Today, I got out with a group of friends to start a fire.
The plan originally was for me to chase some morning light and watch the sunrise for photography but ended up a group hang out by my new favorite spot on the river. It’s slightly secluded, with a nearby white water area that offers superb background noise while chatting about any and all things.
One idea brought up was living, as it inevitably comes along in our conversations. The idea was not the meaning of life or life’s purpose but how we should live.
The questions asked were things like big home or apartment? Farm or city? Material wealth or emotional? In essence, the conversation prompted the question of how best to live in the place and manner one has the opportunity to live in?
As young adults, we have our entire future ahead of us and are free to choose for ourselves where that future leads. I have only the vaguest idea of mine.
If we are speaking only on a dream life, I would live in the mountains near a little mountain town with my quaint simple cabin and small plot of farm land. The nearby barn would house an assortment of animals that would provide for me the purest and most directly farmed produce that I could get. Hopefully I am a writer. And make decent money writing and ruminating on my experiences. While at the same time my living expenses are minimal enough that the little I make covers my lifestyle.
That dream of mine is simply alluring. With everything that goes on in this world at the same times, sometimes it seems as if slowing down and slow living is the answer to the chaotic world of money and politics. I can feel the threat of debt and labor slowly creeping into my life as I get ever closer to attending college and assuming an occupation that will become my cultural identity for years into the future.
A janitor does not have the same public response as a doctor, and in that sense, choosing an occupation is also choosing an image to live by.
So today, sitting fireside by the river in the sun, I can’t help but notice how life grows longer as it’s spent doing slower things. These simple moments with friends are not experiences reserved for the young but only less common experiences performed by the adults.
Why is that? Why, when we grow up must we be sucked into the rat race of existence and not have the time of day to wake up early and relax? Why is it that we must force ourselves into discontent and unfulfillment in order to live? Because from where I stand, that is not living. To grow is to live. To stagnate is to die.
My view of the dream life is not fancy cars and steak dinners and mansions. It’s almost against the American dream. My dream future is one of fulfillment and simplicity. Where I can live in peace and harmony with my soul and come to find that when I die, I lived not for tomorrow, but for today.
Today, I started a fire, riverside; and talked on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Today, I lived the OutLife.