What I Fight For

harmony local food minimalism real fitness real food sustainability

The existing order is one of consumption, decadence, and progress in the name of science, often at the expense of personal health and individual integrity. The revolution is one of sustainability, minimalism, and a return to traditional methods that worked fine. The existing order preaches that we should give up our choice and individualism to be part of a monolithic socio-economic system. The revolution prefers to rely on community networks and individual resourcefulness. Instead of accepting the status quo that you have to make x amount of money at a job and work x number of hours to feel good about yourself, the revolution states that success cannot be measured in dollars and that livelihoods can be made in other ways than the 9-5 grind.

The Revolution

I've said before that a Warrior must have something to fight for, some larger purpose to guide his or her life and actions. I think I've found mine.

After a year of writing my thoughts and struggles, reading the blogs of others, following the news on the big social changes in our society, and striving to live a life that I feel is worthwhile, I've come to notice a recurring theme. Minimalism, simple, health-conscious living is one of the most popular topics for serious bloggers. It seems that the life changes worth writing about are in this vein. My sense is that business advice is targeting small, independent entrepreneurs operating outside the corporate structure. There is a fast-growing local food movement. The overarching theme seems to be self-reliance, less-is-more, harmony and sustainability in food, health, fitness, business, economics, consumption, and life generally. And I stumbled right into it all.

The thing is, none of these groups have the resources to take on the big players head on. In fact, they aren't even trying to take on anyone. Instead, they simply seek to opt out of the existing norms of behavior and society. They choose to buy their food from small farmers, ignore mainstream fitness advice, and build businesses based on unconventional models. They aren't saying we should dismantle the existing corporations. Instead, they are simply choosing to ignore them, at least as far as purchasing decisions go.

My Journey

At first, I didn't really consider myself a part of this movement. In fact, I didn't really consider it a movement. It was just a bunch of people trying their best to make their way in the world and not be bothered by a system that was actively trying to hog-tie them. As for me, I was just trying to live healthy. Now, if I'd been trying to network with these people and promote their ideas, then I might have considered myself part of something bigger. But I realize now that th every nature of the movement is that it occurs in individual actions and decisions made in isolation from external pressure.

My struggle - and it was a struggle - has been in eating a traditional diet when everyone around me tells me I will soon die of heart disease. It has been exercising near the limits of my capacity when everyone else warns of injury. It has been getting rid of my stuff when people are constantly trying to heap more and more stuff onto me. It has been believing that a life lived within reasonable means and a commitment to personal freedom can be fulfilling, while many tell me I had better sign up for the 9-5, and the reality is that we must exchange freedom for security. I don't want much, and for that, people have been offended, jealous, and indignant.

When Minding Your Own Business Bothers Others

Often, these negative feelings are extremely subtle, and come in a roundabout way. Other times they are fairly direct. An example of this was the tension I experienced visiting my ex-girlfriend's family after I had decided to stop eating processed foods. Perhaps I could have handled that situation better, or perhaps not, but what was simply an assertion about my health and personal dietary preferences quickly led to an atmosphere that ended my relationship. My disinterest in mass-produced ice cream and baked goods was taken as an affront against the family. It was a tragic situation.

I don't like clutter, so I turn down offers for free stuff, and these confuses and offends people. Gifts are appreciated, but I only have so much room to hoard new things, so they are often given away. I am happier as a result, but many people can't understand that. I maintain that they would be happier, free of debt, chronic aches and pains, lingering disease, mind-boggling clutter, and general frustration, but I'm arguing against several multi-billion dollar advertising and government education campaigns.

Nevertheless, I will continue to follow my path. I've found that challenging others directly doesn't help anyone, but I can teach by example, to those that might be interested to follow. Slowly, more and more Warriors will join the fight, and we'll have a revolution on our hands.

- (**