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I want everyone to know, that this was not a one-way street of wise, bush-dwelling and sun-tanned 24-year-old telling his old man how to live his life. I've spent the last week since our conversation (mainly during the long bike rides) thinking about this some more.

My thoughts are starting to reach points of conclusion.

The first stems from the fact that the poster-child for Simplicity, namely Thoreau, lived alone with his books and walked alone in the woods. Frankly, if life is only simple when one is alone, than in my opinion, it's not worth living.

Which is connected to the song that came on during my bike-ride this morning: Me and Bobby McGee. The chorus for that song goes a-something like this:
"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose / and nothing's worth nothing, but it's free."
The point is that freedom and simplicity may be 'good', but they are empty, alone and lacking in the vibrancy that a complex life holds.

That being said, I don't want that crazy 7-10 work day that I saw my parents with as I was a child. I don't want to have to fight to keep work and life in focus with each other.

Which leaves us, as always, with the question of balance.

And balance, as always, is relative.

You really only find the middle (or close enough to it) when you look at the extremes. I'm very happy if 7-10 doesn't work for you. And I'm even happier to hear that you aren't planning on becoming a hermit!

Looking forward to your return!

Well Daniel just took the "intelligent progeny" thunder... I was going to reference Thoreau.

The point being, I don't think that you can just live a simple life. And "simple" IS relative. In my current and future career field I'll never be able to have the simplicity my brother enjoys. Then again, I don't enjoy not having toilet paper, either. (Joke.)

The point being, do what makes you happy, even if it makes you crazy sometimes, as long as you have the time for yourself. Like you said, Dad, always know when to step back.

Glad you chimed in, Sarah! It real does come down to informed choices that we all make as individuals (or as part of a unit).

And we shall not get into Senegalese bathroom habits.

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