By Estelle Shaya
As I sat contemplating the meaning of life and the ten-page paper on existentialism I still had to write for the next day, I thought back to simpler times. Better times, back in rural Ohio.
I remembered the childish dreams I’d once had. At the time they were simple, perhaps idealistic, but they certainly never considered having to pay $70,000 for four years to lose part of my life to deadline stress and the guy in the room above me having sex too loudly as I try to sleep.
Suddenly, one of those dreams struck me like a bowling ball had been dropped on my head. I used to wish I was Amish.
I sat frozen still for a moment, eyes darting back and forth. Was I sure I’d ever really wished that? This had to be the past all-nighter and jittery caffeine nerves talking.
Memories started to flood back. One of the picture books I used to love as a kid was about two Amish girls who found a peacock named Fancy. They had to hide the peacock because if it was discovered and considered too, well, fancy, it would be shunned. And for some reason, God knows why, at the time I wished I was one of those Amish girls hiding that peacock.
As the initial shock wore off, I began to wonder what my life could have been like if I really had accomplished those big dreams. Certainly far easier.
Procrastination would be a thing of the past. With no Netflix, or internet, or literally any modern technology to distract me, I’d be the most productive I’d been in years. Sure, that increased productivity might be spent on milking cows or quilting or something, but I could really realize my full potential.
There’d be no more abhorrently high car insurance payments reflecting four accidents in three years. I’m not sure buggy insurance is even a thing. And worries of my credit score and being able to get a mortgage ten years in the future would evaporate into thin air! When the family farm gets passed down through generations, no need to worry about where to live!
And say goodbye to relationship troubles! Rather than pining over my perpetual state of loneliness, I’d already probably be married. And to a man with a long, bushy beard none-the-less. A hell of a lot better than the stunted, dweebish Vandy guys I’ve seen around.
I thought to add “great tan” from all the outdoorsy farm work I’d be doing to my list of benefits before I remembered that if I was Amish, I’d be wearing a long-sleeved, calf-length dress and bonnet. You win some, you lose some. Still, height of fashion.
One thing it could be a bit hard to reconcile with the community was the whole me-being-Jewish-thing with the Amish every-part-of-their-lifestyle-is-for-their-form-of-Christian-faith-thing, but I decided we could probably find some common ground. I think the Amish get a bad rap for the whole shunning thing, even of their own children if they reject the Amish lifestyle. They couldn’t really be that strict, could they?
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t even be having all my depressive, philosophical crisis of “who the fuck am I” and “what cruel fate brought me to exist in this world” because my education would have ended in 8th grade! I wouldn’t even know what philosophy was! Blissful ignorance.
At the end of a long night, I thought back to Fancy the peacock. In the end, Fancy was accepted by the Amish elders because colorful and flamboyant was just who he was, and really, it would be stupid to shun a peacock. If Fancy could make it, then so could I. It was time for me to seek out my Amish Paradise.