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Archive for the ‘Rush Rush Rush!’ Category

5. Slower pace of life

The good old days? So totally good! There were days while we were out in B.C. where our to-do lists looked something like this:

Work, take care of basic needs (food, bathroom, sleep, love, etc.)

And that was it. Other days our lists had shopping on them (usually non work days since the walk to town was up to 30 minutes) or laundry or finding a new orchard to work at (once all the fruit was picked at the current orchard).

Definitely not stressful.

Why is it, and I know I’m not being original here, that with all of our “time saving” devices and technologies we don’t have any free time? Seriously, we have less leisure time than the serfs way-back-when did.

And guess what? I really was happier at the time. So much nicer than the to-do list being all:

Work, go grocery shopping, wash dishes, cook, wash dishes, do laundry, read chapter 14, de-clutter one desk drawer, spend time with SO, check facebook, write blog post, work on cross stitch, learn how to knit socks…

And the sad thing is? Both lists are “days.”  Typical days at that. And I cut out a lot on the long day.

I’ve made a list of all of the categories in my life, and ways to decrease how much time I spend in most of them, and how many things I have to do overall. Because, honestly, the simple life is addicting. You can’t go back to stress once you’ve tried it!

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When I was in high school, I had a shrink trying to analyze me and whatnot… and he asked me a question that really stuck with me through all these years. We were talking about how strict I am about adhering to schedules and he asked, “If I had called in sick today and your appointment had been canceled, how would you have reacted?”

And I thought about it for a minute and answered, “It would have ruined my day.” And it would have. Not because I was particularly desperate to see him, but because it would have thrown off my schedule.

Over the last couple of years I’ve gotten quite a bit more… spontaneous. Easy going. More able to roll with the punches.

All that being said, I was only mildly surprised to find myself walking, after class and unexpectedly, to a hill overlooking downtown for Earth Hour.

I am, to say the least, ashamed at how many lights where still on in the cityscape I could see.

Shame. Shame. Shame. Or something.

In all fairness it wasn’t very well promoted. I almost didn’t hear about it. Not that I don’t live under a rock, ’cause I so totally do, but still. The lack of turn out (off?) for Earth Hour is not the point of this post though. Read on!

As a society, we are so dependent on electricity that leaving the lights off for an hour is actually an event. An event! I was sitting with a friend, after we gave up watching downtown, in candle light and it was so… odd. It had romantic connotations. It brought some sort of natural disaster feel to the room too.

Think of the last time you did something by candle light. Either you were trying to set the mood, doing something religious/spiritual or were unable to turn the electric lights on. No, I’m not stalking you. Promise.

Our use of electricity stems from our need to run such odd hours — off of the sun’s time. I’m sure many of you have heard how there “aren’t enough hours in the day” and other cliched sayings to that effect. And it’s true in these times. I read it over at Get Rich Slowly. I can’t find the specific post right now (darn my lack of ‘google-fu’ … is it even still google-fu when you’re not searching in google?) but it was an interesting number about how we work longer hours, on average, than any culture before us.

To make the hours in the day we start burning midnight oil — or, much more likely, keeping the office or home lights on just a little bit later. It’s screwing with our sleep schedules (we’re so sleep deprived, as a society, that the number of car accidents SPIKES when we miss out on one hour of sleep due to daylight savings time). It’s alienating us from everyone: family, friends, neighbourhoods; Most people know their coworkers or classmates much better than they know their next door neighbours. It’s causing a host of stress related health problems in the population at large. It’s directly taking the time from us to do things for ourselves (grow food, slow clothing, etc.) which has resulted in a society completely dependent on corporations to fill their most basic needs.

We will need to make a lot of changes to adapt to a world without cheap oil and to minimize the human-caused aspects of climate change. Some will be easy, some will be difficult. Think of it this way: if the ability to have the lights on until midnight, three or five am is eliminated, and more people have to do things for themselves, the long work week should crumble into a faded memory. That’s got to be a positive thing. Unless you’re a workaholic, but I’m sure you could still find something to keep you busy, if you are.

(Why yes, I am procrastinating finishing my post on biofuels, why do you ask?)

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