I see this life like a swinging vine,
Swing my heart across the line
In my face is flashing signs,
Seek it out and ye shall find.
On December 12 of 2006, my home was the scene of something almost everyone fears – but thankfully never has to face – fire. And although I don’t want to gloss over it, it’s not what I am here to talk about. I start with it because it launched a new perspective, an outlook on what possessions really mean. 98% of what I “owned” was lost in that fire; clothes, furniture, electronics, etc.
There in the morning when I left for the day, gone when I returned.
Just like that.
In the ten years following, I’ve moved house several times, taking less and less with me each time. When I moved from Florida to Washington, I packed up 14 large totes filled with things I was sure I’d need. Once I received quotes on the cost to ship those items, I whittled it down to seven.
When I moved back to Florida, I filled just three totes, giving most of the rest away, or leaving it behind. Some things I sold to help finance the trip back, but other than that, I simply wasn’t interested in any of it. It just didn’t matter. Books, clothes, and irreplaceable things like photos, journals, mala beads, crystals, and rocks (yes, rocks- because they are enormous story tellers) accompanied me back.
As I write this, I’ve been unemployed for over 3 months now. I’m living with family while I carve a path, and its quite a slow process. Because of my lack of income, I’ve had to make decisions about how I spend savings and alms.
Credit card companies were the first to go.
That’s right, I haven’t paid them in months. And I don’t care. Some would say I’m fiscally irresponsible, I should pay those companies since, after all, I incurred the debt. Trust me when I tell you I wasn’t taking any vacations on their dime. Which barely touches on the ridiculous cost of things, the absurdity of working and working and working to afford food that is fit to eat. Which is why fast food joints are so attractive, and why the nation is overweight and sick.
Medical costs are a prime example of a system gone mad. Mad for money. Don’t think for one minute there will ever be a cure for cancer, that one is making the world go round while it kills off the infirm, the ones too sick to stay on the merry-go-round. Harsh? Not really. Truth. How much money would you spend to save a loved one? Watcha got?? Second mortgage the house, get another job, and another one, find that money – hundreds of thousands of it.
I feel the love and I feel it burn
down this river every turn
Hope is our four-letter word, make that money, watch it burn
I recently read an article about the nonsense of credit scores. An article written by a man who’s credit score dropped from the 800s to the 600s as he paid off his debts and became self sufficient and solvent. The credit card companies want me in debt to them. For as long as possible. Read the article here: Credit Scores
So yeah, I can bust my ass working 60 hours a week to pay them off. But I am choosing not to. That’s right. I’m choosing not to.
I feel something so right
Doing the wrong thing
I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing
I could lie, couldn’t l, couldn’t l
Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly
The system, one’s very existence it seems, revolves around money. It rotates, spins, and vomits around money. How much I have, how much I don’t have. And it’s a fucked up system. It’s a game. One everyone is expected to play. Learn more about the housing market crash, how it happened and why, then look at your bank the same way the next day. It’s all about the greenbacks honey, nothing less. Read here what happens when eyes can only see dollar signs: Housing Bubble
Old but I’m not that old
Young but I’m not that bold
And I don’t think the world is sold
On just doing what we’re told
When I stop and take a look around, really look, the things I need should outweigh the things I want. The scales are tipped in favor of bigger, better, more, more, more. Humans are consumers, in every sense of the word. Do I really need an all-you-can-eat buffet? Do I really need a 50 inch TV with state of the art sound system? Of course not, but they are wanted by the majority. Someone recently said “well now, we got the best, it was really expensive.” Like that means something.
And for what? Creature comforts? Status symbols? Some sort of validation that I’ve succeeded? In what?
I watch people work their asses off for a piece of imaginary pie. People terrified of losing it, terrified of not working enough hours to pay for it, eking out an existence that revolves around corporate structure and somebody else’s pocket. I’ve been one of them most of my life.
Countless stores with the same crap but different names. Aisles and aisles of so-called food that will kill me, detergents that will sicken me, clothes that judge me, cosmetics that try to define me, and a society that aches to keep me locked in Pandora’s box, hope at its very bottom, far beneath strife and turmoil.
And while none of this may be new, here’s the lightbulb flickering on:
In my current state of mind, I see the fiction of it, the very matrix pulled over my eyes. The one that says none of it matters. It’s all a bunch of made up stuff. Get it? It isn’t real. I don’t “own” anything. Remember the old expression “you can’t take it with you”? I can’t. But who and what seeks to own me?
Its a time to get back to basics. Back to nature. Into authenticity.
I’m not my credit score. I’m not my job. I’m not my crap.
I no longer own a home, or a 50 in TV, or a closet filled with clothes and shoes, hell, I make my own laundry soap, toothpaste, dryer sheets, etc. Moving, inch by inch, away from a world encouraging me to work, work, work – buy, buy, buy – spend, spend, spend.
Right now, while I hold space for universal wisdom, I spend my days running in the nature preserve (free), strength training with body weight (no equipment), reading books (on loan), writing (pens and notebooks packed in the totes), and playing in the yard with 3 dogs, a duck, and a ferret – brilliant little beings that teach the value of simplicity, true minimalists.
And I realize I’ve been looking in the wrong direction for quite some time. I’ve been trying to figure out how to play the game, when I really just need to cut and run.
Let a wildcrafted life begin.
Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard
Said no more counting dollars, we’ll be-we’ll be counting stars
Lyrics: OneRepublic – Counting Stars
More reading: https://moneyless.org