Off the Grid

Off-the-GridI can’t help but mention again how fortunate we are to have the pleasant weather on the 3rd day of January. I mentioned something to someone several days ago about how the weather was about 20+ years ago. It was almost like clock-work to find that in and around the last weeks of December and the first weeks of January, we would experience bitter cold days and nights along with an abundance of snow. I recall those days very well because that was the time we were preparing for year-end reports and extended amounts of time at work. Too often I remember showing homes around Christmas and New Years where the days were barely tolerable and the evening showings brutally cold. Now that I think about it, there aren’t that many people wanting to look at homes after 7:00 pm anymore. Perhaps they’re too busy with other things to schedule appointments so late.

I had a delightful conversation today with two people; one of whom I sold a home to about four years ago. They are very down to earth and tell it like it is without any soft-peddling around touchy subjects. She said one of her friends who has a large extended family and has for years, invited everyone to her home for Christmas dinner and likely most of the rest of the day. She said her elderly friend noticed several years ago how so many of her guests along with their children would bring along their smart phones or tablets with which to entertain themselves on the sidelines when they were supposed to be enjoying the company of their relatives of which most they had not seen since the last Christmas gathering.

This clever woman knew how to fix that problem. The following Christmas after everyone arrived, she took a basket out of a cabinet and walked around and collected from everyone their electronic gadgets and told them they would be returned upon their leave. It was a bit tense that first Christmas, but to her delight, at all the subsequent Christmas gatherings, the guests knew the protocol and likely found themselves truly having a great time with those around them. I extend a great big “bravo” to that matriarch for taking a stand in her home, and likely by her actions helped to keep her family connected.

Someone was at my office yesterday and mentioned something that I thought quite interesting since it was coming from the mouth of a twenty-something. The remark was, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could live as much off the grid as possible?” Perhaps there are those in the crowds of youth that are now considering the fact that they really don’t have to have all the modern conveniences–especially the electronic gadgets.

Too often people think living off the grid is becoming a hermit living in the woods and eating berries and nuts while cuddling up in a one room cabin with only a fireplace for light and warmth. Not so I say. The modern day living-off-the-grid people are those who prioritize their basics, decide what’s crucial for living, and all else frivolous.

Every time I find someone making a sacrifice of living without something nearly everyone else has, gives me hope that there is a counter-balance of sorts emerging in our culture. Let’s all make time to consider what we can remove from the grid in our lives.