For years I’ve pushed against the walls around me, closing in, sometimes suffocating – be them spiritual, cultural, relational, financial, and even educational walls. When Wayne, my first husband, was dying, we discussed this at length…about the pushing he KNEW I’d do, but I didn’t want to do (CHOSE not to do) while he was living his last bit on this Earth. He knew some people would not understand me and my actions (he was right) – he also knew some people, family and friends alike, would choose NOT to understand – that they’d make assumptions without even talking with me, that they’d judge, and that, sadly, they’d remove their love (again, he was so very right). And he so correctly assumed that we (me and my children – corporately as a family and as individuals) would discover early on in our life without him those who truly love us and support us – even without fully understanding our actions or intentions.
Knowing and understanding who I am, he FULLY encouraged me to GO…to figure life out, just for me…to break through the walls that we lived with and were oh-so-afraid to push against, never mind tear down.
And so I did…..in many ways…..yet I still have MUCH renovation work to accomplish….sometimes it IS easier to stay in that box than rebel against it.
One clear and strong and passionate hope and dream I have is to experience life outside of North America.
OK: so what’s wrong with North America?? And the all-elusive North American Dream? Well, let me tell you about my “whys,” and maybe you can figure out the “what’s wrong” – at least in my opinion.
(Disclaimer: these “whys” are true for me – or at least true for me at this moment in time…but they may or may not be true for you…now or ever…and that’s so OK! No judgment on my part…and I ask the same of my readers.)
Ever since I can remember, I’ve dreamed about living simply…in a culture other than my own – and definitely without WINTER!
Where life is measured NOT by status, careers, formal education, or possessions……but by relationships, meaningful work, and SMILES.
Where our house attracts others to it…not because of what we have inside it (the stuff), but by the warmth and hospitality offered…along with a glass of sweet berry wine or a mug of hot fragrant coffee or a spot of invigorating tea…and always a hug.
Where getting from Point A to Point B uses our own energy…walking, bicycling, canoeing, etc…or mass transportation: busses, trains/subways, planes, ride sharing, etc…not having one vehicle for every driver in the family.
Where food is eaten for pleasure AND nourishment…where it’s grown locally, and eaten within a day or two of picking, catching, or culling (sorry, my vegan/vegetarian friends)…not mass produced, sequestered, chemically laden, and genetically modified.
Where Vitamin D is “uploaded” from the natural source…not a manmade, chemically and mechanically produced pill.
Where there is no winter…no Colorado Lows or Arctic Highs.
Where intentional exercise is simply replaced with “activities of daily living” (medical term!)…no gym memberships, no classes, no sessions…just walking here and there, maybe picking up the pace a time or two 😉 , dancing with friends, and having work that’s a bit physical (not “cubicle”!).
Where time is measured not by alarm clocks, time sheets, watches/iPhones…but by the rising and setting of the sun…by being awoken with noises of wildlife and the birds singing their good-morning songs, and going to sleep with the sound of a zillion insects murmuring their lullabies.
Where people live so that they can work – and work means meaningfully contributing to the local society…not working so we can live…and constantly being worried about having way too much month at the end of the money.
Where moods are not devised or designed or modified by medication…yes, I fully understand the need to medicate sometimes (I am a Mental Health Nurse, you know)…but how many North Americans are prescribed antidepressants, antianxiety and antipsychotic meds due to social and environmental pressures?
Where the sounds from outside my window, or off my deck/veranda, are the trees waving at me, the sea breaking it’s long journey, the geckos chirping their pleasure at their amazing lot in life, birds serenading me with their love songs, other living creatures expressing their joy at just being alive.
Where there is no winter. Have I mentioned that yet?? DEFINITELY NO WINTER!! NO boots! NO parkas! NO toques or mitts! NO sequestering myself at home just because it’s too cold to do anything outside (and “too cold” for me starts at about +15`C!).
And…most importantly: where life is lived…FULLY…where LESS = MORE…where DOING comes second to BEING……we are human BEINGS after all……
I can’t even compare to what Corissa wrote (isn’t she a good writer?)…and to be honest, I may not have vocalized it often in my life, but I AGREE with what she wrote. 110%.
But I have to add a few things.
I want to:
Have a full head of hair: I don’t want to be bald! LOL! There are some of you (both guys AND girls) who know exactly what I’m talking about and can relate! But it’s kind of out of my control.
And a “beer belly” is not an option! Again: this may be something to laugh at and relate to, but this goal reflects what I choose to eat and how active I am, which = healthy lifestyle. (But this doesn’t mean I’m going to give up beer!! LOL!)
Live a life without financial debt…attain financial stability…have the peace of mind that my loved ones would be cared for, financially, and the ability to do things for them that may seem small but actually make big differences in the long term.
Own a business…be in charge of something that’s “mine”…and that it’s something that makes a difference in others’ lives along with my own.
Learn a trade…I want to work with my hands in different ways – construction, renovations, gardening, farming, etc.
Live simple…downgrade even more than we have already since we came together as “house” partners (and we live in a small 2-bedroom apartment)…while embracing in the LESS = MORE concept.
And no matter where I am on this Earth, feel as if I belong…and be an active and productive and contributing member of society.
Next post: how the above translates into one (un)expected life….