About 3 years ago, I had this idea to get rid of everything that didn’t matter and simplify our lives. We didn’t start this blog when we started the plan. But, here’s some background. Not all of it, but what matters to the story at this point.
Our children, for the most part, were grown and we didn’t really have to worry about taking care of them. Like most people, we had mobile phone bills that were WAY too high, student loan debt, some credit cards, car loans, etc., etc. In other words, our monthly outflow was pretty out of control. We had started our own business and it was successful. As I looked back on our 25 years together, I realized that our income kept growing through the years, but our true quality of life was the same. We had a 2200 square foot suburban home filled with stuff, we had a pool, we live in Houston, Texas so our business was tied to oil and gas . . . essentially, we were living the “American Dream”.
And then I realized that’s all it was: a dream. It wasn’t real. Remember that old cocaine commercial? “I go to work so I can make money, so I can do cocaine, so I can go to work to make more money, so I can do more cocaine, so I can go to work to make more money, so I can do to more cocaine, so I can go to work to make more money . . .” Well, that is a pretty good metaphor for the “American Dream”. I went to work, so I could make money, to buy stuff, so I could do more work, so I could make more money, so I could buy more stuff, so I could do more work, so I could make more money, so I could buy more stuff, so I could do more work, so I could make more money . . . A vicious infinite spiral downward: work – money – stuff. Consumerism is what they call it. Pretty hollow and not at all what I dreamed of being and doing when I was growing up. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “I want to be a consumer!!”
I’ll spare you the politics, economics, religion, and geography of my realization, because, let’s face it, that could actually be a novel and most likely a boring one at that. Plus, it’s all been done and said before. And that is what is so ironic about my “realization”. It had all been done and said before. All of it. I had seen, heard, and read the warnings and proselytized them in school.
I remember reading books like Walden, The Boxcar Children, and My Side of the Mountain when I was a kid and wanting to live like that. And that was my actual realization. I realized that what I was doing was not living. (Definition in the works . . .)
So, Google is your friend (well, it used to be . . . but that’s another, different rambling blog post). I went on line and started looking at stories of people simplifying. Looks like there were plenty of people that were doing exactly what I wanted to do. AND on sailboats no less!!
It took some serious discussing with Jodi and a couple of years, but in the end we sold everything, bought a sailboat, paid off all our debts, and have started the process of actually LIVING.
We took the red pill . . .