I’ve noticed a trend in cable home and garden shows that feature people looking for new homes: people needing to move in order to “slow down” or “simplify their lives.” Really? It takes a move to accomplish that?
The typical story involves a couple leading self-described high-powered or pressured life, often because of their careers. Sometimes children are involved and the parents describe their “crazy schedules” and “too many activities.” The answer to their current lifestyle woes, they think, lies in moving somewhere else where they can slow down, enjoy family time, focus on what really matters, to use their phrases. Sometimes folks are even moving to a new country (or new continent!) in this quest for a slower lifestyle or simplified living.
I find these stories perplexing. If crazy schedules and highly pressured careers are the problem, is moving to Bora Bora really the answer? Aren’t there solutions to these challenges available in their own backyards? Granted, those solutions would be decidedly counter-cultural in our 21st century North American context. But those solutions don’t require one to adopt an Amish lifestyle or become a woodland hermit.
Those solutions—over which individuals can, and in my opinion, should exert control—simply start with saying ‘no’ and ‘yes.’ No to 60 hour work weeks. No to overly scheduled extracurricular activities. No to smart phones and tablets at the dinner table. Yes to family time. Yes to Sabbath experiences. Yes to walks in the park and games of wiffleball in the backyard.
So, what do you have to say ‘no’ to in order to say ‘yes’ to the life you want to lead? Do you really have to move half a continent away to make it happen?
Linda Post Bushkofsky, our executive director, tries to lead a Sabbath life in the not-so-exotic environs of Chicago.