Tonight, while sitting at a food court in a Twin Cities mall, while bags of merchandise bounced hurriedly by, possessively toted by the American Dreamer after a hard day's work, I caught a glimpse into a simpler life.
One of my Spanish tutees was using his laptop to show me photos of his trip to Paraguay. His 30-year-old nephew lives there, in a tiny room which used to be used for storage. He is a street musician and a friend to many. He has no kitchen, so each day he heads out to the local market and buys fresh food to eat. Whenever he has leftovers he gives them to other people or to a dog who lives in the neighborhood. He lives day-to-day, has lots of artist friends and acquaintances who seem to be passionate about environmentalism, and at the moment he has no plans to move on to what some may consider to be "greener pastures."
What do you make of this?
In some ways, it sounds like heaven to me. Yet there is another part of me who knows I'd miss computers and TVs, couches and a refrigerator and pantry........... the list could go on. But I'd still love to spend a year in his shoes.
It would be a bit impractical to choose this sort of life with a family in tow. So instead I dream of an existence which is sort of half-way there, with an energy efficient adobe style home and buying locally-grown food as well as having a year-round garden of my own. An income that comes from our own business, which either doesn't feel like work or it takes up only 25 hours a week, or both. Days well spent, with time for meditation, exercise, laughter, conversation, and good food.
A simpler life. That seems to be a strong theme these days, what with economic crises, wars, global warming, and pursuits of more fulfillment from life. What do you think? I think there's a change brewing in the air.