Is it time to start living the good life?
Time. It appears to be ever present and yet it’s invisible. We have clocks and calendars to measure time in a linear fashion, and yet every passing day feels different to each of us. There are moments of panic, stress or grief when time stands still, and there are moments where the hours just disappear as we get lost in creative passions, a new romance or the simple pleasures of life.
Time is a perception created in our own minds. All we ever have is this moment right now and it’s up to us what we make of it.
Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. And another. Close your eyes and place one hand on your heart. Gift yourself the magic of simply BEing in the present moment. You are worthy of your most generous love and attention.
Life in a global pandemic has gifted us opportunities to slow down, appreciate what we have (or who we have in our lives) and the chance to create a new lifestyle that feels like a better ‘fit’. A way of life that feels more aligned to our values, our hopes and our dreams.
Perhaps Barbara and Tom had it right all along?
The famous British 1970s sitcom ‘The Good Life’ centred around a married couple who dreamed of living a sustainable lifestyle on their own small suburban plot of land but were inevitably faced with endless challenges and disasters and were frequently ridiculed by their wealthy materialistic neighbours, Margot and Jerry.
In an era of rapid industrial growth, the average 1970s family life was changing due to new time-saving and labour-saving appliances and household items such as washing machines, kettles, vacuum cleaners, disposable nappies and teabags. Suddenly life was becoming easier – which only made Barbara and Tom’s lifestyle choices even more absurd. Why would you choose to make life more difficult for yourself when you had a choice?
I think the joke has been on us all along…
On an overheating planet with an endless list of hugely important environmental issues, the time has come for more and more of us to grow (at least some of) our own produce, find more sustainable alternatives to plastic and fossil fuels, to reduce our intake of processed foods, meat and dairy, and make the switch away from diesel and petrol fuelled cars.
In the 70s and 80s we naively bought into the ‘need’ for this new way of life. The average person had no idea about the future impact of their choices on the planet. We became whores to materialism and happily overfilled our trolleys every trip to the supermarket – which of course saved us even more time as we swapped the greengrocer and the baker for the lure of buying everything under one roof.
1970s humans didn’t know any better. But we do.
We’re now armed with all the facts, statistics and information. We’ve watched David Attenborough’s documentaries, we’ve listened to Greta Thunberg, we’ve watched Seaspiracy, Cowspiracy, Gamechangers, The True Cost of Fast Fashion and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood. We’ve given up plastic carrier bags and bought paper straws. But it’s not enough.
The Earth cannot feed almost 8 billion people and feed over 60 billion animals each year. Something has to change.
We need unity.
And right now, there is separation, fear and division.
We’ve become a ‘them versus us’ society.
We are so judgemental and quick to label people that we’ve forgotten the true essence of human beings: that we’re all completely individual and unique. Our fingerprints, our irises, our personalities. All biochemically individual and beautifully unique.
In Jersey, I believe we’re perfectly positioned to step up as a role model for the world. But only if we come together as one. Each playing our small role as part of a collective goal.
We live on an island with a great climate and lots of green space for growing produce. We have the money, infrastructure and technology to make more homes solar powered. We have the potential for energy powered by wind and waves. We have land that can be used to create allotments and community gardens. We have a huge wealth of practical and creatively skilled islanders. It’s not beyond the scope of reality to suggest that we could become a sustainable island where everyone has the chance to eat locally grown, organic produce, lead an active, healthy lifestyle free from poverty and have access to first class medical care.
It’s easy to romanticise the sustainable life, but to live 100% sustainably as an individual family in Jersey is difficult. Probably impossible. But if we never try because we believe it’s going to be impossible, then we’ll never get anywhere!
The truth is, no-one wants to give up their comfortable life. But what does a comfortable life actually look like to you? And do you want to live just a comfortable life, or do you dream of wild adventures, excitement and constant expansion?
I think that this is why so many brilliant ideas never get off the ground – because we’re always looking at what we might lose and not what we will gain. We live in a society where the default mindset is to perceive that someone is always out to get us or make life difficult: the taxman, the ferry company, the slow cyclist in rush hour. But, just as time is a perception of the mind, so is this mindset that makes us cling on to what we know and to stay in our comfort zones. We’re greedy, impatient, selfish and self-centred.
It’s time to let go.
To take a deep breath in and to let it out with a long, audible sigh.
Regardless of your viewpoint on the main topic du jour, it’s time for us to come together with less separation, fear and division. We need to find common ground instead of driving wedges, creating labels and putting people in boxes.
It’s time for love, compassion and kindness.
It’s time for us all to stand side by side with the shared goal of a more sustainable way of life that’s kinder to the planet, kinder to animals, helps bring people out of poverty and encourages everyone to be the happiest and healthiest version of themselves.
Are you with me?
By Lorraine Pannetier
Intuitive copywriter, author and content creator at www.thesoulfulword.com