Jul 212011

…well, don’t ask my old man that question. He would burn your ears off for a couple of hours. But it is a legitimate question. Do we chose the minimalist lifestyle because we truly hate the consumer driven way we used to live, or are we just giving up on the whole scratching and clawing to the top of the guano pile?
I look at where I am today. Just a vehicle sale away from achieving my goal of reducing possessions and lifestyle down to the bare minimum. Is it what I really wanted? Does it appear to be all I will want and need? Well, yes and no.
I look back at where I was at the turn of the century. At the time I was at my peak of possessions and income, at least so far. I was working at a motorcycle dealer, pulling in about $40,000 to $50,000 a year. I had all the perks, good health insurance, regular schedule, even vacation time. I was putting some money away and I had all the trappings of the “good life”.(trapping being the key word here). A modest home in the burbs, a truck, used, a new motorcycle every year, simply because I could get one every year, a kayak in the garage, furniture, appliances, all that. And I was miserable. I got up in the morning dreading the 30 mile commute thru Orlando traffic. If you have ever been there you know what I am talking about. The working conditions were not horrible but I was flat out tired of listening to all the whining and sniveling from customers. And to make matters worse the dealership was undergoing a change of ownership which meant all current employees would be gone. I was losing interest in motorcycling altogether mainly due to a couple of accidents I had a year earlier. It resulted in some minor surgery for me and riding was becoming not fun anymore. I was hating owning a house. It was a constant drain on finances and required way more upkeep than I was willing to put into it. I took a few days off and came to Key West for some R & R. While there I checked out an rv lot for sale. A year later I was living in the Keys, the house and all the crap was gone and my stress levels were dropping back to normal. Although that particular run in the Keys didn’t pan out I did manage to make it back for good a few years later and here I sit.
The chances of me ever making $40,000 a year again are pretty slim. Yeah, I could probably suck it up, play the game, get back into motorcycles or scuba or whatever and try to revive a career. But I am unwilling and unmotivated to do so. I simply do not have the fight in me. The office politics, the ass kissing, the degradation I would have to go through is not worth the end result. Sure I need the money. I have nothing at the moment but I also have come to realize that I no longer need that much to sustain myself. When I was making $40,000 a year, I needed every damn cent of it. Mortgage payments, bike payments, credit cards, house needs, it all got ate up as fast as I made it. Sure I could put a little away but there was always just not enough. There was always the need for more. And all it would take is one minor upheaval to take it all away. Now? I can sustain myself on a fraction of that income and still live a great life. A little bit more and I am saving money. It’s kinda funny. Here I am with little more than a back pack and able to live on minimal wages while there are idiots out there making millions who are going bankrupt. I can weather the bad times a little easier since I am not burdened by possessions and debt. I may be forced in the near term to grab a throwaway job until I can get a passive income going thru the blogs but even that becomes more palatable when I know where I am going with this. Taking a crap job is a whole lot easier when you know it won’t last long enough to affect you.
So, am I lazy? Hell yeah! I got a terminal case of Keys Disease and I am proud of it. Some time this year I will turn 57 years old. Not a big number but just 3 years shy of 60. That means that almost 1/3 of my life is gone. I am real glad I discovered this early in life just how easy it is to live with out so much stuff. The stress and responsibility of worrying and taking care of stuff has been replaced with a new sense of freedom that I have been searching for all these years. And I ain’t about to trade it away for anything.
Life is simple and good.
The Fritter
Yeah, that’s right. 1/3.