Never before in the history of the world have so many people lived so close together. Modern society has shunned the idea of space, privacy, and solitude and elevated the idea that stress and busyness are worth pursuing above all else.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with building community and engaging the people around you, we often do so at the expense of our health and sanity. We’re so focused on the approval and acceptance of others – on the concept of chasing and achieving the American Dream – that we overwhelm ourselves with debt, busy work, and meaningless possessions. And, for the most part, it’s all a farce.
What good is a college degree, if it merely means you have to pay back $100,000 in debt and spend the rest of your life working a job you don’t like? Why purchase an expensive house that you can barely afford to keep up when you spend more time at the office than relaxing with your family at home? Why fill your schedule with social commitments, if it means shunning your family?
We don’t spend much time asking questions like these because we don’t want to confront the reality that all of our stress, anxiety, work, and achievements are essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
Life isn’t meaningless – but the lives we choose to live in mainstream society are. While not for everyone, you may be able to rediscover the meaning of life by living off the grid – permanently or for a period.
Here are some good reasons you should give it a try:
1. Better Quality of Life
How many possessions do you currently own? Believe it or not, the average American home has some 300,000 individual items. The vast majority of these items are cheap, flimsy, mass-produced products that have no real value or quality.
When you live off the grid, you own fewer things. But the ones you do own are of higher quality. For example, you might not have a 7,000 square foot mansion when you live in the woods, but a 1,500 square foot cabin will have more craftsmanship and character. This teaches you to take care of the things you own.
2. Acquisition of New Skills
You don’t need to be Bear Grylls to start living in the wilderness on your own. While it helps to have a basic understanding of some outdoor skills, the beauty of going off the grid is that you quickly acquire new skills through trial and error.
3. Economic Freedom
When you go off the grid, money problems go away. The focus is no longer on paying down debt, increasing income, budgeting, saving for retirement, or stressing out over holiday spending.
Instead, your only focus is on food, shelter, warmth, and happiness. Meaningless work goes out to the door, and every action you perform has direct and tangible value. This leads to a much greater sense of satisfaction.
4. Chance to be Still
Most people never get more than 60 seconds of silence in a single day. They wake up with an alarm clock, surround themselves with technology throughout the day, and go to sleep with the TV on.
When was the last time you sat and enjoyed an extended period of silence? When you’re off the grid, you’re free to be silent and still.
5. Greater Health and Well-Being
Living off the grid removes you from pollution, processed foods, harmful toxins and chemicals, and all of the other health hazards of modern life. As a result, you’ll find yourself feeling healthier and happier.
Get Off the Grid
It’s important to note that living off the grid isn’t for everyone. There are certainly benefits to formal society with laws, rules, money, and expectations. However, to assume this is the only way to live is foolish and misguided.
By living off the grid for a period of time, you can rediscover who you are and put your priorities back into alignment. At that point, you may find that you’re ready to reintegrate into society. Or, you may discover that you’re happier than you’ve ever been and choose to continue living independently of industrialized pressures. You won’t know until you try.