We both dove back inside the shed door, shivering and laughing. Leaving the frosty air behind, we were met by a wall of warmth. Together, we scrambled for the bed, burrowed under the covers and snuggled close. We weren’t truly cold. While we were chilled on the outside, our insides were glowing warm. It didn’t take long for us to regain the heat we’d lost, and the drowsiness of sleep quickly came over us once again.
That is what comes of living without indoor plumbing.
My man and I were talking the next morning. How can it be that leading a “difficult lifestyle” makes us feel…more fully alive?
Why is invigorating to make a mad dash to the outhouse (or bushes) in the middle of a cold night?
What is it about living without internet that makes us feel…more connected? To each other and to life around us?
How can it be that waiting and working to reach a goal is far more rewarding than getting it at exactly the moment you want it?
Even the traditional lifestyle we chose to live seems… ridiculous. Why wrestle with the land to raise our own food when it’s so easily purchased from our local grocery store?
Are we crazy?!
As North Americans, we often fall for the idea that a rich, fulfilling lifestyle comes with comforts. Luxury is the answer. Once we have our heart’s desires, we’ll feel alive.
With this, we shall be content.
Except it seems no one is content. Sometimes, it seems the more “luxury” we pile on, the less alive we feel. Sometimes, it seems that as our comforts climb, so does our depression, irritation and greed. Sometimes, it seems like luxury lulls us to sleep. It numbs our souls and slowly, the life within us dies.
I grew up in a world (primarily) untouched by technology. Unless a bit of radio qualifies! No internet. No cell phones. And no TV. Even the home phone in my parent’s farm house was on a party line until the late 90’s.
Wild child? Maybe! But there was something wholesome about it.
When you interacted with someone, you had their full attention. There were no bells or whistles calling their name in the middle of your conversation.
If you had a question about something, you asked people (instead of google) and searched until you found the answer.
Relaxation (or down time) meant playing music, reading, games or doing something creative with your hands. Not staring at a screen for several hours.
When you wanted something, you had to work for it.
As a kid, my brothers and I desperately wanted horses. We had an agreement with our parents: if we (on our own free time) would build the corrals/stalls necessary, put up the hay every season and give our dad the first foal as payment, we’d be allowed to adopt BLM mustangs. We agreed and went at it together. And today, that experience is still one of the major highlights of our lives.
If having everything at your fingertips is supposed to lead to a good life, then why is it I feel more fully alive when I don’t have that luxury?
Why is it that I feel more fully alive when my life isn’t sheltered from every discomfort? When it isn’t safe? When I have to work to get what I want or need? When I have to learn to wait? When I have something to apply myself to?
To be alive. That’s what I want for my life. That’s what we want for our home. And that’s what we’re pursuing.