I think I’m reverting to my roots. Born a couple of years after my parents moved out of the communal house they were sharing with a few dozen other people, I entered the world just as Carter’s solar panels were about to give way to Reaganomics. There are multiple photos of me playing naked in our back yard garden. When my more conventional grandmother joined me in the sandbox for a tea party, I offered things like bancha tea, mochi, and nori rolls; she didn’t know what I was talking about. I carried my lunch to school in a basket, until I was nine.
Growing up on tofu, brown rice, and kale (way before kale was cool), my sister and I pretended carob was chocolate and went a bit crazy when we got our hands on the real thing. We played with hand made toys, didn’t watch TV until we were almost teenagers, and to this day are pop culturally illiterate when it comes to the entire decade of the 1980’s. Luckily for us, our school supported such weirdness and it was only upon graduating into the larger world that I realized it had been a unique upbringing.
When I moved out and started to create a life of my own, I realized how much extra work my parents’ choices created and I frequently took the easy way instead. I bought prepared food, never baked my own bread, didn’t have a garden, and slowly forgot about all of it. Or, I figured it would magically happen somewhere down the line.
I began working in the film industry shortly after graduating from college and quickly traded all of my free time for the craziness that comes with the industry. Keeping plants alive, not to mention a garden, when working 80 hours a week, was difficult to say the least. I ate three meals a day from the caterers or craft service and, though not wanting to complain about being served what for many is a feast, every single day, it was heavy comfort food, designed to keep the crew’s moral up, not to be healthy. There were days I’d give anything for brown rice, tofu, and kale.
Over the past year, several of my friends and family members have had babies and several others have been diagnosed with cancer. These are only connected in that they both made me stop and think about how I’m living my life and what my priorities are. I realized that the garden and bread baking weren’t going to just happen and that my own health was beginning to suffer from lack of sleep, stress, and poor diet. And, so, over the past year, I have taken a whole bunch of time off to begin to remember how I used to live.
In one of my recent spring cleaning blitzes, I took all of the household cleaners, that had ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, to the household chemical recycling facility. I was left with vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, and a multi purpose cleaner from Seventh Generation that seemed a waste to get rid of, though I’m sure vinegar and baking soda would do the trick.
I planted my 8’x2′ raised bed garden with kale, lettuce, carrots, and beets and am waiting until it’s a little warmer to add the tomatoes and herbs.
By working only part time (still 40 hours a week!) on a few TV shows, rather than on long movies, I’ve had time to read, work in the yard, and try to get my health back to where it should be. Because I’m not completely sleep deprived and stressed out for months on end, my cravings for sugar and caffeine have gone way down. To build my adrenals back up, I drink water with lemon throughout the day and put apple cider vinegar on my veggies to aid in digestion.
I laugh to think that I’m reverting to my hippy past, but really all I’m doing is following knowledge that was common sense until only very recently. My grandparents would never have thought of themselves as hippies, yet they understood how to make things from scratch, grow food in the ground, fix things that broke, and to make do with a fraction of what is now considered normal. And I see the contentment that comes from being capable and in touch with ones environment, rather than dependent on corporate ideas of what you need or should want.
As I think about our environment, read news about the increasingly imbalanced climate, hear about the industrial food machine, and think about all of the babies I know who have just been or are about to be born, I want to revert to my hippy roots. I want to do anything I can to make the world, and myself, healthier and happier.