Saturday, September 5, 2009

How To Live Okie In A Mad, Mad World

Okie is a state of mind that runs counter to the rushing society that we're all caught up in these days.

Ever been to Oklahoma? You will find that as soon as you cross the line to the Sooner State, things seem to slow down. No kidding. People talk slower, they smile a lot, cowboys are everywhere in their hats and boots, and pick-up trucks are the ride of choice. You hear "yes ma'am" and "yes sir" a lot. Visitors think they've arrived in a new world.

Now, the old song Okie From Muskogee might have been a little off the mark, because I'm pretty sure that a few people DO smoke a little in Muskogee, but the song got things right in that life is different. And not in a bad way.

Living Okie is not necessarily better for everyone. Living NYC or living LA has its perks, too. Life at a fast speed gets you more, quicker. And that's not bad, either. But if you have a desire to slow down and experience a little more of what's flying by, read on.

You can live Okie wherever in the world you happen to call home. And you don't even have to wear boots and a hat!

Slow down. WAAAYYY down. Cut some unnecessary things out of your life. Do your kids really need those piano AND dance lessons right now? Do you really have to work those extra hours at the office?

Smile more. Listen more. Talk less. This is harder for some than others, but you learn a lot more and people naturally gravitate to listeners. You will start to collect a lot more friends.

Go fishing. Yes, fishing. And I don't mean rent a big party boat and glance at your line between flirting and digging into the avocado dip. Find a pond somewhere, sit on the bank with your kids, put a worm on the line and watch a red and white bobber while shooing off curious cows. It's called making memories.

Make home-made ice cream. There are really simple, no-cook recipes, and you can pick up an ice cream freezer at any discount store. Put it on the front porch while it freezes and invite whatever neighbors are walking by to join the party.

Ride a horse. You can find a place (usually near a state park) that rents out horses to ride a trail around the scenic areas. Now, these aren't exactly spirited broncs, they're generally a little long in the tooth and extremely slow and gentle, but if you aren't skilled in riding, it's probably just what you need. You'll get a taste of what riding a horse is like, and you'll experience a lot of natural scenic beauty and peace as well.

Start a backyard vegetable garden and visit the local farmers' market. Learn some basic canning - there's nothing more therapeutic than growing and preserving your own food. It's hard to explain, but I think it appeals to our basic instincts.

Learn to piece together a quilt. The actual quilting is a little more difficult, but if you piece the top of the quilt, you can find someone at your local fabric or hobby store that will quilt it for a modest fee. Sewing a quilt that will keep your family members warm will make you feel so good.

Then there are a few optional steps, like saying "y'all" a lot, eating chicken fried steak, drinking iced tea and pulling for the Oklahoma Sooners during football season.But seriously, slowing down and experiencing what's around you could be just what the doctor ordered. It definitely can't hurt, and it's kinda fun.

What do you think? Agree or not?

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