Feb. 11th, 2004

urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
From http://www.word-works.com/brick.htm, originally published in Emerging Lifestyles magazine:

5. A willingness to experiment.
Sure, your whole planned lifestyle change is something of an experiment. So why not branch out a little and try some new skills? Change the oil in your car, bake a loaf of bread, paint the living room. If doing it yourself works for you, you can save the cash you would have paid someone else to do the job. Which means reduced expenses, less hours of work - you get the picture! If it turns out you have ten thumbs or hate repairs, try trading skills with a friend or neighbor.

You can also experiment with taking your lunch to work instead of buying, riding a bike or walking instead of using the car for errands, borrowing books from the library instead of buying. Be creative.

I skim articles, and have problems of disbelief when I encounter statements such as this one. Not only does this seem an exceedingly obvious part of voluntary simplicity, I am still amazed that some people might really need ideas such as saving money by changing their own oil or borrowing books they're not sure they'll read again explicitly pointed out to them. This makes the difference between people who do view such things as interesting experiments and people who have needed to reduce expenditures by doing things themselves painfully obvious, which is one of my frequent problems with such writings and discussions. I am reminded of a friend who was truly surprised that we were planning to paint the interior of the house, rather than calling in someone to do it--it had never even occurred to her that she might be able to do it herself.

Then again, I am quite accustomed to doing such jobs, and have to consider that perhaps one might be in a little better touch with reality through not having been kept completely isolated from tasks apparently considered menial and/or mucky. I also have to feel a bit sorry for people to whom cooperating with friends, neighbors, family, etc. might be a novel idea. (I'm also accustomed to having things to the point that whoever is best at not haggling tomatoes into ungainly pieces is in charge of slicing them. *g*)

I suppose it comes down to difficulty understanding how some need to make a huge deal out of things as, erm, simple as what is spiffed up as "voluntary simplicity". On the surface, I can certainly understand that it runs contrary to generally encouraged consumeristic urges. I suppose my main block is that these have been implanted more deeply in many, closer to the Monoculture. My parents managed to stave that off somewhat with their (and deeper subcultural) concepts of "voluntary simplicity" (voluntary in better economic times, at least) and "durable living"--it's probably an excellent thing I didn't decide to rebel by turning strongly to consumerism and materialism in general. *g*

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