Sunday, April 19, 2009

Resurfacing



I'm finding it really very surreal that I'm back in Toronto.

Being completely away from big city life was an experience that didn't really hit me until the cab ride home yesterday afternoon. For a week, I was in the presence of fresh air, sunlight, blue skies, ocean views, the welcoming presence of the resort staff, and the great company of good friends and family.

Mostly, the difference in pace is what I find I have the hardest time adjusting to upon my return from any vacation. In this case, being able to stroll over the neighbouring resort on a whim, or explore the grounds, to spend hours on the beach — it's the type of life I lament having to give up. I find my mind keeps wandering to the '50s ideal of automation — weren't machines supposed to allow us more leisure time, not less?

A few years ago, I read In Praise of Slow, a book which discusses some of what we've lost on the way towards trying to make more time for ourselves, only to find that we've saddled ourselves with more work than ever in the race for increased productivity. It was chock-full of ideas I already subscribed to, so it's not as though it was a life-altering tome, or anything, but I found that it did help give voice to and expand upon some of my thoughts about the way we live our lives.

I subscribe to the idea that humans need to work on something to feel satisfied/happy, I just don't agree that doing the same thing, day-in, day-out, is the best way to achieve that. I know that I'm one of the lucky ones who is actually working in a field which results in pride-of-work for me, and that there are thousands, if not millions or billions of people who can't make that claim. I just don't think that this method of eking out ever-increasing productivity out of the world's employees is sustainable or even remotely what we set out to do when we were making the factories and/or machines which help us produce more.

Isn't there a better way to live?

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3 Comments:

At Mon Apr 20, 01:00:00 am GMT-4, Anonymous dan said...

I've found just leaving the city was a great benefit to slowing down. Just the decrease in people, traffic and distances seems to help.

I wish I could remember who has my copy of in praise of slow. Another book I've lent and lost, heh.

 
At Mon Apr 20, 09:43:00 am GMT-4, Blogger rrwood said...

The worst is coming back from camping when we've been the only people on the entire lake for days and days. Coming back into the city, I can feel psychological tension growing. :-(


For what it's worth though, you can find mini vacations if you look carefully. For instance, this weekend I went mountain biking with my brother for a couple of hours. The weather was as gorgeous as the woods and the lake, and it was a ball just to be out, being alive. Then on Sunday, we spent a couple hours bouncing on the trampoline with the kids and walking along the river. You should come next time!

 
At Mon Apr 20, 10:36:00 am GMT-4, Blogger Stacy said...

I second what dan said. It's not like I'm living way out in the country or anything, just a smaller town, but I find when I head back into T.O. for the day, the amount of people and cars is a little overwhelming.

On a side note, I'm glad you had a great vacation...I sigh longingly as I look at your photos. And yes, happy anniversary!

 

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