The Road Trip a Good Time to Contemplate Healthy Life Balance

5 Jul
English: Amish raking hay in southeast Ohio.

English: Amish raking hay in southeast Ohio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah, the summer road trip, the annual pilgrimage to anywhere but here.  Driving through southern Ontario we passed an Amish man working in a field – with a horse drawn cart.  Maybe it’s just because it’s something I don’t see every day, but I found it instantly heart warming.   I have often heard people talking fondly of the Amish and how fascinating they are.

Could the reason for this fascination go beyond novelty?  Could it be that while we work hard at the 9-5, followed by a crazy routine of driving here there and everywhere doing errands, shuttling kids and just basically keeping up with the standard Canadian life – which we love – deep down we are secretly longing for a simpler life?

I’m not for a minute suggesting that the Amish do not work hard.  I’m sure their lives are busy and filled with hard work.  Heck, they’re doing things the old fashioned way, without the modern conveniences we take for granted.  But I imagine their pace to be very different from ours.

For the average Canadian, the pressure to “succeed” starts at a very early age when we are enrolled in some sport or activity.  This pressure follows us to school, then into our adult careers.  While we are working hard to succeed at out careers, we are also under pressure to put our kids under pressure by enrolling them in various activities that will enrich them and help them “succeed” in their lives.  The circle of life as we know it is perpetuated.

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of our every day life can really wear us out.  This is probably why we feel the need to escape every now and then.  While I’m not sure I would want to trade places with the Amish, or even if it would be easier, the fantasy of a simpler life is alluring.

These thoughts make me re-evaluate my lifestyle.  Should I eliminate some of the busyness?  I think these quiet moments of contemplation are vital.  It’s important to assess the situation from time to time and make adjustments.  Ask yourself if the things that are keeping you busy are actually adding value to your life.  Are they fun?  Do they provide the necessary income to maintain your desired lifestyle?  Do they help you or your children develop important skills or relationships that enrich your life?  Do you have the time and energy to derive the benefits from your chosen activities?  If you are answering “no” to these questions it may be time to edit your families’ activities.  There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Returning home after having time away, I know I will feel refreshed and even a little relieved to be back in my crazy busy world – minus the stuff that is not adding to wellness.


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