Like many couples, my partner and I like to think of our life together as a magic carpet ride. We float just above the earth and watch and experience a panoply of unfurling places, people, and adventures.
The Magic Carpet
That’s not to say we passively drift with the breeze and end up wherever we end up. In fact, we have the rudder and direct the flight path of that carpet with earnestness, as well as lightness.
It’s just our way of thinking about life with a sense of adventure. And it helps us keep perspective when misadventures and distressing events inevitably occur too.
So we’re not unique at all, then.
Right now the carpet is hovering over the meadows of asphodel. By that, I mean we have a heavenly life in a country village. We are two hours train ride from Sydney. We neither make nor need a lot of money. Yet we are veritably bathing in riches.
When you first move to the country —outside a metropolitan city — many people you leave behind think you’re having a tree change. And that a tree change is a sign of weakness. And that it won’t last. They don’t say it, because it would be rude. But that’s what they think.
They see the pursuit of a humble, quaint, frankly boring existence, with a backyard. Couldn’t cope with the city? Toss ambition to the wind and opt out of life. They might become just a little bit patronising.
People have interesting reactions. Bemusement. Disbelief. Puzzlement. Disappointment. Envy. Curiosity. Rejection.
What you are doing is confronting. It offends sensibilities. It’s a middle finger to the man and the hapless followers of the man. It defies the convention. Of work. Or pain. Of doing-what-we-have-always-done-because-that’s-what-we-have-always-done.
When you shine a light on dysfunction, it hurts the eyes a bit.
Here’s the thing. It’s not a Tree Change. It’s a Paradigm Shift.
Remember your valuables
It’s a move from ‘How much can I make?’ to “How little do I need?’
Your values, perhaps for the first time, become very clear. You see what is truly important: Your family. Your relationships. Contributing to your community. Eating well. Love. Maintaining your body in good condition. Allowing your spirit to frequently soar.
And these are kind of obvious things, are they not?
But when you’re busy, you forget them. They don’t really land with you. You know they’re the most important things in life in your head, but you don’t make any emotional connection with the truth of it. Until you get slow.
And then you are struck by how much certainty you have that these are by far the important things in life.
In late capitalism, we are kept very busy. Kids. Work. Shopping. Football. Culture. News. We don’t have time to think. We’re very active.
It’s a great gift to yourself to go slowly. Cut back to the basics. Go a bit Walden for a while. The benefits can’t be truly appreciated until you do it.
Have you gone a bit Walden? Tell me about it.