Hello. I woke up feeling inspired to write today. It could have been the Grizzly Claw coffee I had this morning or the time I spent reading the Rowdy Kittens blog this morning. I started to think about the different ways I have simplified and how I could improve somethings.
My values have changed dramatically in the past few years. I was married young, had a child, bought a house, living the dream, doing a job I really couldn't stand( I use hate sparingly, it is a very strong word, and I find it offensive, more than the other four letter words. Hitler hated Jews, and to me that makes nothing worth "hating". Strongly disliking, despising, abhorring, these are much better terms for something you really don't like.) I had to drive 70k round trip, sometimes twice a day, doing a job that gave me little satisfaction, no chance of promotion, little acknowledgement, and sub-par wages. The local economy was in the dumper so I took what I could get. I had many occasions where I wished my vehicle would break down on route so I wouldn't have to go to work. We were constantly in debt with credit cards, vehicle loans, house repairs, and spending unnecessarily to to try to create happiness. I was obsessive about hobbies to try to escape my reality. I was constantly on edge. I hadn't found myself yet. I was a man without a soul. One day, a friend offered to lend me his mountain bike. I had ridden a bike since I was 5, but like so many, I lost the desire once I had gotten a vehicle. When I was 16, and without a car, I would commute to work on my mountain bike when I couldn't get a ride. It was about 20k each way, and I loved it. This offer of a bike changed me. I started to ride when ever I could. I would get up early a ride before I drove to work, enjoying the peace and quiet of summer mornings. I was hooked it. Eventually I had to return the bike, and I was without for sometime.
Life changes, and I separated from my wife. I had a bike again, a department store set of wheels. It was crappy, but the wheels turned, as a bike should, and I rode it. I was also spending much time drinking and partying, grieving the change in my life, and at the same time living without anyone to answer to. I had bought the big tv, I had two vehicles, I had stuff I thought would make me happy. I never did. It left me with a pile of debt that will follow me around for a long time. The cycle of debt, unhappiness, emptiness, and no path to enlightenment. I was still an empty soul. Eventually this had to stop and I began to thing about how things should be, and how I wanted to live. What kind of example I wanted to set for my daughter.
Gradually things would seep in. I bought another bike, a new mountain bike. I rode that like a mad man that first summer, and I loved it. I have a more full filling job working with my second family and best friends. I experimented with vegetarian cooking. I installed a woodstove. I built garden beds. I started using bio-degradable soaps. I was conscious about how much I was driving. I sold both my vehicles(I still have use of one, and I do use it a couple of times a week), and took up bicycle commuting full time. I got rid of my microwave and coffee maker. I was using the library instead of Amazon. I purchased a push mower. I was introduced to merino wool clothes by my girlfriend. I bake my own goodies and cook most of my own meals. Recently, because my dishwasher doesn't work very well, I decided to start hand washing all my dishes. I go to bed early and get up early. I sleep with the windows open and don't draw the curtains. My tv viewing has reduced to maybe an hour a day. I have a bread maker and use it often. I listen to podcasts instead of buying new music from itunes. I have stopped drinking alcohol, reduce eating fast food to about once a month. I have become a happier, healthier, friendlier, more considerate and more loving because of all my changes. Life is more organized, calm and quiet. Now I believe I am living the dream.
My daughter is seeing the results of these changes. She talks less about buying things. She is reading more. She talks about being green and good to the earth. She asked me to go on a field trip with her this week, and I had to say no because I have to work. That hurts. I would like to get myself in a position to avoid having to work everyday to make ends meet, and take an extra day off so I can spend more time doing neat things with her. She is growing so fast and she loves to do things with me. I will use this as a motivator to get out of debt and to lower my monthly expenditures to make it work.