I imagine a life of less, but luxuriously less. Less complexity. Less stress. Less things I do not really need while having the best of what I do really need.
I want to be able to move without worrying about selling a house.
I want to be able to borrow a chain saw when I need it but not actually own a chain saw.
I want to keep doing interesting things while not needing to do very much “work” that I do not enjoy.
How do you free yourself from antiquated systems that are based on increasing work and consumption?
This is a complex question because it is not one system, it is many disjointed systems.
To begin with, living under your means and reducing ownership is a good start. The term “footprint” often refers to the impact of something, such as the carbon footprint for manufacturing an item. But beyond the environmental impact, how about the human footprint? Do you own your products or do your products own you? Can you easily up and leave them? What is really necessary?
When I was 19 I did a silly thing, or so thought many of my friends and family members. I bought a nice (luxury) backpack. I packed it with the things I really needed. I gave everything else away. I set off an travelled. It was a great experience and I spent years traveling and working for stints of time. The entire time keeping what I owned to a minimal necessity.
How is that different from today? I moved on a whim. I saved a lot of money because I did not spend it on stuff. I had more time. I walked more. I wrote and thought more. Today I need a higher monthly nut to pay the “basic” which are still basic by many people’s standards but I have too much stuff. I just do. And I have far less freedom than when I owned less.
All this in the pre-Internet days and what I really longed for was a Basic Universal Income, with no knowledge that later it would become a real thing. I’d done the math back then. I needed a few hundred thousand dollars to have just enough money to survive on the interest so I could pursue my passions and have the time and freedom to evolve and find the sweet spot where it would click. (I actually targeted $1,000 a month – sound familiar?)
I don’t know why I had that mindset. I know it is not universal. It was the 80’s and everyone wanted to make money. Which brings me to the impetus of this article. As I ponder the fallacy of owning so much crap, I also understand I am most likely not the only one out there. And I want to share.
With a wife, and kids, and commitments, and a need to work to support all of those things, what is the game plan to begin shedding the things that do not have meaning and simplifying the whole thing.
What is needed is a clear goal and a clear standards to achieve it. The benefit must be clear as well. So what does that look like?
I have heard this said multiple times by different lavishly rich people. You know you are wealthy when you can live every day like you are on vacation.
And this is the crux. One way to do that is to have huge amounts of money. The other is to have much less stuff and commitments. Keeping it simple.
There are a variety of pillars I am writing about and this is one of them. How to move from a junk yard life to living a frugal footprint where you live like you are on vacation every day while not creating waste and excess. I hope you will sign up for our email here to keep up on the progress.