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One Year in the Woods

A Peaceful Approach to Life

One of my co-workers was dreading the place he was going to stay in for two weeks while he was on vacation because it wasn't going to be accessible to cable. 

I said, "You don't need a cellphone or 'cable' to live or have fun. I lived without television for over a year and it was amazing." 

My co-worker's expression wrangled between disbelief, confusion, shock, humor, and quite possibly, a dash of fear. 

"What?! Not even Netflix? Did you at least have internet? I could never do that."

"We did have internet. Not Netflix though." Not during the first year anyway.

Eyebrows raised, my co-worker finally asked the million question.

"So...what did you do for fun?"

"I lived."

I lived the most peaceful year you can imagine surrounded by spiky shrubbery overflowing with blackberries, perfect spring afternoons lazing on the deck as my cats bounced all day around the yard catching dragonflies until sunset bonfires burned well into the evening. The real magic set in when the darkness did, when the night skies dusted with thousands of stars of all sizes and intensities and most peeked behind the rustling of tall trees, a sight that was ours to admire day after day. Time stopped at the first light of the moon and picked up again at the first crack of dawn, around the time when the eyes of my giant dogs pleaded to be let outside.

During the days when I wasn't tending to those pets or my schoolwork, I'd pour my heart into the pages of an old notebook in hopes of writing something fantastic, in hopes of making a living from what I loved to do. I wasn't ever bored because I created actual things to look forward to that didn't require me to live them through the screen of some kind of device.

Emotionally and spiritually, living in such a beautiful place was extremely fulfilling, I learned a lot... but financially and mentally it was also one of the hardest moments I've ever been through. At the time, my economic situation wasn't the greatest and neither was my former relationship. Hunger became "normal" to us when both our paychecks weren't enough to sustain the bills and back then I was also an online college student, living off of my loans to keep a roof over our heads. No, in the beginning we didn't have cable or Netflix because they were luxuries we couldn't afford, but we lived quietly and I saw beauty in all the life that thrived around me.

I'm a firm believer that children should be less attached to technological devices; the balance between a device and committing to a recreational hobby should be more than obvious. But where it does it start, where does it end? There are those who actually believe they cannot live without a cellphone, and it's quite sad because it's completely possible. Human interaction is not what it used to be; nonetheless, should it be avoided at all costs? You gain so much more when you're willing to live fully and completely.

I learned that true friendships are the ones you share over multiple dinners at the cost of focusing on who you are as a person. And at the cost of inside jokes that will find you again and again. I learned to be especially grateful for what I have and make do with it because tomorrow isn't guaranteed to come with the same blessings of yesterday. As for my co-worker, heaven only knows why he's focusing on having cable while on vacation. I hope he doesn't miss out on having fun.

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One Year in the Woods
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