I recently heard about a story telling event nearby. The theme was Rural Life in Vermont. It made me pause, consider: if I had an audience in front of me, what kind of story would I tell?
Awhile back I set out toward what interested me. You could say that by today's standards, I set out to be a failure, because attached to that idea was no intention to make money. In other words, to most people, my future had no future in it.
As time has passed I haven't always felt like I chose the right way forward. And there have been moments, that have become funny over time, where people challenge and judge my way of life. And yet despite the hard times and so on, I never felt like I've chosen the wrong route—on the good days.
There were moments when I could have been this or that—for example, a magazine photographer. But when I was taking photos of people doing interesting things, and writing profiles about them, I realized that it was actually I who wanted to live that interesting life. I didn't want to be someone who documented it, I wanted my own way.
And what I've realized is that living a truly interesting life isn't usually paid for. What I mean is, the back and forth commute and static routine most people have, I would say, is not interesting to me. And yet so many people I've met tend to think, and demand of others, that it's the only way. If it works for them, that's fine. But to demand others live the way you do because you think it's the best way, makes no sense at all. It says more about who you are than anyone else really. To be honest, this kind of policing and judgement makes me sick.
For one reason or another attention to basic things has always been interesting to me. I remember being very small, just a child, and having one toy I cherished above all. For a while it was a tiny grey fighter jet no longer then the first joint of my finger. And then it was a black plastic goat. Now I find myself interested in the details of life. Where do I hang the kitchen towel so it stops being in the way, yet is easily reachable? How do I make efficient use of this single room I live in with another person? How do I maintain and lovingly take care of my axe and knives? My body? My relationships? How much do I really need to be content?
I was lucky in that I found out about a philosophy when I was just 19 that talked a lot about contentment, and what it required. Turns out it can require very little, to be content. As for me, I've found challenges that I overcome to be the most satisfying type of possessions. Who I become through growth and change, is all I really have. And to be clear, I don't even have that, in the end.
The route I've chosen has made up a meaningful life so far, if only for myself. And while I may not have much security, or own a home, and I share a car with my partner, I feel healthy overall.
I had this idea recently that the entire point of my life is good health. If my health is good, it means everything else is going well, right? At least, that makes sense to me.