By Nick Haywood
Until quite recently, living in Melbourne and with a good income, we were enjoying the delights of the city. Melbourne’s a great city. Even so, it can be sapping and not always sustaining.
An apartment on the bay, wine bars, restaurants, theatre, sporting events – it was all becoming an increasingly addictive opiate to block the pain of the cycle of work…work harder to earn, earn more to consume, consume more.
Doesn’t sound so bad – suck it up! Lots of people dream of such an existence! Agreed – it wasn’t so bad and often it’s said that ‘happy’ stems from learning to be content with your lot. However for some, like us, this is too passive, requiring an ‘ignore switch’ for all the things that frustrate or make you unhappy.
So, what does happy look like? Finding the value of X, the inknown, often starts with listing known factors.
A few hours and a few bottles of decent booze later and a list of don’t like, don’t want and don’t need appeared…but not a Eureka moment or the answer to ultimate happiness, X. However, X minus the list did point to a less cluttered and more independent lifestyle.
A vague recollection of, and reference to, dear old Maslow and his hierarchy of needs and…voila a list of must haves was developed. Several viewings of a box set of the 70s UK sitcom the Good Life, accompanied by more decent booze of course and the madness was truly upon us.
Self-sufficiency is not a new idea, quite the opposite, and perhaps ours is just the predictable response of a couple of people who wanted off the roundabout.
Or, perhaps it’s a valid response…our way of not just breaking the cycle but an attempt, if barely perceivable, to fight back against the crushing, dehumanising effects – as we see them – of globalised economics, perpetualised growth in consumerism and the harmful social and environmental impacts they bring.
These days the working hours are longer and the back aches deeper, the booze is home brewed, the food is home grown and the entertainment is the simple pleasure of sharing these with friends.
We’re Chasing Happy and might just be catching up with it.