Life in the slow lane is a mirage…

This is a cautionary tale for those seeking rest and quiet after "retirement".

You are feeling burnt out by years on the road or in meetings and you want to settle down

You find a suitably remote village with enough modern conveniences to make life comfortable, a mix of interesting people who treat strangers kindly, and enough community spirit to show that life is good and can get better and you think you have found heaven on earth…

Hah! You have no idea what is waiting for you!

You spend the first months or even a year puttering around town drinking coffee in the mornings at the local gathering spots. You attend potluck dinners, house concerts, and other local events. Perhaps you find a church you like and join that.

You get to know people who have as much or more talent than you do and you start to understand the things that are needed and wanted to make the community an even better place to live in.

You volunteer and help out in some area where your expertise can really make a difference and you are pleasantly surprised by the favorable reaction you get. You volunteer on another project or two and you find that there are a core of dedicated people who have been working long and hard to make the community what it is today.

You realize that these are the people whose opinions matter to you and you volunteer for a few more projects because you really enjoy working with people who have positive goals and who are dedicated as any professional in the business world you came from.

You find more of these dedicated people and join them in worthwhile projects. You feel good about your contributions and feel a growing sense of purpose because you are working shoulder to shoulder with people who you respect and can rely on.

You eventually discover a few nay-sayers who criticise everything you do, but the dedicated movers and shakers on the local scene let you know that these grumblers have been voicing the same garbage since long before you arrived. This puts the criticism into proper perspective and you keep on doing what seems right.

You learn more about the community and its needs and you find yourself involved in supporting more worthwhile activities than you can imagine.

Your personal activities like blogging, or painting, or generating income start to get pushed out of the picture while you work to meet community-oriented deadlines that you have signed up for.

You don’t even have time for morning coffee at the local gathering spots!

If you are experiencing this, take another look at your purposes in life before your friends and family have to intervene. A 24 x 7 workload is not good for living things, whether in the city or out in the country.

This situation is very real to me, as I am in the midst of gently extricating myself from some of this community-related activity. The activity is all worthwhile, but I need to find a better balance between personal needs and external needs. It’s not easy.

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