I, like many of us, am working to sustain myself financially. Money and economics are a discussion for another day; a day before which I will have to do a lot of reading on the subject. Suffice it to say for now that there are some alternative perspectives on our economic systems that are worthy of discussion. For the purpose of this blog entry, however, I am functioning as most other people in our society and use jobs to support my consumerism, which in turn sustains my life.
I have several jobs at the moment, all for which I am thankful. One gets me outside on the ski mountain having a certain kind of fun with the little kiddos I teach. Another is in food service, which is a great way to make some money and meet some people. Lastly but certainly not least(ly) is my office job. The thing that kind of stinks about our economic system is that the best paid jobs are often the jobs that have you sitting inside on your butt all day, right? Some of us work as sales people, software developers, administrative assistants, accountants, designers, content editors, etc. I’m betting almost anything that a high percentage of office workers have a cubicle. Most likely we’re sitting, working with a screen for more or less than eight hours per day. Some of us may love what we do, some of us might hate what we do.
Either way, from my perspective, office work is separating us from the outdoors. I think that I may just be exceptionally sensitive to screen and indoor time, but when I leave my office at the end of the day, I feel the dreary dregs of depression. My thoughts are sluggish, my body feels heavy, and I’m unreasonably tired for having sat on my butt all day. I’m lucky in that I get out of my office early enough that there is still enough sunlight for me to go for a walk in the winter daytime. Not that darkness should be a barrier to getting outside.
The scene goes thus: I get home, haul my bike up the stairs to my apartment, turn down the heat, plop on the couch, and then look woefully out my sliding balcony door to my small view of the flatirons in the distance.
“You should go for a walk,” a little voice in my head tells me.
“Orrrrr you could just sit here feeling like shit for the next two hours until it’s socially acceptable for you to be hungry for dinner,” another voice counters.
Then I sit on that couch for about 20 minutes listening to those voices bicker before, depending on how tired I actually am, I get up, get in my car or on my bike, and head to the hills for even the briefest of walks. It is essential that I get OUT of the city, away from the cars, and into the trees/fields for these walks because for me NATURE IS A REQUIREMENT. Five minutes after I walk into the non-built environment, I can feel the tension leave my shoulders, the stress and worry drain from my mind, and the curiosity and wonder return to my awareness. I don’t have to be around breathtaking mountain vistas in order to experience this phenomenon; even the most mundane of forest views can lift the stifling chaos I experience by living indoors.
So, if you are like the many others in our world who need to live a third of your day indoors in order to make your living, I encourage you to take some time to get yourself into the trees, next to a field, along a stream, anywhere where you can get your feet back onto some earth. I think we’ll all be better for it.