Friday, April 2, 2010

My village just got a little bit smaller

I just found out a few days ago that my bestie is moving back to California after moving to DC since we both parted ways with Chicago almost two years ago. This fills me with the greatest joy! Ever since the first day we met in the 9th grade we have been inseparable. She sat behind me in English class. She had blue lipstick on. We both said "here!" when the teacher called roll for "Vanessa". It was all set from there. 

I have a bit of a theory that one of our problems as a society comes from the fact that we are so disconnected from all of the fundamental things about our lives. Our food sources, our family, our friends.... before planes, trains, and automobiles, all of these were within close range. For the majority of our life as a species, we have not really evolved to cope with living on the other side of the world from our closest loved ones. Granted, I love that I can fly to Thailand or Egypt or Peru and experience something so different from what I am used to.... but something great about being able to see your friends and family all the time - or something even as simple as knowing the farmer who grows your food, or the tree that made your coffee table- is lost in this crazy, massively global village we live in nowadays. It is both a blessing and a curse. 

Before she decided to move back, I was talking on the phone with her about how guilty I felt for wanting her here, but she really wanted to be here too (oh how we hated living here in high school, and oh how we realized how much we loved California once we moved away -classic). We have ingrained in us this notion that we have to be super independent, and grow up all on our own without the help or comfort of others... or else we are weak. That just doesn't seem entirely true to me. On a very basic animalistic level, that causes a lot of unnecessary stress to be separated from the pack. With so many options of places to live, we are used to the idea that we can disperse across the country, finding an ideal environment, or job. That is all fine and dandy, and the ability to choose that is fantastic. But I know that for me(and I think a lot of people), the benefits don't always outweigh the cons of being so disconnected from everything. I think a lot of our priorities are shuffled up. I know mine were. It's just hard to find that good balance between being independent, and knowing when it is ok to rely on others... being conscious of the decisions you make and why you make them. 

I like to romanticize the way humans used to live. Having a part in the food we eat, living within walking distance from work, friends, and family, being closer to nature, not worrying about all the problems of people on the other side of the world. It is a terribly romanticized view... full of horrendous ignorance and blatant lack of knowledge for how difficult life was "back in the day". It's easy to say life was "simpler then".... but I know it wasn't. There was a lot of sickness, lack of choices, life for women was terrible. I love living in this modern day. I love living it because we have choices. Unfortunately we have so many choices that I think the best ones are not the most obvious. Luckily, I can choose to take the good things from the way we lived in the past (being more connected to the things in everyday life - which instill a sense of purpose and responsibility), and mix them with benefits of the present day. I am just grappling lately with the idea that not every "advance" or "convenience" is beneficial in the long run.

Bah. I don't think I can quite explain the benefits and problems of modern day living in one little post. I sense myself simultaneously trying to connect my best friend living nearby, with my craving to be more involved in my community, my hate for the life wasted in commuting times, as well as my love for farmer's markets and the want I have been having lately to know where my food is grown. Waaaaaay too much to be combined in one post, even though they are all connected under the idea of forming a "local community". My point is, my best friend is moving back, and damn it, that makes me super duper happy, and I don't care if it seems codependent that we are happier when we can see each other all the time, it just feels better. Woohoo.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Vanessa, so many wise and lovely words--too many to comment on right now. But yes,we are a "tribal" race. The powers that be purposely broke up the clans and even the family unit as much as possible; "divide and conquer" to better control us. That is all about to change; however, we are standing at the precipice of a new age and it is about to be a very exciting time to be alive!!!!!!!