Five and a half years ago, I left my teaching career for the simple life.
I’ve learned a great deal over that period and will continue to do so. My personal attempt to evolve from a suburban school teacher to a work-in-progress has been rewarding and mind blowing. As the industrial global economy chugs along I vow to keep moving toward the exit of its insane practices.
To be very clear, my move from a large urban city to the sticks is not going to change a damn thing systemically. The industrial and technological world will continue to devour anything and everything in its collective path. I am still part of this world on many levels and will continue to be in many facets of my life for the rest of my days. Once born into the civilized world, escape from it becomes nearly impossible. Many are closer to the exit than I am, whether by choice or by circumstance. I have much to learn from them and a short time to get there.
Today I awake every morning to the sounds of birds, squirrels, coyotes and a cat that I’ve grown to love. My wife and I spend our days together instead of just our mornings, evenings and weekends. Our lives are richer because of our commitment to living instead of chasing a paycheck. We are fortunate and grateful. For us, it’s not necessarily about lowering our footprint but more about living with absolute intention.
Our choices have led us to a community like no other.
My neighbors are wise and generous. They are our elders in a world that has cast wisdom aside replaced by an insatiable appetite for faux progress, status and wealth. I owe my growth as a fellow human being to many of them. They are more than I deserve.
Now that we have found a place to land, the real work begins. Creating spaces for food and summertime shelter top our list of priorities. Our skill set has moved beyond rhetoric and toward application. We have become more aware of what it takes to live life rather than to pay for it via employment. Sure, we have miles to go but at the very least, we finally found the road.
My wife is the reason I have ventured from a traditional white privileged, middle class, suburban existence. I would not be where I am today if were not for her fearlessness. She jumps into life where I sit back and observe before entering. She’s my partner in every sense of the word. Together we’ve enjoyed the fruits of our undertaking. It wouldn’t be the same without her. To share this dance makes all the difference in our experience when facing changes that are ordinarily very difficult to enact.
I don’t foresee a change of attitude or perception within industrial civilization.
It will run its course and eventually go off the inevitable cliff brought about by the clearly illogical and criminally short-sighted belief in the glory of infinite economic growth on a finite resource planet. If it reaches its end during my lifetime I, along with my wife and everyone I’ve ever known, will most likely perish because of its collapse. My life choices allow me to die with the knowledge that there’s more to life than what billions of people are pursuing. At the end of the day, that’s good enough for me. I’ve attempted to evolve at the very least, beyond a status quo that’s quickly devolving. I love life in a way I never thought possible. I am content.
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