I've been thinking quite a bit about this stuff.
On the face of it, we seem to have far more choices than previous generations. Where and how to live ... employed, self-employed, unemployed and living on benefits, dropping out, attempting self-sufficiency, living in an ashram in India, in a village in Africa, with a tribe in south America, on a beach in Thailand ...
Of course the first point is that not everyone has those choices. Certainly they're a privilege accorded only to those living in comparatively wealthy countries and to those not hindered by ill health or extreme poverty.
The next thing is that to an extent they are an illusion. Just try doing something 'alternative' and removing yourself from the mainstream. Society doesn't make it easy, believe me. You need incredible resources in terms of self-belief and clear focus. (Not to mention having a few quid - helps a lot ...)
Then we have the whole 21st century selling of choice as the new must-have buzzword. 'Choices' in health, in education etc etc that the government tries to persuade us is such progress. Whereas if you're ill, or looking for a school for your child, it's not choices you want. You want local services of a sufficiently good quality that you would have no need for alternatives.
But even if you get through that lot and resolve those issues, I'm still not convinced that having those choices in terms of where and how you live bring happiness. With more choices, there's always the chance you'll feel you made the wrong one. There'll always be the potential to say 'What if ...?'
Hmmm. Tricky business. I know I don't want us to be living and working in traditional ways for the rest of our lives. I know I want to be part of an alternative community where 'neighbour' doesn't automatically mean 'stranger'. Where our children have significant relationships with other adults that for one reason or other they are unable to get from our own families.
But how? What choices should we be making ...?