The Shared Economy
Thursday, August 11, 2015
3 days before my 25th wedding anniversary I had the good fortune to work with 14 young people in their mid 20’s who had gathered at a cottage on Kenisis Lake to celebrate the upcoming marriage of their friends. I happened to arrive to lead the workshop just as a massive thunder and lightning storm rolled through. The 15 of us sat together on our yoga mats listening to the storm as it came in and then we moved to the sound of the rain and the thunder. As the class progressed the group realized how special these 2 hours were. I think they will remember this gathering on this lake under the storm in the cozy cottage for a long time. They have a great story to tell about their wedding party weekend getaway. I told them about my own wedding evening and how we gathered on a farm under a big tent in Orillia and later in the evening the northern lights came out and they were bright for hours. Every year when we reminisce about our wedding our friends talk about how special that night was under the bright sky. I shared my secrets to a good marriage with this lovely group of young people. From my perspective my husband and I have made it through all of our ups and downs because of our shared values around friendship, family, simplicity and the acceptance that there are times when we are just uncomfortable and it will pass. As I watched these 14 young people I encouraged them to prioritize collecting adventures and stories and looking after their friends and family as opposed to trying to collect stuff. Stuff doesn’t last. Stories do. And the more stories and adventures you have together, the deeper the friendships become. And those friendships helps raise kids (and look after aging parents now) and support each other through the birth of children, changing jobs, illness and all the unexpected things that life will bring. Everyone will be uncomfortable at times. Everyone will struggle with loss or illness or tragedy. Your friends (and family) will help you get through it. And I suggested that everyone does not need to own everything. Don’t sacrifice your life and health for the glory of owning it all. One couple needs a rototiller, one needs a trailer to move manure and stuff to the dump. One needs a garage and if you are lucky one couple will have a cottage or a home on a lake. Don’t sacrifice your energy and time thinking you have to own it all. Embrace the shared economy. Share your stuff and you’ll spend less time working to buy everything, and less time looking after everything. You’ll have more time for hanging out and doing the things that fill you up and make you happy. And happy people stay married. Small is beautiful. Less is enough. And no one is perfect. No marriage is perfect. It takes work and dedication to the things that you value most of all. Happy 25th Jim Hopkins. I love you. And thanks to my friends for always being there. We are rich in adventure and friendship.