I am in my 40’s now. Monday through Friday – as I am sure you can all relate – I am busy getting my kids to and from school; while they are doing their work, I do mine. Between work, a 1 hour commute each way, and taking the boys to school, my husband is out of the house for 10+ hours at work per day.
This is life…in the big city. I wonder how often we ask ourselves: What our existence should be like? What were we born to do? What is natural for us to do? What do we love doing?
We often get so caught up doing the life stuff – work, school, shopping – that we don’t ask ourselves what else could our existence be like? What if our kids were not in school? Imagine with me, that possibility. What else could our kids do if they were not spending those hours away from home? What books could they read, forts could they build, long breakfasts could they eat? Now, I know there are many benefits our society receives from having an educated population. There are many ways to learn though.
We did not come out of the womb driving Toyotas. Nor did we get birthed with a pencil and a piece of lined paper in our hand. Nor, was our first nourishment fresh meats cut up in styrofoam plastic wrapped trays or bags of ready to eat washed lettuce. These parts of our lives are the place and time we find ourselves in technologically now; none of them are how we must live our lives.
The catalyst for my questioning comes after touring the Magdalenian caves at Font-de-Gaume in the Dordogne region in France, near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. Created 17,000 years ago, these caves are the last polychromatic caves open to visitors in France. While walking through the caves, I found myself wondering about the painters that created them. What type of work did they do? Were they content? Were they worried about the future? Why did they create these paintings?
There are no answers to many of these questions. The experts have hypotheses, but they cannot really say with certainty much about the ancient culture. The one life we can say things for certain about is our own life. While it is difficult and most likely not very possible to just sell our house and go live in a forest and off what nature provides; it is possible to spend some time – even a little time – and consider what our life could be like. Are we involved in work that is fulfilling, at least some of the time? If not, what would be fulfilling? What kinds of food are we eating? How do we wish we could eat? What places do we feel a calling to visit?
What were we born to do? I know – if we never stop to consider these issues — we will live our life just as every other person does. We all have a unique creative offering within us. Just as the Magdalenians took the time to create beauty, art that continues to be enjoyed today, what will be our legacy?