We live a rather simple and modest life, I think. We drive jalopies, tend to our vegetables, mend and fix up everything ourselves, and would much prefer a backyard BBQ to a fancy gourmet gastro pub. For southern Californians, we’re too in tuned with the seasons- harvesting fall crops, spending warm summer afternoons in our garden chairs after a long day, sipping stouts in front of a fire on winter nights, and watching our seedlings protrude from the earthy surface in spring. One might think I’m romanticizing a bit, but perhaps this is the reality of our life. Simple as it seems, our life does get crazy busy, gritty, and frantic at times, but overall, it’s a good life.
The good life we lead became comically apparent to us after our interview with Daily Breeze writer, Nick Green. Nick suggested we look up the 1970’s British sitcom, The Good Life. He said we have some similarities to the main character couple in the show, a husband and wife who had quit their jobs to create an urban farm and become totally self sufficient. Although we smiled, laughed, and politely said we would watch it, we actually did look it up on YouTube that evening. Wow, Nick hit it dead on! The first episode we viewed was about the couple being interviewed by a freelance news writer whose article was sold to the local newspaper. It was hilarious in the fact that we could relate! The episode opened with Barbara Goode sitting in her modest farm kitchen much needing a fresh coat of paint, patching up her pair of denim dungarees with bright orange material from what was an old skirt. Upon this opening scene, Tom Goode burst through a side door into the quaint setting, vociferously complaining about the broken pitchfork in hand needing repair, yet again. Two minutes into this episode, R and I gave each other that all too knowing look and laughed. How many times have I been in our modest farm kitchen in bad need of paint (among other things!), cooking, processing, sewing even, when R has trampled in through the side door ranting, face smudged with dirt, sweat, and oil, a broken or useless tool in hand, with eyebrows raised expressing the look of needing immediate help. This occurs numerous times daily!
Although the Goodes on the show parallel our life in so many ways, even down to their homemade wine and our limoncello, there’s another underlying factor that brings it closer to home: passion project. It’s having a passion for something, taking action, and making the necessary sacrifices, without hurting anyone, to make it a realization. Often times, a passion project goes beyond the norm of mundane ways of doing and thinking. Let’s face it, “normal everyday life” is quite mundane: exercise, drive, go to work, eat, shop, watch T.V., and take the standard two weeks yearly vacation. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, especially to the masses who are satisfied with a pretty mundane lifestyle and are totally offended by me right now. Those passionate creators and doers, the healthy social deviants, are too restless and perhaps reckless to embrace the norm. They’re like bottled up soda pop being forcefully shaken until they burst into making the rash decision to leave the mundane behind, even if it is considered good and stable, to embrace their passion, utilize their talents, and give it a go for better or worse. In my own life, I had been bubbling steadily towards a known point in time when I knew I’d bust out of the ordinary and show up in Alaska, or Lomita, to pursue my passions, choosing not to internalize the concerns and fears of people around me. Tom Goode left his secure, well-paying job in plastics, to turn his front and back yards into an urban farm, generating electricity from animal dung and an income from produce sales and barter. He waves off the concerns and fears of his neighbors with humor on every episode.
Of course, it’s just a show, but The Good Life does emanate a very conscious human desire, in most (I dare not say all) people, for something more in life beyond what is perceived as mundane. As for us and the Goodes, living simply is a lot of hard work, with not much monetary return. The benefits are reaping the satisfaction and happiness in the act of pursuing a passion. Life is short, but it can be good. Pursue your passion!