Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Balancing Act

I’ve become a bit unbalanced of late.
No, I don’t mean that I have been toppling over or that my mental health is any more precarious than it ever was, but that the ratio of time spent sitting at the computer to time spent moving around and doing other things has been steadily shrinking over these past few months. The result: some strong warning signals from my body, including eyestrain and a sore shoulder, forcing me away from my desk. Which is one of the reasons why my blog posts have been sparse (and they were never all that frequent to begin with, as you may have noticed).
I find myself feeling thinking back nostalgically, from time to time, to the early 1990s in Australia when Sky and I were building our own adobe house, making fifty bricks every morning, then turning yesterday’s bricks and stacking the week-old ones.

We planted trees all afternoon and spent almost every waking moment outside except when it was pouring with rain—which in that drought-prone area it very rarely did.
We ate outdoors, showered outdoors, came in only to sleep. Maybe we were unbalanced in the other direction, but it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time. We felt fit and healthy and full of energy. And our little computer that drew its power from a solar panel could only run for an hour or two a day.Human bodies were not designed for a sedentary life. Our species was certainly not designed for a life spent indoors, in airless, climate-controlled houses with fitted carpets and double glazing, eating instant dinners defrosted in microwave ovens. And our children and grandchildren were certainly not meant to spend huge chunks of their days and evenings in front of screens, either passively soaking up commercial propaganda and mindless triviality or vanquishing armies of virtual enemies with their thumbs.

It seems as though we have removed ourselves further and further from any real contact with the Earth. Small wonder, then, that we have wreaked so much mindless havoc. I am not the only one who’s out of balance. Two thirds of us are. And many, worse than me. At least I walk miles every day in the fresh country air, chop wood, grow fruit and vegetables and cook from scratch.

Even so, I have some way to go to get back in balance the way I would really like to be. Which is difficult, since I am a writer and an editor and in this remote, rural area of England where we live it is the Internet that keeps me connected to the wider world. Plus we live in a cold climate and it rains a lot.

Anyone else out there wrestling with a similar dilemma?