Growing up I always had this dream, desire, or goal of living on a large plot of land where you cannot see your neighbors and on a night with a new moon have minimal light pollution. e.g. live in the middle of nowhere.
I accomplished this dream by living for two years near Big South Fork Airpark. It was a great experience, ATV trails in my backyard, hiking along a river, living one mile from my plane… The number of outdoor things to do is incredible, with good weather a majority of the year you can enjoy the outdoors a lot. With my house near the edge of a plateau you sit on the deck and watch the spectacular site of the storms rolling in. Even, with all the positives, I have now come to the conclusion, this is what I wanted, not what I need.
Another aspect that I did not account for adequately is a concept I will call Social energy. Social energy comes from a stimulating social environment and interaction. For me, the social interaction aspect is more important to be in person with a large variety of individuals. The online, electronic or other forms just do not “recharge” my batteries the same way. As I look back to the two years in Tennessee, some of the signs of the lack of social energy are now obvious to me. I rarely had the energy to go out, even to the local five star restaurant chain “McDonald’s”. I was doing less and less over time in terms of just socializing with people, I was traveling less, I was going to fewer events, I called people less…. I think when you lack social energy, you can spend hours online searching for affirmation and failing to actually accomplish anything meaningful. On the flip side, when you are filled with social energy, your online social interactions tend to be shorter, more meaningful, and more often.
Paraphrasing Newton’s First law:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force
In life, there is always a natural tendency for most of us to slow down as we age. I got to see the effect of this slowing down earlier then many by living in an absolutely gorgeous area with with no neighbors. I did not account for how much more extroverted than introverted I am; as a result I did not have enough variety of a social interactions to maintain my social energy. I then began to rapidly slow down.
As part of this conclusion, I realized I have always had a series of goals for which I was working toward. They sort of kept me moving forward, instead of letting life leave me behind. Over the two years, as my social energy decreased, I stopped moving forward and I seemed to be losing momentum to get things done.
To help prevent this in the future, I have resurrected a series of mostly random bucket lists I have created in my life (they were collected in email, Google docs, files on my computer….) into a single super long list. They are currently divided into six categories. This is not a static list, it is not a “have to” list, I expect I will add/remove from the list over time as my tastes and desires change (and I grow up, assuming that is possible). Initially, I expect to try and start/complete one item on the list every month or two.