Two years ago I moved to a new city and met a very interesting Couple. I met them at my friends’ wedding. She graduated from Boston University back in 2001 with a Masters Degree in Biochemistry and worked in Boston. She was a brilliant student and a promising professional. Besides, she was (and is) very pretty and full of enthusiasm.
He faced a big world with Master’s Degree in Computers and worked in New York City. He used to make a lot of money and was also extremely bright and talented.
In 2005, she shocked her family by her quitting her job and moving to a tiny village in Midwest. She had never even been there before. Her family suspected cults, mental disease, broken heart, personal issues, but the girl looked perfectly sane and happy. She sold everything she had and moved to a tiny house and grew organic vegetables.
A year later, same thing happened to him. He quit everything and moved… guess where? To the same tiny Midwestern village.
When they met each other, they found out that they were born in the neighboring towns and went to the same places pretty often. They even had a couple of common friends. Isn’t it weird that they met each other many years later in such an unexpected place?
I had a quick conversation with both of them, and they are totally sane and adequate people. They don’t belong to any cults or spiritual communities. They are just people that have been living in big cities for too long and didn’t want to do it anymore.
They told me a lot about how to live off the grid. That’s basically what they do. They are just trying to live in harmony with nature and don’t do any harm. They have 2 beautiful daughters and seem to be really happy. Much happier than many couples at that wedding actually.
To be honest, I always treated downshifting as cowardice and weakness. I was thinking that people that quit everything and go “green” just can’t cope with their problems and find no better way than just escaping. After meeting this couple, I totally changed my mind.
In fact, they never had serious problems with career or personal things. Moreover, they had good chances to make great careers and become really wealthy. They did that because of that inner imperative that is deafened by our imperialistic society, particularly, the idea that the life we’re living in the cities is wrong. And yet, they were braver than any of us because they weren’t scared of losing these money and opportunities.
They told me a lot about how to stop global warming, and I knew all these things before, but apparently I have never really thought about it. Wars, malnutrition, ecological disasters – all those things seemed to be so insignificant as compared to my business projects and personal problems.
Now I know that “green” people are not crazy fanatics that live in their weird little world and are impossible to talk to. And sometimes, it makes sense to listen to what they say because they say things that are much more important than all your minor issues.