So, where to begin? seeing as i’m the one at home barraged in against the december cold and Ed is off working, i will do some typing about me! Having grown up in Stroud, I moved back a few years ago after living in Cheltenham and Cardiff. Nasty cities full of cars and rushing people… well that’s what i think anyway! It is amazing how isolated you can feel in a place like Cheltenham as a creative person. I found it hard, in 6 years of living there, to feel part of any real community, artistic or otherwise.
right let’s keep this short! I moved back to Stroud and very quickly found myself totally immersed in the wonderful community. I became part of Transition Stroud, became the textiles group coordinator and revelled in the amazing discussions and wonderful contacts at the general meetings. It was such an eye opener to be amongst large groups of people thinking simillarly about the world, life, the environment etc as me. I guess i had always been quite green, being brought up very influenced by my german mother (germans are generally much more into recylcing, organic food, natural health care) but suddenly i was with activists and passionate people! I went to the Richard Heinberg talk at the Subscription rooms and that was the big turning point for me, not so much what he talked about because i was already aware of peak oil, but rather the open discussion afterwards in which someone asked whether in a post oil world (possibly no plastic money, no banks etc) we will have to reconsider what ‘success’ is. Without our jobs, our career ladder, our cars, our household luxuries, endless shopping trips to make us feel that we are successful… how would we define success?
When i was living in Cheltenham i worked in a very nice classy clothes shop to fund my degree. i worked there feeling disheartened and out of place, selling hundreds of pounds of clothes to women who would come back the next week to buy more. I would buy new outfits each month partly under pressure to do so by the shop but mostly to satisfy the urge to have something new, to make myself pleased in some way, to make my work seen justified.
And funnily enough, this may make me seem a little wierd, but since being in stroud and living in a healthier way all round, i started to realise that when i was shopping i could get that rush of ‘owning something new’ by picking stuff up and walking round the shop with it, then putting it back. yes, maybe it’s just me! but i found more often than not that when i left the shop i felt relieved that i hadn’t bought anything.
So to cut a long ramble short, i have worked for the last three years to reduce my financial working hours and up my alternative working hours (gardening, allotment, studio, reading, making things for people). and my simply doing nothing hours. life is too short to waste it, but maybe daydreaming, lazing about or resting isn’t time wasting. maybe it is one of the most important things we can do…