Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Praise of a Good Fit

Why is it that no matter how many pairs of jeans you have, only one pair fit at any given time?

I've got fat jeans, skinny jeans, farmer jeans (for field work, as if, but they do have tendency to reveal underpants), boot cut jeans, straight leg jeans, boyfriend jeans, dress jeans, high waisted jeans, muffin top jeans, and I've got no jeans to wear when the one pair is in the wash.

At a recent party I had a chat with someone who had made a drastic life change-- she walked away from a tenure track job and a new home with the consent of her spouse who was also employed which can be tricky in university towns. They chucked this seemingly perfect fit to return to Athens. Though there are moments of being tired of rehabbing an old house (there are no new houses on the East side in Athens), they are daily happier than before despite not having the perfect jobs, the finished house, and two secure career paths. It seems so bold and yet as she said, "Life is short."

How often do we choose bold happiness over safe misery?

Athens doesn't fit everyone. In fact a lot of folks overlook this place for it being in the hills of southeastern Ohio which is known for hunting, outhouses, and poverty. Athens is an island of blue in a sea of red, given that it is really the town that votes and thinks in a more progressive manner than the surrounding area which is why you see the contrasting political views standout so vividly on maps-- consider local initiatives for mental health care here compared to many other places and education levies that consistently pass. Is it the undue influence of the higher than average educated folks packed in and about the area?

Don't underestimate the farmer at the market. I've noted that the Pig Man wraps his bacon with the Wall Street Journal. I've listened to community activist work the market stalls one by one on issues that take time to explain, and people listen. Artist seem to be percolating allover as well. Social worker by day is pounding jewelry by night. Business developer by day is throwing pottery on weekends. Marketing spokeswoman sings her soul at local events.

Friends in Kamakura (Japan) said it was full of power spots. I wasn't sure what they meant. They explained that Tokyo-ites visited the known power spots to siphon off creative energy that was abundantly present in these type of local sites. I asked for site examples. Kamakura is home to over seventy temples and shrines and some of these were among the known power spots. They listed off some of the sites which I knew well, Hachiman-gu, Hokoku-ji. I could only nod in consent as there was something to these particular places, perhaps a sense of well-being. I can't debunk the power spots, but I can't say that I was unaffected by them either.

Sometimes there is only one pair of jeans that fit and they make you feel like a rockstar. Sometimes a place is a power spot.
These hills aren't for everyone, but for some there is no substitute