I’ve wondered sometimes if there might be some congruency between living a Paleo life and living a minimalist life. Both are essentially about rejecting the lives Western society would have us live in favour of something simpler, more in tune with a time our parents or grandparents might recognize. A life where the pursuit of more wealth to acquire more things allows us to make some of the poorest decisions of a generation.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not some Luddite who wants to reject modernity as a whole and go out into the woods with my family. I like my technology, my centrally heated house, and my truck; thank you very much. I’m sure you might feel the same way as well. What I do think however is that the society we have brought ourselves to is on the edge of almost being . . . farcical . . . in its scope and intent. A society that only seems self-sustainable when we drive a lot, eat a lot, buy a lot, and consume so conspicuously that the 80s pale in comparison. It used to be mass consumption was a practice reserved for the upper economic classes but now we can all do it with the right credit line.
Hmmm . . . what exactly am I trying to say here?
I think there’s a common thread, a unifying theory, that can lead us to the simplified life I think we all really want to live. I think that common thread starts when we stay out of the centre aisles of the supermarket and take back the time our mothers and fathers took to make the meals we ate as children. I think that common thread starts when we reject the notion that no, we don’t need the latest and great thing we’re made to believe we should have. I think that common thread starts when we realize much of the pressure, agony, and angst we feel every day is visited upon us by ourselves participating in an unwinnable race we’re made to believe we have to participate in for our own good.
I think we need to start pulling that thread and see where it leads in each of our lives with honesty, grace, and humility. It might mean spending more time with your family than your iPhone. It might mean realizing that the only person that notices you work 18 hour days is you. It might mean having the wherewithall to take back your time and your life for the pursuits that really interest you, really intrigue you, but have no monetary value. It might mean making your supper instead of taking it out of the freezer. It might mean realizing all of this stress isn’t really real; no bear is going to eat you, you will survive even what you most fear.
I’m sure there’s a starting point for you too and I bet you could identify it without really trying. I think it’s a fair assumption that most people in Western society know there’s something wrong with all of this without really being able to describe it. Pick that one thing that stands out in your mind and start from there. Start from that common thread and pull it. Let it lead you to where you want to go. We all have the capacity to really lead the lives we want to lead but we first have to start ourselves on the journey. And I’ll be honest with you, that journey won’t be easy. Do you know how hard it’s been to try to reject a lifetime of eating habits and try to simplify my life in the last year? Hard enough that I still struggle with it every day. I’ll probably struggle with it most of my life. I hope not but at least now I’m prepared to do it.
What’s the one thing you would change about yourself today if you could? Why not make that change today? What’s stopping you from moving towards the life you want instead of the life you have? Start pulling on that thread and see where it leads. You might be pleased with the results.