hard at work, living simple
Today some friends dropped by for a cup of tea. After they left I went outside and watered the garden, as I often do when I need time alone for thought digestion. My friends are on a bit of a journey, metaphorically that is, I don't know if they actually have existing travelling plans. They've been actively making changes in their life, in order to get to a point of simple living. Stressful long-hour jobs have been discarded, the house has been sold and debt has been consolidated. It's been a predetermined process with an aim to live with less, to eliminate stress and to embrace the beauty of simplicity. They sound better, they look better but they're still somewhat in battle mode. They, like many of us are fighting to reach that end goal. That little house on the prairie or maybe that sweet hidden cabin deep in the woods, where they feed themselves from a garden, milk a house cow, collect fresh eggs and where life is simple, ethical and possibly only improved with a hint of nude mud dancing. ;
Many years ago I too was dreaming of this type of living, minus the nude mud dancing, I have my limits. Like the possibility of spending a night with Scarlett Johansson, the dream seemed so very far away for me, impossible if you must. (Scarlett if you're reading this my number is 0432 342 555...just sayin). Many times I'd quietly sneak off to cry in frustration (a manly cry, let's make that clear...and to confirm manly status just thought I'd let you know I wear Old Spice...just in case you were wondering....it's very manly, musky in fact). My dream of living La buena vida seemed as far away as a Dirty Dancing sequel. I used to think I'd die before I got there. This is not a joke, I actually often thought I would die in my old life. I was after all, working 6 days a week, smoking like a chimney and drinking like a lord. When your doctor tells you you're a walking heart attack (or stroke) when you're in your early thirties, you tend to drop the humour. I was determined to make a change but I knew it would take a big commitment, mentally, spiritually and physically. I was determined to achieve this with out the aid of 'Simple Living for Dummies' or 'Positive thinking and shit' by the Dali Lama.
Reading this blog one might easily make the assumption that I have achieved this utopia of simplicity, that my life is verging on dreamy and idealistic. But like Star Wars, the story isn't true. I'm still on that journey to achieve the perfect simple life, and as I'm imperfect and human I will never actually get there, to perfect simple living that will make me super happy. I'm doing my best to get real close, just a bee's willy away some might say. And because I write about said journey on this blog, I have my detractors. The people that are an itzy bitzy cranky trousers because I no longer slave at an office job, I have zero credit card debt and am no longer owned by a mortgage. Instead I earn bugger all doing odd jobs, I provide for my family in a non-conformist manner, I'm good friends with my ex-wife and I'm a partner and lover to my girlfriend. Apparently this is annoying to some people and for that I'm deeply sympathetic to their frustration, but allow me to continue.
Back to my friends, that cup of tea story I started on earlier. Yes I tend to get sidetracked. In a way my friends are going through similar dealings with detractors. It might be family or friends and sometimes it's complete unknowns that will be telling them that they're doing it all wrong. In most cases they will be saying it behind your back, as polite people will. Many believe that you're supposed to find love, get married, work you butt off, earn money, own stuff, out-do your neighbours and pop out perfect kids. People that believe in this are in fact, idiots. Because that approach is not suited for everyone. From my short life I'd say life is more about experiences, love, culture, memories, achieving contentedness and if you're lucky, very lucky...finding true happiness. The latter of which is THE goal for people these days. But let's face it, it's a bit rubbish. You can't be happy all the time, not even half the time, but you can be content. And I reckon that's something worth aiming for.
So I wish my friends all the best on their journey. I'm sure they'll get there. To somewhere at least. And for the people that write to me and tell me they're on a similar journey, well let me hitch a ride with you. Because at times my old truck gets a flat tyre, the engine runs out of juice or it blows a head gasket. We must remind ourselves, that we're all brothers and sisters...if we're in this together.
PS. I mentioned the Old Spice/manly vibe for those people that still believe I'm a redneck sexist male who wants women to return to the kitchen. Well I don't want that because I'm in the kitchen and it's a very small kitchen, so if you could be so kind as to remove yourself from said metaphorical kitchen and allow me to have a sense of humour.