By Heartward member Elisa Dalla Vedova
During our last meeting we talked again about the possibility of car-sharing as an important aspect of our project. It's appealing to the councils, to the neighbours, to mother earth.... Less cars, less traffic, less noise, less pollution.
It is a very logical reasoning and it feels good to be part of the solution rather than creating another problem. Certainly, it makes me proud of myself thinking that I will be able to live in a more ecological sustainable way. I can reduce my individualistic needs, honouring the collective, the community, the earth. I want to shift from the 'I' perspective into a 'We' perspective. I want less in my life, declutter, stop chasing the last enticing opportunity without the anxious thought that I will be missing out. By doing that, I hope I will feel more grounded, more present, more attentive to my surroundings and ultimately, to gain more relational quality in my life... within myself, my tribe, my piece of land.
Then I started to feel into what it means to apply car-sharing to my lifestyle. My child wants to go to a schoolfriend playdate. A car might not be available. I want to spontaneously visit a more distant friend. A car might not be available. I forgot to buy that important thing for my child's homework and I want to go shopping. A car might not be available. I've just found an amazing dancing event in Brighton happening tonight and I could go but... a car might not be available. And so on.
I can't hide the growing sense of frustration in my system when I think about those possibilities. I remember when was a teenager, and I had to fight with my sisters to win the only family's car availability... Ohhh, so many angry nights then, sitting at home while my friends were having the 'most amazing time' (obviously!), hating my sisters and thinking of ways to be more clever, more manipulative the next time.
After teenagers years, I lived in big cities where a car wasn't needed at all and then, when I started to live in more rural places, I had my own car. And so far, I always took it for granted - at the moment I use it basically every single day - and I had forgotten all about that chapter in my life.
I grew up valuing freedom of movement very highly. Literally, all borders in Europe had disappeared in front of my eyes by then. From Italy, I freely moved, lived, studied and worked in Germany, Spain and now UK. My sisters went to Holland, France, Spain etc.
I'm so used to making my own plans without thinking of the bigger perspective of what it means or how it involves others. I rely on environmentally disastrous planes to fly and visit my Italian family. I rely on my car for school's runs, work, studies, pleasure. At the moment, changing that implies me rethinking my entire lifestyle. Am I ready for less? Am I ready to walk my talk?
Today, I am more aware of what a walking contradiction I am. I am aware of the miles ahead for me to accomplish a real shift into the 'We' reality and being really OK with it. Hopefully, whatever comes next will be a balanced compromise on both values: individual freedom and mutual wellbeing.