Years ago when I lived in the city, I desperately wanted to own a BMW. They were the epitome of success, and as a young 'executive' I dreamed of being thought of as a successful player. Some thirteen years later I drive my teenage jeep into the forest with only one thing on my mind, finding a mushroom. My priorities have shifted. My home has shifted. Once I felt at home in a city house, now I feel home when I'm here.
I find it interesting how much we change as humans as we age. We're all different in what we believe in, dream for, lust for, aspire for. But we're all humans, we all face the same unavoidable fate. We all leave a mark on the world, both spiritually and physically. For some unplanned reason, my mind has changed over the last decade. I've been questioning why I do what I do, and how I live. The outcome is, I've made changes based on the beliefs I've formed, and thus I live a life of simplicity. I don't do things I don't want to do, I'm not interested in growing business and making more money, quite the opposite. I'm quite happy just being able to pay the rent and utilities and fend for myself and the kids.
I was talking with a friend yesterday about this very thing. An approach to life that surely must have some mental and emotional health benefits. The idea is that you rid yourself of things in your life that you can actually survive without. A car loan, an extra house, a credit line. Removing these debts frees up your time and money which means you can actually concentrate on real living. I know how I ended up being in debt all those years ago. It's simply that I wanted stuff, stuff that would make my life better. But it doesn't. Not in the slightest.
My current lifestyle doesn't allow for idleness. I'm the busiest I've ever been. But I do things on my own terms, I do what I believe is right, not what's expected of me. I don't have an allocated lunch break, instead I'm free to eat when I'm hungry. I sleep when I'm tired, and I fill my days with tasks that need to be done, each task either contributing to food stores or homes comforts i.e. firewood collecting or cleaning. My greatest achievements are seemingly diminutive. A good crop of beans, a basket of found chestnuts and a cap filled with the first wild mushrooms of autumn. Food is such an integral part of all of our lives, and when you start to play a significant role in its preparation you can taste the result.
My food is simple. It is made by hand. It's grown. It's hunted and it's fished. When I look at a dish it has traces of effort layered all over it. The mushrooms I picked, the sourdough bread I made, the garlic and thyme I grew.
I know I'm at an extreme end of the scale and that most people living in the city couldn't do everything I do. But there is always something all of us can do to live better and reduce food print. Maybe I should list them?
I've been humming this song in my head a lot lately. The line that gets me is, "inaction is a weapon of mass destruction"