Thursday, September 29, 2022

Was it a Misspent Youth?

 Slow Living Because We Went Too Far

It wasn't that long ago when all the elements of "slow living" were just a way of being. I wrote half of my Master's Thesis on a typewriter. Hardly anyone had a home computer. Therefore, I wrote the other half on a Macintosh 128k that sat in a computer lab on the 6th floor of the Sterling C. Evans Library at Texas A&M University. I then printed it to a spooled printer where I waited my turn for my papers.

Today, many students would lose their mind if they, one, had to print a thesis rather than share it via a google doc, and two, wait as much as 30 minutes for it to print. Kids would throw themselves off the 6th floor, in 2022, if they found a typo after all of that waiting. Because you know what? You had to go back to your reserved little Mac, put your floppy disc back in it, find the error, correct it, and wait another 30 minutes for your paper. No biggie to my generation. Life wasn't compressed into a blur like it often is today.

I found some old photos from those grad school days. If the above picture wasn't so faded, you might mistake the woman in the top right corner for an Instagram influencer. Flat hat, high waisted shorts, cropped blouse and trendy bag. Nopers. This is the Kerrville Folk Festival, May 1990. I'm sad that my jesus cruiser sandals haven't made a comeback. 

There's still time.

It's Hard to Live Fast in the Country

It's no secret that I love being at the cabin. I think I've pretty much outgrown the city. I need to slow down. Stop looking at computer screens and phones. Sit with myself and enjoy the natural world around me. Relax and feel a breeze. Take walks or bike rides. 

I have been spending more time at our country place. Caveat: technology allows me to work from there, so I am glad for that. 

I've already weened off my Netflix addiction. I really don't care when workmates talk about the latest streaming sensations. In this way, I've reverted to a youthful state of being. No television. I just had no interest when I was in my twenties. I lived for great literature, theater and music. I spent much of my time hanging out with musician friends, writing songs, singing harmonies, connecting to our common humanity.

How did that way of life drift away? It was not a misspent youth. I had a rich life. I think it's easy to put on the blinders of the times and to forget who we are at our very core. The core is eternal. 

The Economy is Nature's Henchman

We're killing this planet. We're killing ourselves. We would go and go and go until something bigger than us makes it impossible to move. Covid was the spark. War is the fuel. So are worker and supply chain shortages. The world economy is in a freefall, it seems. Nature has been waiting for us to pay attention.

A month ago, I was excited about building a proper house in Carmine. Then the housing market was forced to correct itself as interest rates began to rise. We had to pause and figure out what to do that wouldn't be a foolish move. I tend to move at the speed of light. I think 10 years of technology work has frozen my cruise control at 100 mph. Therefore, when  the move I am completely ready to make gets stalled, I get into a serious existential crisis. 

I can either turn bitter and depressed, or I can slow down and find that slower pace in the now. I'm no master of the now, but hot diggity, I'm trying. I mean, look at me! I'm making my first blog entry in a year! I am taking the time to write. I love to write. I am not out spending money in an uncertain economy. No "meh" movie tickets. No fall shopping. Way less eating out. More time getting lost in my own thoughts. More time cooking. More time re-evaluating my today self against my student self. That grad student had a lot going for her. She knew how to relax, get outside and get dirty, connect with people, and by that, fully engage with her world. 

Thanks for engaging with my two dimensional format called a blog. Please walk away from it and give a nod to the planet you live on. It's full of natural beauty and some pretty cool people who never look at Instagram. 

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