO5 and some glittery butterfly clips.
These days we’re all constantly stretched to the very ends of our abilities, pulled too tightly across a punishing schedule and made to believe that if we’re not at a desk, or in the gym, or putting leaves in a blender, we’re failing. We’re even told that our hobbies must be profitable “side hustles”.
Before it became a buzzword, stress was defined as “the pressure or tension placed on a material object”. A little stress means the object can reach further, or take more weight than its appearance suggests. But significant stress will cause it to become shapeless and useless. And so it is with humans. Allowing ourselves some slack means that when our mental rope needs to be pulled as tightly as it can go, it will be ready. Proper slack. Staring at the wall slack. Not shavasana slack.
Slacking off is imperative for our survival. It’s about acknowledging that nothing can flow unless it periodically ebbs. It’s a way of allowing ourselves a margin of error, of ensuring that when we’ve overdone it and feel as though we’re going to crash, we have a soft space to land. I suspect that we’re more ambitious for ourselves than ever before, and this is a brilliant thing. Yet, without some slack, that ambition becomes another stick for us to beat ourselves with. We cannot operate at a hundred per cent of our abilities, a hundred per cent of the time. It’s time to change the narrative – stop being always on, and start slacking off. A life partly spent in sweatpants is a life well lived.
By Daisy Buchanan, @NotRollerGirl