Becoming a Hunter Gatherer in the Information Age

I was watching a documentary on Fat the other night on PBS. They were conducting a study on a tribe in Africa to better understand why they don’t struggle with obesity and heart disease. The long story short is that our challenges with obesity is wrapped in a mix of our genes, processed foods, and our sedentary existence. The tribe in Africa is just always on the go, and they aren’t eating food that is as processed as ours is, and they have been doing this for many, many generations. I am guessing that our weight problems aren’t the only problems we face due this reality we’ve constructed for ourselves, and I am guessing that many of our mental health challenges are a result of our diet and lack of activity. Leaving me thinking both about my physical and mental health as I move into 2023, an enjoy my 50th year on this planet.

I have done a lot of work to get a handle on my physical health this last year. However, I can do more. I am still not in as good of shape as I need to be. I want to be stronger. I want to be more active. I have also done a lot of work to get a handle on my mental health in recent years. However, I can do more. I still have highs and lows, and some days I struggle to function at all. I’ve done well without medication, and watching my friends struggle with different types of diagnosis and side effects of pharmaceuticals, I am confident I am on the right track. I am able to strike a balance between maintaining my passion, drive, creativity, as well as know when I’m slipping into depression or some other worse state. With this said, I feel like much of my mental health challenges are just due to regular old capitalism and making our way in this fucked up world. I am pretty convinced that if I didn’t work so much, and spend so much time online, I would be in much better shape. This is something I’d like to understand more, and make adjustments over the next couple of years.

While I love my work, I don’t love all that comes with working at a fast moving startup, managing a large team, and spending so much time online. I am good at what I do. I am paid well. I also work at one of the best startups around. I am definitely top of my field. Yet, I still struggle showing up and being present every day. I feel like this is due to 1) work & capitalism, and 2) being online. I don’t mind working hard. I enjoy it. I hate everything that comes with a job. I also am getting sick of being online all day. I want to be offline, but I struggle with how I will maintain the quality of life I enjoy working in technology. I grew up poor, so I do’nt mind ratcheting things back down in a reasonable way, but I’ve worked hard to get where I am at, so I don’t really want to walk away completely. I just want to transition the next phase of my career to spend less time online, and do more out in the real world. Preferably something within my local area. I love Oakland, California. This all has got me thinking about how would one become a local hunter gatherer in an information age, where I am able to sustain myself by roaming my city each day?

I am not saying I would literally hunt for food and kill it in Oakland. I am adapting this concept to how one my make a living out in the real world, without having to take a job and be online all day. I don’t mind working. I don’t mind be busy. I don’t mind being active. I just really want to avoid having to work for the man and rely solely on my online skills to pay the bills. I just want to be able to roam the streets of Oakland everyday picking up trash, snapping photos, gathering stories, generating data, and doing a variety of things that others might be interested in sponsoring, subscribing to, and supporting in some way. I don’t mind being online. I just don’t want to be at my desk all day. I think about the tribe in Africa ad how they are engage with their local environment every day. I want that. I have fallen in love with Oakland and want to explore the city. I want to get to know each street, block, and neighborhood. I think this is going to be what I set into motion in 2023. I think I am going to start just wandering the streets a couple of days a week, documenting, thinking, picking up trash, and getting to know the space around me. I think over time it will become more clear to me how I can replace my 9-5 some day with something that is more nourishing, and helps me balance both my physical and mental health.