Of course for this blog to make any real sense, you would have had to know me before I moved off the grid. Consider that missed experience a blessing…..
It is obvious that I am now 15+ years older…… but, in that vein, I am stronger for my age than many……much healthier than I would have been had I remained on the martini circuit and watched TV. I am still stiffening up like the elderly do, but I think this lifestyle keeps me more flexible than I might have been – hard to say when you are only as supple as a firehydrant. Mind you, I still move Shrek-like across irregular surfaces and I still do awkward jobs – albeit poorly. I confess that Sally’s regular yoga is something I count on now…..for doing some of the chores I used to do.
Attitudinally, I am slightly easier-going. Still grouchy and impatient but now I avoid most human interactions and forgive more of the infractions of those I encounter. So, technically, I am easier-going on an incidence-counted basis. Being late, for instance, is not such a big deal to me anymore (for THEM. For me, I am still just as obsessive about being on-time). I am even somewhat pleasant to BC ferry workers who previously held very low status but, because of the ‘humanity’ of our local crew, are now much better tolerated. I am just a smidge better, actually. It is still tolerance, after all. LOCAL tolerance. And that’s still a precarious relationship, too.
Philosophically, I am both happier and more depressed. I see clearly that ‘central’, rich nincompoops affect my life through a systemic commitment to greed and power and a panapoly of stupid and primitive belief systems. On the other hand, that has always been so and at least I am further away.
Sal and I agree: we are NOT FAR ENOUGH!!
Spiritually, I am good. Basically at peace with myself…..well, relatively speaking, anyway. I still get antsy. Wanna do stuff. Different stuff. Always wanna do different stuff. I used to want to travel ’cause of the different stuff. Now? Not so much. Maybe it’s just age….. I am not so inclined to ‘travel’ these days. Plus a lot of the different stuff is NOT SO different anymore. McDonald’s in China? Part of it, too, is that I just like ‘here’ so much that I am happy ‘staying’.
Probably my biggest personal change is spending more time in the present. This is now much more a life spent not ‘in my head’. Of course, there is thinking and planning and all sorts of ruminations but, for the most part, one can step out into nature and do some physical thing and enjoy and benefit from the ‘present moment’ of it all. The best part? The ‘present moment’ can last a few hours.
I built a frame for a cement casting the other day. Screwed it up all along the way, changed it, fixed it, did it again. Finally got it close-enough to be ‘right’. Simple, basic, rustic, poorly executed carpentry project. Took me three hours! But the time flew. It just went by so nicely. Weather was good. Sal was in the garden. Boats went by. Ravens sitting nearby commenting occasionally on my work. Next thing you know……..it’s late afternoon…….I heard a bottle of wine calling my name….
“Oh, Dave, you are just getting old!”
I think you are right about that but, it is clear to me that my ‘getting old’ out here is a lot different from the path to getting old in the city. To put a pathetically sad story to that: a friend of a friend is moving back east to move into an old-folks extended care facility. She is a bit older than me at 72/73. She is ambulatory. I guess she has a few ailments….but the main reason she is moving there is because she is lonely and has nothing to do in the city. She is just existing, not living. In her 70’s, she is done…….
And that is just not me. NOT Sal either. I doubt that it will ever be me or Sal. Maybe if we reach 100. Even then – NOT Sal!
In the meantime, we have too much to do.