Three years ago I had a thriving recording studio and live sound company. I had a touring band and also played with some of the world’s most well known musicians. I had a house and enough money to be comfortable for quite a while. I had a future in mind, and though my aspirations and means were great it all meant nothing in the end. I’ve always tried to stick to the shadows, even when life threw me into the limelight. I became a contradiction, an invisible man who forced himself to be part of the type A world around me, ducking in and out as it suited me.
The reality of how spoiled us Americans really are doesn’t set in so easily in today’s global world. Much of the modern world enjoy the same comforts with relative standards of living. It was only when I got to one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in that it started to sink in….not at first…it wasn’t the obvious things…it was the background, random things. Ireland is cheaper in some ways, yes, but not many. When I think of how I would complain about being taxed to death, I laugh now. Granted, the taxes for small businesses are on level, but for private individuals in Ireland, taxes are much higher. Sales taxes across the board in Ireland are much higher. Medical expenses I’ll get into in another post, but for me, in Ireland they are astronomically higher, for others, drastically lower.
Being able to get anything you want at any time of the day or night at low cost and great variety is awesome, let’s just face it. The downside is that with all the cheap technology, services, food, etc… it takes away from social and family life. It’s a hard thing to explain but the world seems like a much smaller place here. I know it’s a tiny island. I know it’s a less diverse place. I always saw most other Americans as ignorant to the world around them, and while many in the center and south of the country stay ignorant for their own backwards reasons, the rest are only ignorant of culture because north America is so removed from the rest of the world. Europe and Asia have so many old cultures packed into what seems to be a sardine can. America and Canada are very similar despite Canadian protest. South America and central America contain many countries, but with similar cultures. In the golden age after the second world war, America and the Soviets divided the world in three pieces…the first world (America and allies), the communist countries such as the USSR, China, and allies, and third world countries that remained neutral. These third world countries like Ireland didn’t necessarily suffer overtly, but didn’t get brought into the wings of the allied powers. When the European Union came about, it began to level the playing field a bit and afforded Ireland and other European countries a lifestyle more “on par” with the first world powers.
Now that we are up to date…Ireland is still a very old fashioned country in so many ways. It’s almost like it was dragged from the 1950s to the new millennium through a wormhole. In some ways, the country is very progressive. Gay marriage is legal and even old fashioned Irish mammies voted for it. Abortion is illegal…aside from hot button issues…technology is advanced in most sectors and homes, yet, for a country where energy is expensive, many homes are still heated and run by very inefficient technology. Ireland for all it’s accepting nature is still a very homogeneous country. The racism is not dark and hateful, it’s just innocent and unintentional for the most part. If you were to talk about “black babies” or make a big deal about a black person in the United States…you’d be in a load of trouble. Here, in the small town cultie Ireland, or bogger territory, there are people that have never seen anyone with black skin in person, yet though media and culture, it’s not a touchy subject. There are so many strange dichotomies here…one minute you’re in modern Europe, leaps ahead of America, the next you’re in The Quiet Man.
Three years ago I would never have thought I’d be out of my NYC studio space, living in a small Irish cottage with an immersion, heated by peat…yet here I am… an American used to getting ANYTHING at any time of day or night, cheap and easy… I do love the simpler life, but I grew accustomed to having more, even when living in rural America. I could go on about every tiny difference, but in the end the bottom line is that Americans are spoiled…as the Irish say: “spoilt for choice.”. So instead of taking an uber to my favorite restaurant, or grabbing metro north home at 2am and then stopping at any range if 24 hour stores before going home…I walk into town during standard business hours and get necessities and order everything else online for double the price of what it would cost in the states. I’m fine with it! In fact…I love that it’s making me frugal and able to concentrate on important things instead of just things. I am no longer working 18 hours a day and obsessed with money and achieving a lifestyle I had or wanted.
The Future isn’t what it used to be…
You are always changing and the most important thing to me is to not hold onto the pictures I have held in my mind, or my past.
Let it all go if you can. Find new things, even old dreams, but get out, shake off your roots, and RE-pot yourself every ten years or so!