Thursday, December 04, 2008

In this quest for Simplicity...

Many of us, or many people I spend time with, talk about simplifying their lives - in several ways. Of not getting caught up in the ever-escalating consumerism, of not becoming someone who has 'one of everything' or a million of something that they really don't need... of not always being so busy that there's never time to observe, reflect, and even just think - you know, feel the breeze on your face, the sun on your skin, the joy in watching things grow.

The thing is... many of us begin this quest already in the middle of a very un-simple life. Different it would be had we started off with this simple aim in mind, or began that way as children.

The way our towns and cities are set up - there's very little that's within walking or biking distance. Our main 'travel' every day is for school - yet that time is well worth it when I consider the schooling our children receive... for that schooling is nothing that mainstream schooling can offer. We really have to work hard to 'make' things come back within that walking or riding distance... it can be done of course, it's just a challenging beginning when you work out that most stuff you actually can't walk or ride to as you'd prefer (hence my wish for a Christiania bike - then all I'd need to drive for on a regular would be school)

The way our families are set up and spread out - there's a minimum travel distance to see any of them really. Which is not to say you want to live in each other's back pocket - certainly not - but the option of walking down the road to Nanna's would be nice... not just for us but for the kids.

The way our houses are set up - electricity/gas is required... having just put solar in, we're getting there and planning rainwater tanks soon - but there's still this endless list of 'bills' that come in that seemingly there's not much to do about them. We keep the internet because the library is a good drive, and not always convenient to our needs in terms of opening times (yet to find one that's open at 1.15am when I have a question about fruit trees)... we keep the internet in order to simplify our lives so we don't have to go to (drive to) the post office to queue up and pay the bills... we keep the internet to reduce spending on phones to speak with our loved ones who live a long way away... we keep the internet to send photos of events and happenings and really, to make connections with people who we otherwise wouldn't meet - because of how 'our' societies are so spread out - Eilleens consumption blog for example... I'd never have 'met' her nor anyone on Nappycino - who some are now in-real-life friends, and who I've learnt so much from and provide me with answers on living simply, or healthier, or making my own things... We keep the net to order products that simply aren't available locally due to ... well whatever - organic toys, bamboo fabrics and the like.

So I guess we just simplfy as much as we can... grow our f&v, support the local f&v when we can't grow our own, maybe chooks and definately solar and rainwater and keep an eye on our consumption and consumerism, be watchful in what our children are exposed to and 'pay the cost' of daily travel to ensure a whole education for them, not just an academic one... and ultimately aim for our dream of a services-self sufficient block, where the neighbours are a few minutes walk away and perhaps people we know who share similar aims... so that we can work smarter not harder to make it possible for each of our families. Ya think?

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