Connecting With Life. Just the book title alone gives you pause to reflect a bit, huh? This Connecting with Life book (Kindle version) is a nonfiction read I received as an ARC from Netgalley. I started into it a few times, but didn’t sit down and finish until this month. (Thanks to a little push from the #laidbackreadathon on Instagram.) I needed one more book to make it to seven for the week. I chose to go all in with this. It’s less than 200 pages, so it doesn’t take a super long time to read. However, you just have to be in the right frame of mind to get into certain types of nonfiction.
Connecting With Life Premise:
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The book is very well-researched (there are about 20 reference pages at the end!) There are 26 chapters. This includes 6 chapters of problems and their corresponding “solutions” chapter with actionable steps you can take in your own life. You can find it here on Amazon, or check your favorite local retailer.
He covers everything from outdoor/indoor air quality, green spaces, natural landscapes, urban living, suburban living, city/country life, etc. Much of the book was affirming practices and lifestyle ideas that we already implement. However, it was nice to see how beneficial certain types of changes can be. It made me extraordinarily grateful for not only my own home and its natural surroundings, but also my city and state. Huntington’s nickname is the “river city” with an incredible park system in the tri-state area. We also call West Virginia the “Mountain State”. We have gorgeous state parks and nature areas ALL over our state.
Takeaway Points from Summer:
The goal is to find balance between indoor and outdoor living so we can live a little closer to nature without losing the benefits of indoor living.
A few things that surprised me were that it would take 10-100 plants per 10 square feet to drastically improve air quality. In some areas of the house, totally have that covered :). However, he reiterates that there are plenty of other benefits for having plants around. Like taking Bookstagram photos.
Another crazy factoid that stuck out was how being in urban areas or spending too much time increases myopia (nearsightedness) risk in kids. We’should fix our eyes on faraway places pretty frequently to lower the risk. He does give some great ways to reduce this risk if you’re in an extremely urban area, aka highrises surrounding you. Suggestions included things like looking skyward to spot airplanes, birds, cloud formations.
Connecting with Life Book: Quotable Parts
While there is a lot of research involved, the author also gives plenty of fun quotes and anecdotal material to balance things out. Here are a few of my favorites:
“As the saying goes, people in fast-paced countries have watches, while people in slow-paced ones have time.”
“Recharging is reserved for our devices, not for our minds that crave constant stimulation, no unlike an addict craving another dose of their poison of choice.”
He also described bird-watching on a balcony and feeling a sense of “awe”. He says it shouldn’t feel “bizarre”, and you shouldn’t discount those experiences. Appreciate anything in nature that’s at our fingertips.
This did make me stop to appreciate just the space around my house. We don’t live in either a huge city or super spacious area. There is, however, plenty of green stuff nearby. We have a heavily forested area behind us with tons of trees.
Sometimes, I get annoyed with deer eating vegetation, mice invading spots around our house, or even a snake recently slithering in the garage. I do, however, love just sitting out back and listening to dozens of bird species each day. It’s been fun to identify who visits. I definitely don’t take for granted the peace these surroundings bring each day, and the fun times my kids have running and playing outside.
Get Out and Do It
For our family, we’ve spend much of 2020 exploring everything our surrounding area has to offer. Bike paths, hiking trails, lakes, walking paths, etc. Some of these places I’ve never visited, despite having lived in the area for more than 30 years. It does ground me and really makes me feel a sense of peace being in nature. Even if it’s drinking coffee on the porch or letting the kids dance in the rain, we’ve tried to embrace it all this year. I love living in a spot that has four distinct seasons. It makes me so grateful for all those highs and lows, and especially these perfect fall days full of sun but cool enough to spend all day outdoors if we wanted!
Overall, I think this Connecting With Life book is a great read for anyone looking to find a way to connect with life and nature, wherever you may live. Summer gives intentional, actionable steps to take and gives you plenty of food for thought.