Thursday, January 19, 2012

If You're Going To Be Poor In The Future, And You Are...

"If you’re going to be poor in the future, and you are, you might as well learn how to do it competently. It’s entirely possible to lead a life that’s poor in terms of money, material goods, and energy consumption, and profoundly rich—far richer than most contemporary lifestyles—in human values. If you’re going to do that, though, you’re going to have to learn how it’s done, and the only school where you can study that is that ancient institution, the school of hard knocks. If you start cutting your energy use and your material wants now, before you’re forced to do so, you can get past the hard part of the learning curve while you still have other options."
from "Waking Up, Walking Away", The ArchDruid Report,John Michael Greer


I read The ArchDruid Report twice this morning. Once because I find I sometimes miss the point he's trying to make (perhaps because I find it difficult to read narrow columns?), and then again, because I wanted to make sure I was grasping his point. Lots of folks are catching on to voluntary simplicity, for a lot of reasons. Many others are having it forced upon them. Here, I'm in a different category, the one that borrows a bit from each of the others. I live so far below the poverty line, I need a map and far-off vision to find it, despite the fact that I have held a full time job for years. Our kids don't have the latest game system, or the coolest cellphone. We don't have iPads or iPones. I admit though that at one time, all of us but one had an iPod, albeit not the newest model. But we eat well, and we exercise, and we're generally in better health than most of our neighborhood. One of my pastimes lately has been de-cluttering. Before my friends and family run for the thermometer, no, I'm not sick. It occurred to me one day that we've lived in this apartment for 11 years now (and a bit), and we've accumulated a fair bit of stuff. So I decided to start going through clothes, books, magazines, toys...you get the idea. I've caught myself many times wanting the latest whatever. Our middle child borrowed an iPad from school to do music homework, and of course it made the rounds here as we all poked and oooed and ahhhed over it. Yeah, I'd love to have one. But will we get one? Likely not. We don't need it, and we can't afford it. It's more than a toy, we could use it as a tool. But it's not something we can't do without, so we'll admire it from afar. 


We've cut our energy consumption too. We don't have a car, everywhere we go is either by bus or a ride from a friend. Usually this arrangement works well for us, until we have to get to the pediatrician, who is in another town, or our favorite yarn supplier, also in another town. But generally, we live close enough to places we need that we can either walk there or take the bus. All this walking has put us all in better shape than most. The middle son complains every now and then about everyone else being able to take the bus while he walks, but on extremely wet days, we make sure he has bus fare. But I would bet my last dollar on him against his classmates if we were to see who could walk the farthest, him or them. Our small apartment is being heated by a small cube type heater. No big roaring furnace. It has a sensor that lets it know when it's reached the temperature I want, its' case is always cool to the touch and I feel pretty safe with it. So far, we've only had one cool morning in here. Of course it helps that this has been a mild winter.


So, as the ArchDruid says,"If you’re going to be poor in the future, and you are, you might as well learn how to do it competently..If you start cutting your energy use and your material wants now, before you’re forced to do so, you can get past the hard part of the learning curve while you still have other options."
Is that part of your plan? Do you plan on reducing while you can, or have you already tightened your belt too far? How do you make do, save money and cut back?

1 comment:

Jacquelineand.... said...

We're still de-cluttering our home as well as our lives.