So this week I shared my fantasy of running away to Pennsylvania and joining the Amish. The idea of a simple lifestyle, low tech and community togetherness is something that really resonates with me. I wonder why there is no Amish community here? Could I start my own Amish commune right here in Geelong? Do they surf?
Fascinated by this culture, I decided to dig a little deeper and do some research. Here’s a few findings…
Generally speaking, the Amish have much lower rates of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease than the general population. Makes sense when you think about it, everyday is a gym day when you’re working the land, they are like the original Cross-Fitters. On average, Amish folk live til 85 years of age, with fewer rates of Alziemer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases thanks to limited exposure to modern conveniences such as wifi. They thrive on a healthy diet of homegrown and locally sourced foods, grown in nutrient rich soils, with an emphasis on seasonal eating. Amish women are phenomenal bakers, seamstresses and gardeners, they actively participate in community events which strengthen social bonds. The men absolutely rock the long beard and bob haircut.
Establishing an Amish gang in downtown Geelong may be somewhat challenging as the lifestyle is deeply rooted in specific cultural, religious and historical contexts. The communities follow a set of traditions that have evolved over centuries in Europe and North America. So although my fantasy may not come to fruition, there are a few things we can all do to become a bit more like the Amish…
– Try putting our phones and tech gadgets away for longer periods of time, does it really matter if we haven’t checked our Instagram feed for a while?
– Connect with our children more, usually happens when the above point is carried out.
– Choose to eat a little better, source locally grown produce or even better try and grow your own!
– Connect more with neighbours and the wider community. Join a group, or start a new hobby. Smile at people when you’re walking down the street, the world could do with an increase in smiles!
– Move your body more. Ditch the car and opt for horse and buggy. Possibly not an option. However, exercise is so good for both our physical and mental health, it helps keep us young and it’s free! Try parking further away from the shops, opt to ride your bike to do some errands or just put on some music at home and dance.
Let’s all try and not get caught up with the business of life. Remember what’s really important, come back to basics, slow down, lean in to community and let’s all try and be a bit more like the Amish (if only for a day).