Stepping Off the Roller Coaster of Life to Enjoy the Simpler Life of the Amish

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Sometimes life feels a little like riding a roller coaster.  It flies too fast at times, out of control, then creeps along as we wait with impatient anticipation and then suddenly everything we feared, or dreaded or longed for comes to an abrupt halt.  We're reminded that life is often out of our control.  It speeds up and slows down and occasionally it is unresponsive to our attempts to control it's path.  Have you ever felt like that?  I'd never ride a roller coaster, but real life sometimes mimics what that ride feels like...bumpy, scary, exhilarating, frightening... and after all the anticipation and's time to get off.

So much of life might be described like this if you think back to your own life experiences...getting through high school, going off to college, sending our kids off to college, embarking on a new career, becoming a parent, facing a medical diagnosis... The list could go on and on...we plan and try to get our ducks in a row but sometimes life just laughs and speeds down it's own route leaving us dazed and confused, scared or even downright deflated.  Life is funny like that.  It doesn't matter if you're young and beginning your life or older and experienced in life's throws curve balls and foul balls and there are days when we strike out.  We all have 'em but luckily we all mostly bounce back and muster up the courage and stamina to step up to the plate again for the next challenge.  When I feel overwhelmed by life, even just a little frazzled and in need of quiet solace, I take to the road to unwind and surround myself with nature, often to places where life is lived not on a roller coaster, but almost in slow motion.  I go to a place where time stands still and life is simple and the noise of the world comes from animals and insects, where cell phones are silenced and politics don't clutter the view.  I go to the Amish community of the Mohawk Valley and immerse my mind in the simple but hardworking life of the Amish.

We had our 9 year old granddaughter, Elena, one day last week and we thought it would be fun to show her how others live....without internet and cell phones, without electricity and cars, where there's no difficulty choosing your outfit for the day and where hard work is a way of life. I wanted her to see that not everyone in the world lives the life, the habits, the 'normal' she's exposed to in her day-to-day life.  I think all of us get so caught up in the daily grind of 'life' that we don't imagine any other way to live.  That's especially so when it comes to modern conveniences, the tools and technology that we take for granted, that make life easier.  A little window into the world of the Amish, especially the local Amish, quickly widens our perspective to a life much different than our own.  Even from a distance, from a passing car, it's easy to see that the life of the Amish is much different than the life we're accustomed to.
We hit the jackpot this day seeing more horse and buggies than we've ever seen in one trip.  Even the occupants that day were varied....a young married couple, a young boy plowing, two young men, a woman.

2019 One Room Schoolhouse

Can you get the idea from these photos that life for these folks might be less preoccupied by trivial stuff like who's said what on Twitter, what a celebrity wore to an awards show, who's having the best back-to-school sales?  I'd like to imagine their lives, though not easy, are more focused on the basics, more focused on building their own lives, more focused on helping others than the lives and priorities we sometimes get caught up in. Riding these roads, I'm reminded life doesn't have to be a thrill ride.  We don't always have to choose to ride on a roller coaster.  Sometimes we can opt for the slower path.  We can sometimes choose to step away from the chaos and take the road less traveled.  We can choose to ignore the distractions of the news, of social media, of the world around us that often chooses negativity and violence.  Ignoring it won't make it stop, but for a brief moment, we can choose not to participate in it.  We can remember that the static, though loud and distracting, isn't the norm, it isn't everything....there is a quiet world, a caring world, a giving world with good people.  We can choose what we think, what we feel and how we live.   For a moment...step off that roller coaster and see your life in slow motion.  Break the chain of doubts, regrets, disappointments and find the confidence to say no to another commitment, more hours at work, more debt than you can handle, and get back to the basics of life.  Slow down and take the dirt road.

Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  Come back soon and don't forget to ....enjoy the ride!
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