8.27.2008

Citified Observations From The House Of Eight

I think I should first of all thank Melisa. I could thank many others as many others have contributed to the formation of the following thoughts but I’ll just stick with thanking Melisa since she is the one who has most recently helped to still this roiling mass of thought inside my head long enough for me to actually write it down.

Thank you Melisa.

I have answered the call of the inner nomad once again. This time it's landed me on a bed in Pete’s parent’s basement. I lived with Pete earlier this year in an old apartment that is no more. The first thing the new owner did was kick us out and completely gut the inside. He tore out the funky kitchen with its cabinets that never stayed closed. He ransacked the bathroom and tossed out the original claw foot bathtub that always made showering an interesting experience.

In some ways this gutting of the old place to make way for a much shoddier, homogenized and expensive new one was what broke me. I mean there are many things that have broken me over the last few years but this was the last straw. It was time to leave Seattle and this was the proverbial kick to the rear I needed to make the move.

So I journeyed to a much smaller (and saner) town near the Canadian border. After a series of minor events that led to the temporary derailment of my plans in this new town I ended up in the place I now write this entry to you from; on a bed in the basement of a rather full house. My presence certainly has not detracted from that fullness.

I’ve been crashing on this bed for nearly three weeks now and I’ve only loathed a few brief moments of those three weeks. Pete’s family is large, seven siblings in all. Two are out of the house but when you throw me into the mix it comes to a grand total of eight.

So I’ve been cultivating this theory for a while now (I don’t pretend to portray this theory as anything original. It’s more like common sense we as a people have somehow forgot). The theory comes from things I observed in my own life and the lives of others while living in Seattle. Seattle is just the city I happened to be living in when I cultivated this theory but this theory is not exclusive to Seattle; it could occur anywhere.

Here is the theory in a nutshell: To live holistically you must live intergenerationally. Meaning some of the most physically, spiritually and mentally healthy people and communities I’ve observed are very connected with their past, present and future. They have natural daily interactions with people who have gone before them and people who will eventually be standing where they are now.

I have now come to realize that much of the neurosis that I came to experience while living in Seattle came from a lack of connection to those ahead and behind. It was the blind leading the blind. Cities tend to make room only for those who can hack it. If you are not willing to compete on the same ravenous level as everyone else, to sacrifice your well being and have an aversion to unhealthy and rapid change than perhaps big cities (at least big cities in hyper capitalist America) are not for you.

Most days I found myself surrounded by people my age asking the same questions from the same people and getting the same answers. We felt very alone.

And that brings me back to the house of eight. I am not alone here. Actually I am so “not alone” that at times I take bike rides as a sort of introvert breather. But this is a healthy fullness. I am surrounded by ages that range from 10 to 50 something. I interact and gain perspective from a variety ages at different stages in their developmental stories. I can share what I have learned through my own personal story and learn from the personal stories of others, young and old. This is how life should be lived.

As Americans we have become disconnected, discontent and as a result found our lives in disrepair. Personally, I believe we have become all of these things because, simply put, we are utterly lonely people.

Before I wrap this entry up I would like to point you to an article that you might find interesting. I found this link through, yet again, Melisas blog and I found it to be very interesting. It is called “Why We Hate Us” by Dick Meyer. While I don’t agree with everything Meyer says I do believe he is right on about many of his observations.

Well, there’s my two cents, anyone else want to throw in theirs?

2 Comments:

Blogger wilsonian said...

Yep.
And I think it helps to have friends from other cultural backgrounds in close proximity.

5:27 AM  
Blogger kelsey lee said...

I can relate to what you're saying about the house of 8. I am living with my family now, all 5 of us are here (ages 19 to 54), and its stressful at times socially, because i don't have the energy. However, I have found myself opening up to my parents more and listening to them and I can't believe how helpful it is. Older people always say they have been there, but you don't realize that they actually HAVE until you hear their stories. There aren't any kids at my house but soon I'll be working with them again!

12:06 AM  

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