Yesterday while watching a movie that was based on a real archeological site’s discovery in England in the year 1938, I was stuck by the simplicity yet the focused devotion of the people of that era towards their passions and professions.
The lead character who was an amateur and impoverished excavator, and yet was also very well read and self educated in his profession, worked day and night to dig and discover a historic relic for a very unhandsome sum. I felt that he tirelessly toiled under scorching sun and soaking storms not only because of his passion for his chosen craft but also because he was fortunate to be born in a time of least pretentiousnesses and distractions.
Yes. Before the technology took over the entire humanity and gobbled up all its time and energy, people had nothing much to do but devote their fewer and precious resources to pursue what their hearts strived for.
Researchers did researches, painters painted, composers composed, writers wrote, workers worked, traders traded, explorers explored and homemakers made homes. And they all did what they did with a single minded devoutness that must have been so fulfilling that I assume they probably never complained of being bored or ungratified.
The man in the movie was digging earth for two pounds a week and didn’t seem to be much concerned about his meager compensation or his impoverished lifestyle because most men and women in that time lived a very basic, unpretentious life. All his concerns and cares were for his job and its outcome.
How I wish I could find myself living in a period and place like that. An era when work was truly worship. When contentment came from the fruits of your labor which were definitely not the excesses and indulgences bought with the money earned.
The goods produced, the services rendered, the creations and compositions, the discoveries and development were the prizes earned and celebrated at the end of a day’s hard work. The compensations were hardly enough to sustain and survive life and yet, gratitude was in abundance.
What a way of life it was. Wake up in the early morning, have a stomachful of homemade healthy staples, go to work and immerse yourself into what you loved to do without having to hear an annoying beep or ringtone of your smartphone and come back straight home to a hot and simple dinner with your family. Read, write or simply stare at the stars in the sky at night and fall asleep without a worry.
No wonder the world saw so many inventions and discoveries in the past two centuries. People had begun to understand and unveil the wonders of nature and had no diversions and distractions eating up their daily hours and attention.
Work and passions were the precedence and that’s probably why even in times when technology wasn’t available to offer infinite assistance and instant solutions and people had to do everything from search information to record finding of endless trials without any aid from technology they were probably inventing at the time, they created marvels.
And look at us today. We have every information at the tip of our finger (quite literally) and yet we procrastinate and waste our expensive lives doing nothing significant only because we are too busy indulging in the inessentials and yearning for more.
Work is no more worship. It is just a means to get richer and procure a petty, pretentious position in the world. The aim is no more to create something new and unique and feel creatively contented but is to consume all the superficial specimens being produced in bulk for the unthinking users and feel materially accomplished.
Simple living and high thinking is passé. The new motto is flashy living and useless thinking. The very few thinking minds that are there are mocked at and are labeled as boring and old fashioned but even today they are the ones mostly making headlines with their originations.
In the fast paced, technology driven world creating copies is easy and abound, and it might be well paying but is it really gratifying? The answer is evident from the fact that despite all advancements human spirit is at an all time low. The superficially visible and well celebrated success doesn’t offer any true joy or solace to the yet to be completely evolved mind that still needs the deep purposeful connection to its day’s work and the people around.
Alas, both are missing because the champions of the ongoing race are too busy running after the material success and boosting economies. They fear that if they paused and slowed down they may actually realize that their real needs are still basic and real happiness can be found by simply giving your best to your passion or profession, they will lag behind in the contest.
But do they realize what they have truly achieved by fairing well in the competition? Unhealthy lifestyles, unhappy relationships, ungrateful minds, an unkind world and now maybe an unforgiving nature.
I suggest we visualize a life in a different time and place when and where we lived simply but well, enjoyed true relationships and derived happiness and a sense of achievement from the work done well. A time and place where less is more.
Writing this piece, how I am craving to leave the madness of my city life and run to the small hamlet I am soon going to call home and live the slow, old school way of life where there is no rush to complete jobs to attend parties, spend hours deciding what to wear and how to look, planning and attending useless events and then feel unappreciated and burned out. Where I will enjoy the basics of life appreciating the bounties of nature and will spend hours everyday pursuing my love for writing.
Luckily I have always been quite old school but watching the way Basil Brown and many of his likes lived simply yet so well creatively accomplished and gratified, I feel I need to forgo the few ounces of vanity, and social and materials cravings I still have and only then I will be able to give my hundred percent to the pursuits that make my heart happy and my life well lived.
My reader, I get maximum joy when I spend hours thoughtfully penning down my deep-felt thoughts like this. Writing, offering solutions to my clients and spending time with my children are my favorite things to do. My only indulgence is the occasional travels I so love to undertake and those I can allow myself as an incentive for a good year’s work.
I know you too have a very similar, simple and inexpensive yet fulfilling to do list. If yes, then ask yourself do we really have to remain a victim of excessive consumerism? I know my answer and I am all set to pause, rethink and reprioritize my life.
And then I won’t have to sigh and say, “How I wish to be in a different time and place.”