Our nation looks stressed out. And among the most at-the-brink are lawyers and law students. Practicing law and even learning about it for three years are life lived in dog years.
As for those of us outside the legal loop, so many have become downright overwhelmed by social pressures and the increased difficulty to survive financially.
So, it's no surprise that the concept of living off the grid is becoming a popular fantasy for those still embedded in life-as-it-is. The good news for lawyers and law students is that it possible to partially exist outside the rigid norms of society and the ethos of capitalism.
The book "The Stranger in Woods" has brisk sales. It chronicles the real life of a man who pulled off living as a hermit in Maine for 27 years. But, that's not the role model for most lawyers and law students, of course.
Today, The New York Times has a feature on those living off the grid on the northwest coast of the state of Washington. The influential Drudge Report linked to it. And the lives of some of those might resonate with lawyers and law students.
The article describes men and women living in various degrees of self-sufficiency.
There is the extreme category. They actually live off the land and have made their location so hidden that it would be difficult to find them. They constructed their own primitive way of managing human waste. Clothes aren't necessary. They might not have much interaction with others. But as in all societies, even ancient ones, mankind must be a bit social to survive.
There is also the model lawyers and law students can adopt. They have put together just enough of a life off the grid to escape what they perceived as wrong with socialization and capitalism. They can journey back to places such as Seattle to work, attend school, or have a second home for more creature comforts.
For socialization, their common beef is body shame. In normal society, there are myriad taboos associated with the human body. Only recently have there been more direct commercials for products to clean up after defecating. The promotions used to be indirect, as with begging Mr. Whipple not to squeeze the Charmin.
As for capitalism, who hasn't had it with that system which seems to be built on making everyone feel less-than. In Manhattan, there is always someone with more wealth, more power, more influence, more sex, and more followers on Twitter.
Last weekend I drove around rural parts of Pennsylvania. I gazed longingly at the simple cabins tucked back from civilization. I regretted never learning survivalist skills. No, I couldn't make it out there.
However, I did flee the strict codes of conduct and the financial rat race of the New York Metro area. That was April 2014. In many ways, here in Eastern Ohio, I am still tethered to the grid. Nevertheless, I seem to have a greater sense of well-being than in pre-2014.
For example, my communications boutique roared back. I sell better because I'm not so tense. In addition, I have come to like myself. Self-hate is a nasty side effect of capitalism.
Traffic is up on my three syndicated blogs. There are more paid placements of sponsored content and links.
I dodged the Type 2 diabetes bullet.
I take pride in catching the big sales at Goodwill. My homerun had been two classic dolls for under 10 bucks.
I have been able to sock away funds in retirement accounts.
I purged from my network those who no longer belonged in my life - a changed one. Instead of hating them, I position and package them as my "teachers." What they taught me was that I had a perfect right to run from toxic human beings.
The rescue dog, who used to bite and more, stopped all that.
Blessed have been those of us able to detach, even a little, from what socialization and capitalism have hardened into during the second decade of the 21st century.
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