I am still here in New Jersey two days after my daughter’s wedding, which by the way was incredible. I am not here to write about the wedding as I believe that these family matters should be shared amongst family and friends and I have certainly expressed my endless joy on a more personal level with the the shake of a hand, a kiss and hug and face to face communications.
While living on the West Coast of America has given way to people finding incredible joy in the simpler things in life it is sad to say that here on the East Coast many things have not changed. It seems to me that more people are still seeking happiness wrapped around the pursuit of money and the things money can buy. I have noticed even more larger McMansions being built here, more expensive cars and trucks and the incredibly selfish attitude of people driving on the roads all trying to get places with little disregard for others they share the road with.
Now I know that not all people here share this way of life, but from what I gathered so far it appears that the majority do. I also know that not all who live on the West Coast share the spirit of minimalism and community, but it seems that more do the same way that more share the spirit of protecting the environment.
It is certainly a fast paced way of living here on the East Coast where conversations are so brief that words shared amongst others seem insignificant and meant strictly for a moment of the recognition and not truly for need of knowing others. “Hi, how are you?” “I’m well, how are you?” “I’ve got to go.” “Me too.” “Take care.” “You too.”
Everyone is constantly rushing off to the next thing while not understanding the current thing. There rarely is anything more important than the people in our lives and when we simply have little time for those people we have to ask ourselves if they really are a part of our lives.
People ask me why there are so many coffee shops in Oregon. The truth is that it has less to do with coffee and more to do with people finding opportunities to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with others. I mean how much do we really know about each other from a tweet or a Facebook post? No, quality time spent with others gives people a true outlet to express themselves in a meaningful way while also lending an ear to the thoughts and dreams of others. This art has been around since humans learned to communicate and is simply a human need. While in the pursuit of other things that leave us little time to actually communicate we find that there is an emptiness that leads to problems which are difficult to understand. I believe that there are a record amount of people seeking counseling not because they are crazy but just because they have the need to sit down, relax and express themselves for an hour.
I am so happy that I had the opportunity to spend some time here in New Jersey as it has certainly confirmed my reasons to seek out a simpler way of life. The stress I left behind is still here and maybe always will be. There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of success as this too is a part of being human, but living in a society where there is little time to turn off the machine will take it’s toll on us living this way year after year. Being so closely attached to the signals that flash in our eyes each day sending messages to us that we are no good enough if we don’t have this, or not worthy enough if we don’t have that can send us into a cycle that makes us question our very existence. A life where our best friend is our smart phone leads to an existence of loneliness where we have to ask ourselves, “Does anyone really care about anything other than themselves?”
The message I have for those here on the East Coast is simple. Turn off the TV, put down the phone and plan real time with those closest to you, especially family members. Find a quiet place to look into each others eyes and just talk until your heart is content. Practice this on a regular basis and start to realize that the next best thing is already here.