Friday, January 28, 2011

Life is but a dream?

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.
The other day in the lunch room at work, we got into a discussion about this children's song as a metaphor for life. One of my colleagues expressed the opinion that the song is about how our lives are the stream, and even if we turn and paddle against the current, we'll all end up in the same ocean eventually anyway. Another colleague commented, "If that's the case, why bother doing anything?" As often happens with group conversations, the topic split apart into separate dialogues, and I'm not sure where or how it all ended, but that little piece of conversation has been part of my internal moodlings for the past few days.

The idea that we're all rowing our boats gently down the stream of life has a certain appeal. It sounds relaxing, this going with the flow business. But I can't help but wonder how we'll manage if the stream is leading us to Niagara Falls! Let's face it -- a lot of how we live happens in a hurry, without us giving it much thought. We have our routines down, and we rarely question them because they seem to work. But sometimes it's a good idea to wake up from this dream that we call life and examine where the stream seems to be going and how we're getting there.

Here's a pretty cool website for people who are interested in examining where their lifestyle is leading in terms of the earth's future. It offers a quiz that helps to determine the resources needed for our present lifestyles, and shows ways that we can reduce the impact we're having on the planet that sustains us. It's been updated a lot since it first came out in 2002, and while it's still not perfect, it offers an interesting wake up call...

My results say that if everyone lived like I do, we'd need 3.83 planets to sustain the world's population, and I live pretty simply, yikes! How about you?

Even if you've done the quiz before, I'd encourage you to see where your stream/dream is taking you these days. I'd also encourage you to share this link with friends. The more of us who take the quiz and figure out ways to reduce our footprints, the more likely we can imagine Niagara Falls as a sightseeing destination instead of... a transportation route! 

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