Rosy, me and The Girl facing a stiff on-shore breeze.
Photo by Posy
We have just spent three days at the beach with no internet. I read three novels, we all slept a lot, and played stupid games, like sports trivia quiz, which was very funny because none of us knows the first thing about sport. We watched a movie. We lay on the beach and read, clambered over rocks, lay in bed and listened to the rain. The girls all went swimming in the freezing cold ocean and I... minded the towels.
Earlier this week the deep-thinking and adventurous suburban homesteader Wendy wrote about The Riot for Austerity challenge I set for myself, and called it The Quiet Riot. I like that. Here we are in the suburbs, a little quiet family, beavering away at reducing our consumption to help make it possible for us all to have a quietly fulfilling life on this little blue-green jewel of a planet into the future. And all over the cities and the suburbs and in the countryside all over the world other families are doing the same. And together our quiet rioting may chip away at the huge monolith of consumerism. Of course, it may make only the tiniest little dint in the bottom left-hand corner. But if you are going to topple a monolith, you have to start somewhere.
One of the reasons I want to do this is because when people say that it is impossible to live with less I want to be able to put up my hand and say, "Um, actually it isn't. See?"
Another reason is to become both more dependent and independent and creative. Limits force us to be creative, to try new things, to think our way around problems, to ask around, to rely on our communities, to learn how to make, mend and reuse and look at life in new and different ways.
And yet another reason is that I want to have a stab at not being a 21st century-living-in-a-bubble-of-privilege softie. You see I am generally the person who chooses not to swim in the freezing cold water, or go out in the rain, or stretch myself to my physical limits. I love my creature comforts, as most of us do. But that's really not how our minds and bodies want us to live. We most of us need a bit of a challenge, and this seems as good a way as any to get me out of my high-speed, highway armchair or out from under the hot shower and away from all that tempting fake food that comes wrapped in a packet.. We only have one short life. We might as well do something interesting with it.
And as Wendy pointed out in her Quiet Riot post, consuming less is just more thrifty. My ultimate aim is to work less and spend more time growing strawberries.
So, after driving just over an hour each way to the beach and back, now we will be having a bit of a driving fast for the next few days while we stretch our legs and walk our way through our lists of things to do. And next, I will be tackling the dreaded electricity bill... come and help me quietly riot away at making the next bill the lowest yet.