In this day and age of smart phones, social media, kids activity calendars, traffic jams, shopping malls, housework, and homework, people are screaming for a return to simple life! When did everything become so busy? And in the busy-ness, we have lost touch with our roots. We no longer know how to do “real things.” Think back to your mother’s generation. Could she make a pie from scratch? Did she know the value of peppermint to soothe a tummy ache? Think back to her mother’s generation. Did they grow vegetable gardens or harvest fresh herbs? Did they gather fresh eggs from the chicken coop? Your great grandmother’s generation- did they make their own soap? Did they sew their own clothes? Weave their own cloth?
It astounds me how, even with the glut of information at our fingertips, we are utterly unable to DO anything our ancestors could do. We no longer know the things our great grandmothers knew. Even our grandmothers. Oh, heck. Let’s face it. We don’t even know the stuff our mothers taught us. Because we haven’t needed it. Why make chicken stock when we can buy it pre-made at the store? Why learn a pie recipe when Marie Calendars can save me so much time?
I believe, as a society, we are yearning to turn back the clock. Or at least stop time from marching ruthlessly forward, leaving us in the wake of an ever-modernizing world. We want to know what our ancestors knew. We want to understand life the way they understood it. We want to do things for ourselves. Under the surface, we feel a growing uneasiness about our total dependence on goods and services that we, ourselves can not possibly produce. Worse, they are goods and services we can not live without. We know that if the lights should go out for just a tad too long, we would be utterly helpless and unable to fend for ourselves.
OK, OK, I’m scaring you. If you think this blog is about prepping for the apocalypse, it’s not. I have a LONG way to go before I could even think of living like that! But I do understand the importance of digging up KNOWLEDGE that has been lost over generations. How to darn a sock instead of throwing it away when my son’s toe pops through. How to plant a vegetable garden to ensure a fruitful harvest. How to pop popcorn WITHOUT a microwave, even better if it’s garden-grown corn!
What I’ve discovered, FAR too late in life, is that a return to the simple things takes time. And effort. And it absolutely does not happen in one leap. Oh sure, some people will cash in their IRAs and move to Tahiti, don a pair of flip flops and open a tiki- bar on the beach. And that’s GREAT!!! The rest of us can only dream of living so free.
What we can do, is learn to focus on the LITTLE things that add value to our lives. And so many of those little things come from “ancient knowledge,” nuggets of wisdom that have been lost in the technological onslaught.
For example, we know we should eat better. But what does that mean? Do we run to
Whole Paycheck Whole Foods and spend our entire salary on artisan goat cheeses and organic, gluten free pop tarts? Certainly not! We must learn how to achieve balance in our diet without burning a hole in our wallet OR getting a phD in label-reading. Didn’t our mothers know how to stretch a dollar while keeping the family nutritiously fed?
Somewhere deep down, we are uncomfortable smearing Pine-Sol on a floor that the baby will immediately crawl over. After all, we wouldn’t let her play in a puddle of Pine-Sol. In fact, we go to great lengths to keep the Pine-Sol tightly locked away from her curious hands. Yet we allow her healthy, pink baby skin to roll all over our chemical- saturated hardwoods. Why? What would our Grandmothers think?
And at the end of the day, we are aching and exhausted, ready to pop an Advil PM. Not only will it stop the headache, it will help us sleep. That’s two for the price of one! We offer our kids Robetussin, DayQuil, and Tylenol like they are candy. Throat spray, nose spray, cough suppressants, fever-reducers, lozenges… Then we slather them in sunscreen and douse them in DEET, only to wash it all off later with sodium laurel sulfate soaps. We launder their clothes in toxic detergents, scent their living space with chemical fragrances, brush their teeth with harmful fluoride… Our Great-Grandmothers would be sounding the alarms.
What are these things we do without thinking? What are these products we use without questioning? How have we come to this place where we are conditioned to NEED these things? How can we get to a place where we aren’t so dependent???
That is the nature of this blog. To chronicle one family’s journey (mine) as we attempt to navigate the minefield of commercial products, foods, media and even (choke) education. It’s the least we can do for our children, to arm them with knowledge so they can navigate the confusion of the world for themselves someday.
So stay tuned. Hope you enjoy the ride!