The more time passes, the less interest I have in diet and the more interest I have in lifestyle. Society has become so different than what I imagine hunter-gatherer, or even pastoralist, life was like. Sure, we have it better in countless ways, with our wonderful tools and technologies, and our freedom from the tyranny of others. And yet, there are also some important things we have lost.
How have you rearranged and re-imagined your lifestyle to increase your exposure to community, find work that simulates ancestral activity patterns, and decrease your chronic stress level?
Have you joined a tribe? Did you move someplace arboreal, sylvan, rural? Do you now hunt and garden?
How did the economics work? Do you daydream of early retirement so you can live the life you want, or were you somehow able to make it happen?
I have found many ways out. I have not taken them all yet but some I have tasted and will probably follow a few when I'm older. Do some searching online for the following:
You may not agree with everything above and many people have huge quarrels with some of these people's way of life, but there are answers in there that you can shape in a way that will work for you.
What I have done for the time being is to get a low-pressure job and use ALL of my vacation time. I have completely given up careerism and striving. I stay out of debt. I have never bought a car or house. I never had children.
Years ago I read about a 66-year old lady who hiked the Pacific Crest every spring and summer with her goat and spent every winter living in an RV on Social Security. I spent 6 months alone in the wilderness on the Pacific Crest and loved it. I met lots of people on the trail just like that lady. When I am old I hope to live similar to that lady and because I have tried out her way of life, I know it is right for me.
For now I work and participate in industrial culture but I sleep happily at night knowing there's a chink in the fence and that I know how to crawl through it.
I am your typical desk-bound city dweller, but my sister lives in an "intentional community" on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada. The whole island is pretty off the grid, full of potters and energy healers. My sister's home is an organic farm where a few families like hers live full time, and it also hosts retreats, yoga classes etc. http://www.stowellakefarm.com/ It is, sadly, not Paleo (I'm working on it) although they do have "gluten-free pizza night" and their chickens lay killer eggs.
Plus one for "This Industrial Life" ... it has a Silent Spring kinda quality to it. Me, I harbor no illusions that life before industry was idyllic, but I am taking steps to get off the hamster wheel that seems to me to represent a dark side of capitalism (see also "corporations are people, my friend"). Part of this is safety net, part is seeing what I can to stop the madness of "work more to buy more to enjoy less" (when I'm really feeling dark, I see hints of serfdom in it).
Modern "tribal" living isn't necessarily low stress. I lived in the Findhorn eco-village for 6.5 years. I chose to leave and live in "society" again. What a relief!
Ancient tribes were homogenous and relied a lot on traditions passed down to each generation. Modern "tribes" are diverse, often rancorous and have to make up their own rules.
I hated the endless meetings. Not fun for me.
Plus 1. For me I daydream about early retirement even though I know it is unproductive, negative even. My answer so far is to try the best I can to live in a primal way and provide for my family in modern America but it is difficult. Not to be preachy but we are fortunate to have such "problems." Billions live in poverty unable to attain basic human needs and many more still live under the tyranny of others (see Arab Spring).
I've been thinking lately about specialization vs. generalization and how specialization has allowed/afforded this life we have. Otherwise, we'd literally all be out on our own thinking about procuring food all day (though, as a Paleo, I kinda do that anyway...). MovNat privileges the generalist in exercise, but I've been thinking about it in terms of other areas too. Specialization can become boredom.
Which is all to say that I think many people would be happier being more self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency = generalism. There are things I'm happy to farm out to those who are more skilled, such as the recent painting of the inside of our house. But we've given away so much autonomy for questionable luxuries. Providing your own food can certainly go a long way toward filling that void, whether through hunting, gathering, or growing. To that end, I'm taking a wild edibles class at the end of March, really looking forward to it.
Another thing I've been considering? Homeschooling my daughter. She's only 2 1/2, so I have some time to work that one out.
I've been considering trying to get some folks together around here for some real food gatherings. But as I've discovered in other endeavors, enthusiasm is high to start and then it fizzles out. I've watched it happen to a workout group I've been leading (the decline of which is probably weather related), and it's hard to keep the momentum going or delegate when no one else will step up. So for now, I remain very thankful for the online folks to keep me feeling connected to all of this.
I am an adventure guide. I travel around the world to warm places and take people on adventures. My job is to take people into remote, beautiful places to provide them with challenging, meaningful experiences beyond their comfort zones that initiate positive personal growth and group development (IE tribe mentality)
Technology and Nature: I generally get the best of both worlds. I'm outside all day every day- often living in the back country. I generally have to live in tune with the cycles of nature and am always controlled by nature and not vice versa. At the same time, I have my iphone on my trips with me (I love my live radar app), along with a solar charger. On my days off I sit in AC and enjoy using my laptop to surf the internet. The clothing I wear, tent I sleep in and tools I use make backcountry living enjoyable- thanks to modern technology. I get to travel the world with ease because we figured out how to fly and how to power those flying machines with fossil fuels. Flying enables me to get to the places I work, while I'm working I am almost always using human power to travel- by foot, kayak etc. Because I'm outside every day and my job is inherently active, I stay in generally decent shape although I have a hard time staying in peak condition because I'm often too tired to lift weights/do crossfit or yoga. I usually live in pretty remote places which usually have the best of both worlds- I live in a house with electricity and AC, sometimes internet, but I'm in a location where I can go sea kayaking or rock climbing anytime I want. Depending on where I am, a "real city" is between a 2 and 3 hour drive away. Sometimes I miss getting dressed up and going out clubbing. Living in remote areas, fed by the company I work for, and/or living out of a backpack or kayak, makes it extremely challenging to stay paleo and often I am forced off the wagon because I would have to either eat SAD or go hungry for several days.
Tribes: Usually the companies I work for provide housing to guides - most of whom are nomadic- so I end up living with and playing with the people I work with- we end up becoming a tribe of sorts for the time we work together- usually at least 3 months or so. Usually this works out pretty well because we usually have a similar world view and the same interests. How well the tribe works really depends on the people who are there and the events that take place while those specific people are there. For instance, I have worked the same job in the same place three times- but each experience was radically different because different people were there each time. The work was generally the same, and the location was the same of course, but the experience was radically different. Sometimes it's rough when the people who are working and living together don't get along -especially when places to hang out with other people are hours away.
Perhaps it is because I shaped my life this way, but my "industrial life" is pretty darn nice. I have flexible work hours, flexible work locations (just need an internet connection most of the time), and have a few "tribes" I belong too. I actually have access to the beautiful places I see in the distances, so that I can enjoy them. Industrial life has provided me with healthy cheap food options, and allows me to play on sunny days.
I have lived in remote locations a fair bit, and certainly could not say the same of those lifestyles. Fresh food was scarce, and hardly organic. Nice days were work days- gotta get stuff taken care of before it rains again! And being with the same four people in close quarters all of the time was not always nice. While this is not the paleo picture everyone paints, for myself industrial living is less stressful, more productive and far more enjoyable.