simpler than we want to be

I used to follow a number of survivalist websites.

I guess it’s kind of like saying I used to weigh 600 lbs….or was a longtime crack addict…or stole cars for a living or was a suburban pimp.  It’s a surprising revelation for someone who supposedly is trying to live with a more positive way of looking at the world. Being focused on what is falling down in the world doesn’t help you figure out how to stand up.

Old habits die hard, though.  Last night they featured a story about the documentation of the melting polar ice…juxtaposed with pictures of the flooding in the northeast and other corresponding natural disasters.  I got the impression that they were saying that things were happening faster than they thought…that the ocean was going to rise and the ice was going to disappear.  Cataclysm and disaster…and there was nothing we could do about it. I was riveted to the screen…”SEE!!! SEE!!”, I was thinking to no one.

Powerlessness sucks stinks.

The thing about all those survivalist websites is that after a while you realize that there is always something “that might happen” that these guys can write about.  Paranoia is easily encouraged.  Until it’s proven otherwise, the zombies are coming to get me and coming to get me soon.  I read it in a blog.

But…we have the wonderful privilege now of making the choice to live a simple lifestyle.

Climate change is a pretty heavily politicized issue.  That the environment could be argued about as heatedly (no pun intended) as it is seems pretty crazy.  When I’m burning in the fire, I don’t give a flip who lit it or if someone else tells me it’s not  a real fire…I just know that it hurts.  It doesn’t seem to do any good to obsess over climate change…but some of these people act like it’s not happening at all, and that bothers me.

So…back to the choice of choosing a simple lifestyle.

It’s a necessary and seemingly easy choice to want to lighten our impact on the earth.  It’s doable and teachable…and makes an impact on our family and the world around us that can be seen immediately. What a luxury it is to be able to choose to live a simple lifestyle.  Some of the things that we champion as “simple living icons” would , unfortunately, be pushed to the back of the shelf if there was an easy alternative.  My father talked about how much he liked “store-bought” bread after a lifetime of homemade…liked the texture, etc.  I don’t think it’s debatable which of the two breads would be the “simple” choice…but he really enjoyed the store-bought. Everything hard looks better if you aren’t “kneading the dough”…my grandmother probably liked the store-bought bread every once in a while, too.

I guess that what I’m trying to say in an imprecise way is that we have the ability to choose any kind of lifestyle right now. Our choices aren’t made for us by political or environmental factors…we get to choose. That’s pretty amazing.  To a degree, we really do get to shape our world to make it what we want it to be.  If I were to stay invested in the survivalist mindset, though, I’d say that the great reckoning was coming…somehow it was going to come…and that pretty soon things were going to be a lot simpler than we want them to be.  We don’t control the future…we do control our choices.  One of our important choices is to approach things with the knowledge that we need to be aware of the need to feel gratitude for the chance to choose.  People would be right in saying that economics makes our choices for us in a lot of cases….and it often does define what we can do…but for the most part we really are able to choose.

Coming off the flu…rambling more than usual…trying to say in a blog post about simple living something that could be said more simply in two lines–that it’s good to have choices…and that I hope the choices aren’t taken away when the floodwaters start to rise.


About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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