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Parenting: City Life Vs. Simple Life

by Danny Thomas November 12, 2014

By: Danny Thomas

A simpler life

On a daily basis,
at least once a day and sometimes
several times..
A horse and cart drives past my house.
It’s a family
And sometimes it’s a lone driver.
Sometimes they are heading in to town
And sometimes out….

This is new and novel for me
And my family
It’s exciting and interesting

Partly, because of it’s newness
But there is more…

On a fundamental level
Our family loves horses.
We all think they are beautiful, incredible animals
And I feel the relationship between people and horses is a fascinating representation of the symbiosis between man and the animal kingdom…

But that’s a different blog.

I also find myself pondering “the lives of the Amish…”
And all that is represented by the clip clop of hooves on pavement.
It’s a fairly stark contrast to the accouterments of our modern lives.
I project a lot on to that sound.

My reflex is to think of life without technology or electricity as the simple life.
And the following thought is to think about the changes we have already made to simplify our lives, some by choice, and some by virtue of our new, ruralish location.

We are in Mayberry, essentially.
This comes with so many benefits
And it comes with many simplifications.
Some of which, sometimes can feel like challenges of their own.

And we have chosen to give up the complications
That come with two parents working 50-70 hour weeks…
At least…
we are trying.

And yet…

The difference between our “simpler life”
And the life those hoof beats on the street represent to me

A life free of electricity
Free of iThings and DVRs and wii’s
A life free of broken washing machines and cars that need gas
Is not necessarily a simpler life.

What does that passing cart represent to me?
Partly it’s that simplicity
It seems to represent a deeper connection
To the earth…
To life and living…

It seems to represent a less abstract life.

That minimalism makes pulling my food out of a box or a package seem so abstract and disconnected.

It makes sliding a card in a machine to pay for the gas that powers my car seem so odd and disengaged.

I idealize a life where I am more connected to the lives that power my locomotion
And the food that feeds my family…


And this may be obvious to all of you
But it was kind of a revelation for me,

While the trappings may be different
In reality
Every life has it’s complications…

It’s a perception.

I am projecting a fantasy of a “simpler life” on to that passing horse and cart.

Given my personality…
If I dropped out…
Became an urban farmer
Or took my family off the grid
Mosquito Coast style,

I’d still be awake at 1:00am worrying about crops or food
Or the rain rot on the horse’s hindquarters
Or how to fix a cart’s wheel
Or about my parenting choices
Or about the ways I had let my wife, or kids, or mother, or any number of people down that day.
That’s probably just me… just who I am.

The reality is…
I’d still wake up some mornings
At 5:54
11 minutes before the rooster crows
with a tightness in my chest…

A tension
born of the pressure
of things to do…
mouths to feed,
rooted in uncertainty and doubt.

And I would still have to make a choice
Every morning
To try and live in light
To find my confidence
And move forward
To take risks and make choices
And to do the work of life.

The post Parenting: City Life Vs. Simple Life appeared first on The Next Family.

Danny Thomas
Danny Thomas


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