I’ve been thinking about how totally off target our collective ideal of life style is. Ideals all across the board often lead to conflict, but what i am noticing intensely is success being monetary with a large side of unease and depression.
money by itself is not a problem. Often the job that you have to keep to maintain the big pay check is not one the deeper self feels good about. I was at a Saint Louis Bread shop the other day, not eating but waiting as Jamie looked up directions for food and a bus station. There was a young man lying fairly close on in a booth seat who I overheard say ‘i hate my life. I am 23 and i’m a professor yet i might as well have not pulled through. The best part about it all is that i can’t recall ever being sober during the tests.’
Lower paying jobs also destroy ones well being. From looking at the people i know retail work just really takes it out of you without any positive benefit besides the straight cash. So what we have is a system where ideally you could work and then help support a quality life with the amount of income earned. However, truly good and clean food (even organic isn’t as clean as one might want to think) is tough if not impossible to find unless you grow it yourself or live next to a gardener.
You could buy fancy glass-bottled mineral water or you could move somewhere with a safe spring. It is a nice idea that a person can work for some much time and have a tender note that will compensate what they expended in time and energy by being able to be traded for an item that they need. I was playing in Manhattan and an Asian couple had their 4-5 year old give me a nice tip. The kid say go buy yourself a coffee as she was instructed to do by her parents who were standing and watching some 30 feet away. Being the whatever that i sometimes am, i said that i didn’t drink coffee. That it made my heartbeat too fast and it was also expensive. Well, she glanced back at her parents and then addressed me again, saying, ‘just get something good for you to eat then.’
She was right, that is the best a person can do in a city or common American lifestyle. If you are not growing your own food, the next best thing is to be a conscious consumer and make better buying decisions. If you have money, you may be able to afford high quality restaurant food, but even those foods can be prepared unconsciously or without all of the ingredients being ones you feel good about. If you are in a certain mainstream lifestyle, and even if you are out of the system, the eternal backwards loop, money can be a benefit in that better quality of what is available can be attained. It does not, however, make truly fresh and industrial farming free foods available. It doesn’t make you faucet run with undisturbed water. It is a tough issue.
Many people see having a good life as a high end 9-5 with big bonuses and this idea prevails to the extent that those with the financial capabilities to live independently by buying their own land or supporting local food sellers just don’t. This is the American way and the American dream. But who is dreaming, and whose dream is it anyway?
As a student, i was asked to write about what i thought the American dream was in the current times. I don’t remember exactly what i said, but i know i said it was about climbing rungs of the ladder, the underdog climbing up against odds to support himself and his community. I personally am putting myself on the bottom step. Step one, food is life, need food to eat, man needs to work, so work and eat, but do it in a way that compliments your well being. This isn’t advice, i just mean to point out that many people think living with less money, low tech and less convenience is third world, and i attribute this to a warped view of what a quality lifestyle is.
The present view is pervasive. In fact it is working its way into other countries that originally adhere to a more natural lifestyle that are now trying to imitate what Americans are doing. Americans build their houses out of metal, they say, so you see pictures of houses made all out of tin roofing. The skeptic in me remembers what a history teacher spoke to me, that you just follow where the money leads to get a more accurate view of past events.
Anyway, i have been in the spot where i had no way to buy shoes, no money or means of acquiring healthy fresh veggies or fruits, often didn’t have a place to sleep that was proper. If more people were honest with themselves, i would say that more people would say the same. The only way i have had success with having higher quality ingredients for life is to make what you can by yourself or get it from someone close that you know. Go on a long walk and get the other ingredients from nature, not social circles.
May all people experience a few weeks of lush scenery and air filled with life instead of harsh, noisy vibrations.