Home Commentary Off the grid — an interpretation of my life that could’ve been

Off the grid — an interpretation of my life that could’ve been

by Juliette Palin October 19, 2021
Off the grid — an interpretation of my life that could’ve been

A life sans capitalism

All around, people are giving in to the Pit: the notion that working and participating in capitalist society will bring you joy and fulfillment. An endless downward cycle that leads human creatures into meaningless lives where their psyche will serve as tasteless grub for said Pit — or capitalistic societal structure — whatever you want to call it.

But I’m better than all those other people. I saw through the Pit, and said HELLLLLL no! I was going to live my dream life, even if it meant cutting myself off from society, since there is no way to function in it without giving in to the Pit. So I left and began my better life.

No need for an undergraduate degree, no more overpriced productivity-inducing coffee, no more jobs, no more expectations to shower every day or to wear pants all the time… In this oasis away from the Pit you call society, I can live out my days without the tight shackles of today’s normal.

You know what I mean, right? Life is just time you have on Earth, and for some reason, we all think it needs to be filled with what we perceive as ‘meaningful careers that will be ‘impactful’ in some way’. Why can’t we just forget about government, money, material goods, and why can’t we just live?

I know it’s more complicated than that, but hear me out.

My entire life I’ve seen my parents accomplish great things, and now I live with my — amazing — but very put-together sister, who at 22 has a full time job and an in-home office. I’ve felt the need to do something big with my life, or comparable at least. But the truth is I discovered my real passion, the true love of my life, one sunny day when I was eight years old.

I was running through a field in Kathmandu, Nepal, when all of a sudden we stumbled upon some baby goats. These tiny little baby goats would run around my sister and I, jumping into our arms… That was the best day of my life. But now, I sit sulking in my apartment thinking of the good ol’ days.

Why can’t I live in a small, run-down home with a couple of goats for my cheese addiction, a cow and some chickens, and a beautiful garden? Why aren’t these the skills I am teaching myself if these are my aspirations? Maybe because my mind has been skewed by what we are all expected to become — workers that feed the PIT!

Better yet, why can’t I camp? I’ll live off the land! I don’t care that it’s -30 C  for seven months out of the year in Quebec, I can do it! I just have to learn how to build a shelter and make a fire out of nothing, maybe make some clothes out of raw materials… easy-peasy! And of course, you can always go warm up in a gas station… it counts, right?

Maybe I’m just a crazy burnout who wants to drop out of life and responsibilities — that is a very likely possibility.

Or maybe we all feed into a meaningless Pit of lies — one that makes us believe that if we just work hard, make money, and save money, our lives will work out. We will buy homes one day, and settle down with our soulmates. But in reality, these things are rare. Most people — despite having done everything right — still don’t have the luxury to settle down for a happy, fulfilling life.

Most people face a lifetime of capitalism-centric society without reaping any of the so-called benefits — working to climb the ladder until you reach your deathbed, on the off chance you may leave some cash for your descendants. Maybe they will have an easier go at it… or maybe not.

Obviously, not everyone has the ability to drop everything or the luxury of not having to think about the affordability of living off the grid. But sometimes, I find it eerily comforting to think about how meaningless it all is — money, power, government, purpose… makes me feel like it’s okay that I don’t know what to do with my life.

 

Graphic by Madeline Schmidt

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