I began my quest towards austerity in the year of 1997. I found myself in a situation where I needed to quickly learn the true meaning between the words “wanting” and “needing”. Though the initial lesson was painful, I did discover that reducing ownership was not only beneficial in my habit of relocating to other destinations, but seemed to quiet the emotional rollercoaster of life itself. Less “stuff” to worry about and replacing ego driven purchases with an “I don’t really need it”, attitude. For sure, there are still small purchases that help soothe the soul, such as some favorite junk foods and of course, my cigars, but overall, I have eliminated much of the overflow. And those things I need to purchase, such as large ticket items, I usually purchase used or spend some time researching and comparing prices. As the large ticket items are few and far between, the time I spent with this task is minimal.
Ownership is a phenomenon unto itself. It is in our lives constantly and dictates much of how we live our lives. Everything from designer clothing to those big toys that reinforces the ego like nothing else proliferates in today’s instant gratification lifestyle… “The bigger, the better” and “keeping up with the neighbors” is an ongoing game of one-upmanship that not only fuels the economy but also fuels people’s passions for living large. And that is good.
On the flip side, I find it almost inspiring to live simply. My treks into civilization and the world diverse consumer products are rare, which, has an advantage of saving me money on fuel and restaurants. I purchase most of what I need for groceries and hardware items from small local merchants, frequent those business which sell used items and do much of my own cooking, though most people will tell me that nuking, frying or grilling my foods leaves much to be desired in the area of culinary experiences.
Another expense I have limited spending a lot of money on is entertainment. Movies are expensive, shows are limited and cultural events are limited to rodeos and pow-wows. And to be honest, both are enjoyable, to a point. There is the state fair once a year and the yearly vacation I take to return to the home where I grew up fills in the gaps. Other than that, I get my entertainment through music, (that I listen to and by those instruments I am learning to play), reading a good book, communing with nature, photography and last, but not least, my attempts at writing.
I have been told many times by those who know me, that I need to “get a life” and I reply that I already have one, albeit, dull and boring in the eyes of those who need constant and exciting stimuli to exist. And I do not judge those who require this form of survival. My opinion is; “do whatever floats your boat and enjoy life”. Life is time limited and when reduced to what is genuinely important in one’s life, extremely satisfying.
Ask yourself this: Where would you go if you followed your passion? How would living your dream change your life? What would you feel and what would your life be like? The answers may surprise you… Now, get a life.
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