My mom once said to me,
“Michelle. If you don’t want to participate in society, then DON’T.”
Maybe the expected and natural response to such a threat would be to say “well of course I want to participate in society, don’t be ridiculous” and then you go get a job, dutifully pay your rent, get married, or whatever.
But I’m tempted by the possibility of not participating in society almost every single day.
What a fantastic liberation it could be, to no longer depend on the grocery store for food, or my car to get around, or on money to live my life at all!
It’s hard to imagine though, isn’t it. What would my alternative lifestyle look like, as in, physically? Is it a commune? Camping? A dilapidated school bus? (let’s see how many times I can reference Into the Wild). How do I get clean water? Do I need to learn how to sew my own clothes? Do I even need to wear clothes…?
I think about it all the time, but I don’t know what my real options are in terms of an alternative lifestyle. And so, for now, I’m participating in society. It’s weird sometimes…I get hung up on my own cognitive dissonance, even to the point of depression. There’s this really intense duality within me – this battle of my wills – in which the part of me that wants freedom, asceticism, and to see the world and all its people, is constantly at odds with the other very real part of me that wants a home, a community, a routine, a steady source of income, and a companion.
The latter part is feeling super satisfied at the moment, here in my cozy apartment while I earn a relevant and respectable graduate degree from a highly-acclaimed university, surrounded by a community of students, “we’re-all-in-this-together”…
I know there must be a balance to participating/not participating in society but I haven’t found it yet and frankly I don’t even know if I’m looking in the right places.