vias de vida
i don’t tend to idolize people, or ever wish i could be another person. unless they’re terribly attractive. but one of my oldest friends, she is my ideal. she lives in such an admirable way; i feel actual shame that i am incapable or, more likely, unwilling to exist in the way she does. and i don’t generally feel shame. guilt, sure. i even feel guilty for saying it.
she seems to have successfully shaken off most of what capitalism has made me rely on: a profession, steady income, stuff. she has replaced these things with community, activism, relationships, and self.
money is of no import to her. she acquires it of necessity, not of want, like most of us. i know this is not an easy thing for anyone to discard. when you don’t have the currency to zoom zoom to whatever you want, everything moves slower than how you are accustomed (assuming you are accustomed to having money). without it, you learn to do things yourself. find things yourself. trade with others. engage with your community, human and non. a life lived purposefully with no cash seems to mean a life with more people. or at least, more meaningful connections.
and her life is very much about her relationships, on micro and macro levels. at times, when folks, myself included, seem to obsess over their current partner or crush or friend crush or new ex or next ex, it can come off as shallow. why are you obsessing over this thing when there’s so much going on in the world? but from her, it’s not the same. she structured an unstructured life where connections to people and the earth are able to take precedence. her connection to issues of justice are also threaded in her relationships. she does not separate them because they are not separate. unlike the rest of us, who maybe obsess over these relationships to distract ourselves from recognizing the void and oppression inside and out.
i want this. i want my connections to self, others, planet, to be the most important part of my life. i don’t want to compartmentalize them. i don’t want to fill my hunterless and gathererless life with work and consumerism. how can you want something so bad and not know how to get it? is there an app?
i left my cushy life because i felt like unless i jumped, i would never make a change. it didn’t seem possible in that world; te encadena y te encarcela. or maybe you just do that to yourself. my californian ex pat colombian friend left the states by choice and necessity. he says he has no legitimized profession (his cannabis farm went under) and couldn’t fathom succumbing to the hamster wheel again. he settled in santa marta because his family is from here, y aqui se queda. he rebuilds motorbikes, runs an electric bicycle taxi, and does whatever he can to make some pesos. he tells me this is difficult and he is very poor, but he also says he’s free. i imagine this to be the same freedom my other friend must feel. one that comes from a chosen life. it might not be easy, but at least it’s yours.