From The Center for the Poor-MSC (http://www.centerforthepoormsc.com/what-it-means-to-live-alternatively/)
The interdependence of lifestyle and health creates a challenge for the contemporary communities. Our stay-at-home and binge-watch practices, sale obsessions, and Internet slavery can make us lonely unhealthy people if we keep doing this for the rest of our lives.
We need a good rest and we have to enjoy life as much as we can. How then can we strike a balance with the need to connect with nature?
No, it’s not asking you to become a hermit somewhere up in the mountains. Although, it’s a viable option. Alternative lifestyle generally means detaching yourself from the mainstream way of life that keep you from being one with Mother Nature. It can also be about living in a subculture, which we’ll file as a to-be-discuss entry for now.
There are a lot of activities defining an alternative lifestyle. For beginners like us, let’s not opt for something very drastic. We’ll focus on something that we can do right now. Here are a few answers and enterprise to what it means to live alternatively.
To go off the grid
This is the epitome of living alternatively.
Our world is a complex system of people, nature, and behavior.
So, you will have so many options on how you want to go off the grid. Some of you might want to join intentional communities, where people create new neighborhoods based on a specific belief, purpose or way of living. There are boundless varieties of these communities from religious groups, political activists and environmental enthusiasts among other communes.
Imagine living in a place where you share the same values with your neighbors. Isn’t is appealing?
Being real about it though, not all of us has the luxury of leaving everything behind. We are bounded by the responsibilities and commitments that we cannot simply overlook.
This, however, does not mean that you can never do the same. During your downtime, you can always get out from the bustling metro to the tranquil flavors of the countryside. Visit your hometown or take a tour on that island you’ve put off for so long. Or if time isn’t on your side, redefine a staycation by going on a self-retreat to the nearest retreat center in the city.
To be self-sufficient
To be self-sufficient means relying on our own resources for a functional household. We don’t have to go far to build self-reliant homes. In fact, cities have become open to green dwellings with natural sources for electricity, and to power heating and cooling systems. So, there’s really no excuse for us.
We begin by identifying which natural resource we have is abundant. The most common is the solar energy from the sun. This involves solar panels installation. Experts on solar powers is not a rarity, I’m sure you can tap their assistance to help you out. It may be a little expensive, but you can save tons in the long run.
If you have rich soil or has enough space to plant, you can transform your backyard into a mini farm. In here, you’ll be able to grow your own organic food supply and even raise a few livestock. But, before having pigs and chickens strutting in your yard, know the legal requirements and specifications considering that the urban is not as open and forgiving od the byproduct of these activities.
For those who are ready to commit to larger things, you can go all out by creating sustainable water sources for non-potable water use. There are two prevalent configurations for sustainable water: rainwater harvesting and a greywater system. The former is the technique of catching rainwater into a basin and used for irrigation and household consumption. Greywater on the other hand, is reusing water from shower, sinks, washing machines to water plants and for toilets.
To practice minimalism
“Take only what you need.”
This one can a bit tricky. We may not be chronic hoarders. But, we tend to associate our things with feelings that we can’t let some of them go. What’s more terrible is that we can’t seem to stop buying more.
Let’s start with the basics— your clothing. I’m guilty of this myself. We keep clothes that we don’t really use anymore because it’s cute, it’s a childhood favorite and what not. It’s time to let these go (maybe donate them). This will save us decision-making time when getting ready and declutter our closets at the same time.
Now we move to other parts of the home. Your kitchen holds a lot of utensils that might just blind you when the light hits them wrong. Give away those that you don’t use often and keep only the essentials.
Don’t be discouraged that your house is too big. Take it one step at a time and continue moving from one room to another until you’ve extracted all that you won’t need.
There is no universal way of doing these things. You have to find methods that are effective for you. This also won’t always be easy. It will be a matter of choice, discipline, and commitment. But, once you’ve started, it is already half the battle.
Photo © Joshua Newton on Unsplash