Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thanks Kelloggs!

The Kelloggs
Did you watch the national coverage of a nomadic fulltime RV family? I loved the things the Kelloggs had to say, the dynamic between the kids, the parents... the whole segment was refreshing. The problem? The responses I read (both in the article comments and  on boards with other Fulltime Rvers). It was awful to read the venomous reactions of the public! Watch the Today Show segment here before you decide.

What is our society's obsession with forcing a specific set of values, beliefs or way of life upon everyone else? The belief that if one doesn't follow the blue print for traditional success, the only alternative is desperation andestitution. As if deviating from traditional societal structure is a sure recipe for failure and unhappiness. If you are reading this blog, you know I believe and live differently and don't won't apologize.
“You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. ” ― Anaïs Nin

I am not saying abandon what works for you because my life is better. I am saying that we all know traditional society has flaws. Instead of criticizing people who are attempting something new or different, applaud the effort, courage and sacrifice it takes to choose an alternative route. With all the turmoil we have been through, it would have been easier to just go back to our old way of life. To take our bad experience and apply it to the world of Rvers and fulltimers. We were advised to abandon the unknown for the known. I can't say I didn't have any temptation or desire to take the easy route, the familiar route. I can't say preschools, soccer, and on demand hot water aren't tempting. But how long before the temporary happiness of comfort and familiarity wears off? How long before I become lost in appearances and begin putting all my energy into people pleasing again? Is the trade off worth it?

It made me think of a documentary I have recently viewed, Happy.<spoiler alert> People are so quick to judge others with different life choices without examining their own quality of life. "The American dream", "The rat race", whatever you call our society's way of life, America and countries that live an "American" lifestyle are among the unhappiest people in the world, despite having majority of the world's wealth. In fact, once basic needs are met(food, shelter) there is absolutely no correlation between money and happiness. The things our society values such as status and appearance have all been linked to depression. Yet, we don't put enough value on things that do contribute to happiness like human relationships, community, charity and kindness.

Society needs more people brave enough to be authentically happy, authentically themselves. Thank you Kelloggs for showing the world this lifestyle can be done, that nomadic children are healthy and intelligent and that your family is better because of (not despite) the lifestyle and small living space. You can find more on the Kelloggs in the links below.

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