Going Back to the Plough


by Suzanne Reisler Litwin

I think Elton John said it best in his song, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. “You can’t plant me in your penthouse. I’m going back to my plough.” Occasionally I think of these lyrics as a reminder of living life as I once did.  Not so much about living in the city and wanting to go back to the farm. This means more about living a simpler life with ease.

Going back to the plough, is like going back to the non-complicated times of your childhood.  When your needs weren’t so great.  When time didn’t have so much meaning and your worries weren’t so worrisome.  You just lived, loved, and played. As adults this is almost impossible to imagine, but it is worth a moment of trying. This probably sounds completely unrealistic and a little delusional. It’s simply a little suggestion.  A backwards check-up might make your present and future living lovelier. Think back to when you simply played games, took dares, or even read with a flashlight. When being silly was silly and appointments were very far apart. The appointments you had then were hopefully the once a year Doctor appointment or the occasional dentist appointment.  Your job was to go to school and play. Often I hear people say, “There isn’t enough time in my day to do what I need to do.”  This might be because there is too much going on and life is stressful.  Perhaps we need to remind ourselves about how we once lived life.  When we were younger and try to embrace those simple pleasures.

When was the last time you played jacks, tossed a ball, jumped over a skip rope, read under a tree or made a picnic?

Now is a good time to go back to the plough.  Go back to where you played as a child.  Swing on the swings and try to reach the sky or just sit there and listen to the world’s sounds.  Ask yourself if you really need that next appointment.  Question your next big purchase.  If you managed to live your whole life without it up until now, do you really need it?  How did you manage to live this long without it?

Simpler times are simply easier.   Does it really take a plough to bring you back there?

Suzanne Reisler Litwin

Lessons Learned: 1. Go buy a Yoyo and try to make it work. Did you smile trying? Did your finger turn red from the string being too tight? (My 81 year old mother has 3 yoyos and she’s a pro!) 2. Give someone a Yoyo and teach them the simple joys of playing with it.

3. Pack up your lunch and go eat it in a park or along a water way.  Choose a grand tree to sit under and let the sun rays try to break through the leaves.

4. Think about what games you played as a child and play one of those games. Twister? Checkers? Go Fish?

5. If you do not have enough time in a given day to do the things you need to do, do less tomorrow.  Repeat this until you have found a balance.

6. When you go back to the plough, bring a friend or a family member and help them reduce their stress too.

Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column. 

She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper.   She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real.  Please visit her website  www.suzannereislerlitwin.com  to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.


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