Monday, August 18, 2008

A Reasonable Life...Surfwise?

While on vacation, I reread "A Reasonable Life" by Ferenc Mate. I read it years ago, but felt like I needed to hear what the book had to say again. Of course, I now feel like moving to Tuscany, but that shouldn't be the point. The point is that most of us in American society have lost sight of what is important and reasonable as far material possessions, how we spend our time, how/why we make a "living" and what we do with that money, etc. Vacation seemed to be a perfect time to think about our lives and do some reevaluation.

Rob has a long-term dream of us living on a boat. I really don't know what that dream would look like since I did not grow up around boats. I'm not scared of boats, but let's say I am a tad afraid of sinking - drowning. Rob knows how to sail. I've never been on a sail boat in my life. I'm guessing in our younger (read: prekids) days, I probably would have gone along with the sailboat fantasy and probably even liked it, as I went along with a lot of what Rob liked to do (rock climbing) and then found that I enjoyed it. We have three children now and I just don't know if I have what it takes to raise them, school them, feed them on a sailboat. I believe in order to warm me up to the whole idea, Rob rented Surfwise recently. The movie was good and I suggest watching it, but about halfway through (not to give anything away), I noticed Rob's face fell a bit. It was obvious that some of the negatives of shunning mainstream American life were coming out in the movie and that life in a small RV with nine children wasn't always the bed of roses one would expect. It made for some good conversations. We don't have nine children (nor do we plan to ever have nine children...started way too late for that and I have internal conflicts about over-poplulation) and we wouldn't do things the way the family in the documentary did things, but it was still good to see Surfwise.

Our friends just moved to their land (with no house yet) about 30-45 minutes away and have been living without running water for a couple weeks. We have other friends who lived in a yurt with one child and no indoor toilet and everything they own in the equivalent of big tent. My dad grew up on a farm in Illinois and didn't have electricity until he was in highschool and some winters were so cold they would burn anything they could find. We have role models we can learn from and ideas in our heads on how to live more simply, live lighter on the Earth, and have time for what is truly important in our lives. Yet, we don't feel like we've found the life that really works for us. Maybe we are just too cowardly to really take that leap and make a change. Maybe we are forever in search of a balance and perhaps shunning all of what is mainstream is not healthy for our family. Maybe we are meant to always be changing and searching and creating and reading and watching and changing and searching and doing, etc.

1 comment:

Paul Kaiser said...

I'm with Rob on the boat dream. Rather, I was with that, but now it's just not realistic. In 1991, I had it all figured out... I'd keep a bike locked up in about 4 chosen port cities, live on the boat, sail to Spain for vacation one day and find a wife...

Okay, so I've ended up better off, probably!

But seriously, I think I get the sentiment of your post. Maybe it boils down to "time for what is truly important in our lives"

So, what is truly important in our lives? What is motivating our decisions, our actions?

I think a lot of us are so caught up in the day-to-day that we don't know the answer to that question, and those of us aware that we don't know the answer... we keep thinking we'll search for that answer "later..."