Village As The Mirror Of Truth

In search of happiness, a Minsker discovered his true self and decided to devote himself to doing good things.
5 years ago, Oleg Kurolesov was a thriving businessman, and today you can find him building a house with his own hands in the village of Novosady, located on the shore of a small lake close to Naroch.

As he admits, the reason for this change is a reassessment of values. The life goals that Oleg aspired to reach before included buying an apartment and a good jeep in a couple of years. A good life was defined by a stable income, a beautiful wife, and expensive clothing.
Today in front of me stands a young man in rural work clothes, hardly recognizable as a businessman from the capital city.

— At work, I had to deal with more and more insane projects. In my last project, I led a team of 100 people. We organized major events similar to "Dazhynki" and City Day. But in 2011, due to the collapse of the ruble, the leisure industry decreased three times. And my project with all the investments failed to pay off. It was then that I realized that it was time to pause, and so I decided to move to Germany.

Oleh Kurolesov
— When I learned the language and began to integrate into the community, the question came up whether I wanted to stay in Germany or not. And if I wanted to, I had to either study or work.
And then I started to observe local life, the surroundings and asked myself the question: "Will I be happier living here?"

— I was analyzing my past while watching how the Germans lived their everyday routines. All my German acquaintances had everything that I used to think was essential to having a good life. They all had beautiful houses, gardens, high-paying jobs, nice cars, and clothes. And I began to observe more closely if they were happy. Four months later, I was completely disappointed. It turned out they had an even worse addiction than us.
One day, a German friend drives up to me on a bicycle. I ask him: "Well, how are you? How's the ride?" And he answers: "Oleg, I bought a new gear shifter, paid 500 euros." So I ask him again: "Well, how's the ride been?" And he shows me his new navigator. "And here are the new brakes. Just look how smoothly they work." nd I thought, in a month, there would be an even newer navigator, another gear shifter.

And I saw it clearly — if you are fixated on materialistic things, you lose the pleasure that you can get for free.

And so, while it seems that you are running somewhere, at the same time, like a hamster in a wheel, you don't really move an inch.
I realized an obvious thing — happiness doesn't depend on one's finances. Therefore, my previous idea of a good life and happiness was shattered, and I began to seek an answer to the question — what is that that makes people happy?

At that time, I also came to a realization that I can achieve happiness anywhere. And I decided that all I need for a good life is a place with fewer restrictions where no one will limit me.

Oleg shared these thoughts with friends and relatives, but he was not met with understanding. His mother even asked if her son had joined a sect of some kind. And then, in search of like-minded people, he came across books. First of all — philosophy and religion: Bhagavad Gita, Laozi, the Bible, and the Gospel, Tolstoy, Socrates, Schopenhauer, Fromm, Nietzsche, and others.

— It turned out that my thoughts and questions had already been thought and asked a long time ago, and everything that there was to say had been said.
In the literature, Oleg found confirmation of his ideas.
— I remembered my life back in Minsk when I earned from 5 to 7 thousand dollars a month. At that time, I did so much shit to people, I was buried in work and under so much pressure that there was no time to be happy.
Now what defines happiness to me is doing something useful, people being grateful to you, following your own principles, and not having to lie to make more money.

Oleg took a look at Germany with a fresh perspective and realized that there were a lot of restrictions for him. He made a decision to return to Belarus. And when he got home, he figured out he would like to live in a beautiful place since the financial component turned out to be irrelevant.

The main criterion in finding a place to live was its beauty so that the surroundings would be in harmony with Oleg's soul.
— I believe that a person should be surrounded by beauty and strive for beauty.
When Oleg finally found a place, again, few of those close to him approved of his purchase.

— The site's condition was so bad that when my mother asked my sister, "Well, how is it over there?" she answered: "It looks straight out of a horror movie, and it's impossible to live there."
Mom was crying, and my cousin asked in all seriousness: "Oleg, are you out of your mind?"
But the place won over the young man with a lake nearby, serenity, distance from roads, and freedom. And he immediately dived into repairs.

Oleg honestly admits that it was his first attempt to build something, and when he came here, the only tools he had were a hammer, two manual screwdrivers, and a screw gun. And while most of the time is spent on external construction and events in summer, winter is a time for literature and development.

— I read books and listen to lectures in different languages to fill my inner void. Only now have I realized what an emptiness I have inside. And now I am learning every action anew. The labels that I was introduced to before were blown to smithereens, and I saw that I lived in an illusion.

In summer, Oleg puts up various cultural events, including concerts and film screenings, where he invites his friends and locals.
— When I do something important for people, I make myself happy. I feel very pleased to do that.

Although Oleg's lifestyle resembles that of a hermit, he does not consider himself one.

— I've never been alone here. I'm surrounded by a whole living world, and I understand how insignificant I am in this huge world. Besides, I'm also surrounded by the greatest minds of the past and the present. When I moved to Novosady, I started to hear and see people more frequently than I used to in Minsk. To live in Minsk, you need to work a lot, and so people simply don't have time to sit down, talk, and really hear each other.
I learned to listen to silence and myself; now I'm not afraid to be alone.

Oleg sees more prospects in the countryside rather than in the city.

– There is no need to work for 20 years to pay back a bank loan for an apartment. The fundamental need for housing is satisfied quite quickly here. A person has free time.

— An important factor in a person's formation is their environment. The village still hasn't been covered by endless concrete. There are bits of nature preserved, so you can live in a natural environment and feel comfortable, — says Oleg. — In our cities, they still build these concrete ghettos where crime and suicide rates grow over time.
— The state sees these ghettos from an economic perspective but doesn't take into consideration the future, the kind of children that will grow up there.

Apart from the spiritual advantages, Oleg also advocates for the superiority of the countryside for physical fitness. While living in the city, he went on runs and exercised on horizontal bars. In the countryside, he satisfies all these needs in the natural environment. In summer, he mows the grass, in winter – he chops wood, rides a bike for 18 kilometers to a local store and back.
— We all are heavily influenced by society. You look not the way you want to look, but the way that will be appreciated. Because of this, there are a lot of faceless people nowadays. However, here in the countryside, there is an opportunity to be who you are. I don't care about my appearance. I walk around in trousers with a torn leg, so what?
— I don't need to prove anything to anyone. Here your true self is revealed. If you are nobody and you come here, eventually you will get so bored that your inner self will be brought to light. Many are very afraid of this. After all, it's much easier when you're told how to look and what to strive for. But here in the village, you can look at yourself in the mirror of truth.
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