Yesterday I felt I needed a dose of Dan Price. I love the person that is Dan Price. I see him as a companion on the same sort of path I have found in life. I discovered him when I first got into drawing, and found that he had a ‘zine called Moonlight Chronicles, and a book by the same name. I never ordered the ‘zine but the book was full of similar material – an illustrated diary of his wanderings around Oregon and beyond, through mountains and towns, with his simple words, drawings and photographs.
He stopped doing the Chronicles recently, after about 20 years self-publishing them, and now spends his time playing the hang drum and wandering, publishing photos occasionally on his Instagram account.
Sometimes I feel I need a dose of Dan, so I check his photo stream to see if there’s anything new. But really it’s because I need a dose of someone that’s living a simple life, mostly outside, and being free enough to dedicate his life to doing what he wants – right now playing music.
Catching myself getting a ‘dose of Dan’ yesterday afternoon, I realised I was just living vicariously his life of freedom. As an outsider again looking at something better. “How stupid!” I thought. If I want to be back on track as a companion of Dan’s again, all I have to do is turn off this darn computer, and get outside. Get up into the hills every day to see the wild flowers. Draw… play the guitar… do whatever it is that constitutes that free and fine life for me, instead of watching others do it. Then I can go and see what Dan’s up to later on as a fellow friend, not as someone doing something better than I am.
So, I switched off the laptop, and headed out into the garden to tend the plants for an hour. Later I played the guitar. This morning I headed up to the hills to walk amongst the wildflowers. Much better. Now I like to think of my friend Dan as a companion again, doing similar things and having a good time.
I hope you are too. It’s so easy to watch others from the outside and think ‘I wish… I wish…’. And it’s just as easy to have a good time doing pretty much what they are doing too, or a good enough version of it. So may I not live vicariously the fine lives of others, but be inspired by them as companions, to get out and carry on with this fine life of mine right now. It’s all out there!
6 thoughts on “Don’t live vicariously, live.”
It may be that not many people live like this, but it might be more than you know. If one DOES live like this, think like this, is like this but doesn’t make it publicly known, you don’t. Know that is.
Quite right. It’s more a reflection on me, as always, in this case that I often find myself sitting inside looking at what others are doing when I’m better off outside doing it!
I love the fact that people don’t make their free lives publicly known too. I often think of having “a year offline” where I can live without writing about it, but I like writing about life too much!
Such a good reminder for all of us. Thank you, Ben.
Nature is always healing for the restless heart but actively trying to help the less fortunate often proves to be a bettermway to feel needed and thus happy.
Thanks Barbara Ma. Very true.
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