It is 9:30 in the morning and I’m contemplating another cup of coffee. I made a delicious Cafe Bustello espresso so it might not be the wisest decision. I want to be awake, not nervous.
The children and I are watching an old Godzilla movie; Godzilla vs. Mothra. I love the Godzilla movies. They are classic, been around since the 1950’s, and there is always a message about the Earth.
Later in the day I hang a huge bucket of laundry and realize that this chore I sometimes avoid because it’s unpleasant, is fast becoming my favorite time when I can be alone.
I roll out tortillas for our homemade veggie burger tacos and then Arjan and I watch some videos on YouTube called Paolo In Tokyo. He does day in the life videos about moms and workers in Japan. We love watching day in the life videos about people in other countries. Arjan and I are particularly fascinated with Asian countries, especially Japan. It is the cheapest way to travel. Street Food on Netflix is another fun thing to watch.
When dad gets home he brings in a bag full of library books we ordered last week. I’m thrilled because I ordered Little House On The Prairie. I haven’t read Laura Ingalls Wilder since I was a child. I had read and owned every single one of her books growing up. I must have reread them 10 times over.
It is an interesting time for me. I’m going back to simpler times and the pleasant parts of my childhood. My childhood was very unhappy, however, there were small gifts there. Reading was something I loved to do and Laura Ingalls Wilder was a comfort to me in a difficult childhood. That and Greek Mythology. I had taken up the Gods and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, which Sam has wanted me to read to him lately.
There was a time I have talked of often in my old blogs, but now that the old blogs are gone I will recant them here once more. It was when Bali and I moved to a fruit farm on the Delta. We lived in a large Ranch house with only two other homes on 600 acres of pear trees. There was an enormous olive tree in our backyard that I would sit under and read stacks of Amish Fiction while my boys, then just babies, would play in our yard.
It was very quiet out there with just the sounds of thick bird song in the morning and tractors making their way down the levee road in the summer, sounds of harvesting in the Fall. At night we would hear the coyotes hunting and calling to each other. We woke with the sun rise and went to bed when the sun went down. We followed the seasons.
I made a lot of casseroles back then, hung my laundry out on a very long, old clothes line that had been there since the 40’s. There were varieties of other fruit trees that the ranch hands had planted back in that time when everyone had fruit trees and gardens in their yards. We had mandarins, plums, lemons, oranges, an apple tree, hundreds of pear trees, a persimmon tree. For the first time in all my years I learned what fruits were ripe in what season.
Back then I read a lot of books to myself and the boys. I did household chores, cooked, picked fruit. I wasn’t on the phone, I didn’t socialize because we had moved far from our coastal community and we were a bit isolated. I don’t recall spending much time on the computer at all. I detested Facebook and I didn’t know much about YouTube.
I was present in my days and it was old fashioned living.
I missed the ocean and forest deeply, but I was not lonely or depressed. Just homesick, which couldn’t be helped.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on that time and having a strong desire to get back to it. We have the forest again and I’m no longer homesick…well, maybe a little for the ocean. It has taken years, a few moves, hard work, and saving intensely to get here.
And we are here now and I had to assess things. Did I need to keep working so hard? Could I slow down and just enjoy my housework and children again and not drive myself? Did I have an addiction to work? An addiction to being on the computer and social media? Yes, I was a bit addicted. And I had enjoyed it for years until I didn’t any longer.
We all have these times. Sometimes working hard is necessary to build a business or reach a goal. We can immerse ourselves in work and love it. It can be fun to educate ourselves, set goals and push ourselves to grow and succeed.
But then we hit the wall and burn out. That is when we leave it and go back to simple life. I think many people these days are beyond burnt out but they keep going and pushing themselves. Even homemakers these days try to have careers at home with YouTube or blogging and it gets out of control fast.
But then we slow down and at first it’s a relief and we sleep and rest…then we become restless again. Why is this? Because as humans we are driven to survive and thrive. We used to be hunters and gatherers. We spent all day in nature foraging and finding food for the tribe. Then we were farmers. We worked outside and followed the seasons. We were in the fields and nature. Now we work in cubicles under fluorescent lights and are surrounded by pavement. We wake by an alarm clock in the dark and work unnatural hours. We shop in large stores pushing carts. Everything we do is unnatural.
I think if we find ways to bring in some of that old fashioned work and ways, even to city living, we can find some balance and peace. We can live in the city hustle and bustle but choose to shop at the farmers market outdoors. We can container garden on the patio. Can our own jam in the little kitchens, bake bread, hang the laundry on a rack, cook from scratch. We can thrive where ever we are but being out and about is so good for us. Some love the city hustle, some crave the forest or ocean. Just get out.
We walk to everything and everywhere now. I find that when I take the kids out to walk for hours we are happy. Last night, Sam and I walked to town to have some ice cream at the local candy and ice cream shop. We held hands and talked all the way there. All the shops have seating outside so we sit on Main Street with other families and it’s very European as we all have dinner or gelato. Sam and I enjoyed our delights and talked with other children. On the way home we stopped at Safeway and did some shopping. We walked home, talking, laughing, and met more neighbors on nearby streets.
Cities are making greener cities and planting more trees. I think that is wonderful. We need to protect more and more lands and sprawl out less. We can create beauty in cities, in our homes. We can choose to slow down and create a life we love. It really is in our control. Some will say they are stuck, they have no choice and I say that is all in their mind. If you really want change you will find a way.
It does take time to detox and unlearn all the bad habits we have these days, but it’s so worth it in the end.