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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

Platy 02-04-11 04:15 PM


Originally Posted by Artkansas (Post 12179805)
Free puppy, what's that? My ex and I got a pup from one of her friends. Within 6 weeks it got meningitis which required $1,600 to cure. :eek: Fortunately, it went on to lead a long and healthy life.

I'd imagine a pet could be part of a simple life. It's just that a person has to mindfully consider the benefits and consequences. I've seen scruffy street guys sitting on curbs sharing sandwiches with their dogs. I've also seen family dogs kinda forgotten and left to their own devices in the back yards of big suburban houses. Which dog would you rather be?

Roody 02-04-11 07:27 PM


Originally Posted by Platy (Post 12179922)
I'd imagine a pet could be part of a simple life. It's just that a person has to mindfully consider the benefits and consequences. I've seen scruffy street guys sitting on curbs sharing sandwiches with their dogs. I've also seen family dogs kinda forgotten and left to their own devices in the back yards of big suburban houses. Which dog would you rather be?

For that matter, which human would you rather be?

Smallwheels 02-05-11 12:51 PM

Memories Aren't Physical
 
The question of what might you need in the future is one that gets me to dump things quicker. There are many things I haven't used in a long time and don't anticipate using any time soon. Some of those things I won't ever use again. For instance I have motorcycle saddle bags and no motorcycle. I found them useful for carrying my dog on bicycle rides. I don't do that now.

Those are easy choices. When I sold my parents jewelry and some of mine (class rings, an expensive gold pendant) there were plenty of memories attached to those items. There was no lack of sentimentality there. Those items were purchased and honestly they weren't very unique. They were just sitting around in a jewelry box. I might look at them once every couple of years.

Personally created items, things made by relatives, unique artwork, and such might be difficult to give up. Unless you absolutely need the space or can't carry them in your new lifestyle of living out of a bicycle trailer, why get rid of them?

If you keep things as investments then they should be kept until it is time to cash in.

Everything has a dollar value. With personal or sentimental items you might find the dollars are more useful to you than the sentimentality.

With today's great technology we can photograph and make digital videos of everything. That can help you maintain your memories without the actual item being in your hands. An external hard drive or even an online storage site can hold thousands of your images and movies for a tiny bit of money. Your feelings and memories come from within you. The physical things just help trigger them. Photographs and videos would probably be just as good at triggering them.

I've sold items for less than they would be worth if the right buyer came along. I didn't want to wait around for an indeterminable time for the right buyer so the items were sold. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Johnny Law 02-05-11 03:08 PM

very simply. I have my bike. A house with 3 other roommates. A Macbook Pro, and my Bible.

Newspaperguy 02-05-11 05:50 PM

If we're talking about keeping things for the memories, then a number of notebooks and my computer hard drive and backup drive are priceless right now. These are items with little monetary value, but the information in them extremely important to me. Pictures are fine too, but for me, the journals and the stories will give a much more complete account than pictures alone.

wahoonc 02-06-11 06:22 AM

I think too that what you have and want will change as you move through life. At one point I lived in a pickup camper in the woods, very simply, with in 3 years I was married and living in an apartment, 7 years later had a house and bunch of stuff. Downsized after the divorce, now live on a 40 acre farm that you couldn't move everything even if you had a couple of boxcars... I could probably walk away from just about all of it if I had to.

Aaron :)

schwinnbikelove 02-07-11 05:10 AM

Wow.
 
You guys have all made REALLY good points, and presented new perspectives that are taking and will continue to take time to process. In reality this is a lifelong process, and while I've been following this thread since its' inception, I feel now as though "my time has come." (not to sound too corny)

Some interesting things I've thought about on my own and with your help, but all just opinion, of course:

-Years back, when I first started "getting rid of stuff", I used to photograph those things first... now I almost feel as though that is no longer needed

-Photographs themselves (digital travels better obviously) are priceless- to document memories and whatnot

-Actually, the whole digital revolution makes it easier to make your stuff, how should I say this, less tangible?

-As far as family heirlooms, things from those who have passed, etc.... all I can come up with on this is that I would hope that those people would've wanted me to be happy, and if that entails remembering someone WITHOUT holding onto their former possessions, than so be it

-Yes, handmade items. Also VERY difficult, for me anyway. I went to college for art, so between what I've created, and my peers... I will have to keep some of these items, somehow, at least for now. Definitely irreplaceable, to say the least

-At some point you have to realize that if you keep every little thing that means something to you, and start timesing that by 10, 20, 50 years, etc... well, you get the idea

-It's interesting to think: Does a certain lifestyle dictate how many "things" one has? Or vice versa? Chicken vs. Egg?

-How many decisions do people make based on how much stuff they have?

I know that I've been stuck and miserable with bad neighbors, but it would've been more of a hassle to move my whole place FULL of my belongings, so I stayed and dealt.

I almost suspect that if I DO do a mega-purge, that I'll want to celebrate some day, some how, by doing something that is alot easier to do when you own very few things. ...moving, traveling, exploring, ?

All I can hope for at this point is no regrets I guess.

hnsq 02-07-11 07:33 AM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 12175822)
Well never mind then. Thanks anyway.

Since I am actually taking the time to try and learn something, could you explain it to me?

I understand the philosophy of simplicity, however observing the difference between being financially responsible and voluntarily choosing to have nothing when you can responsibly afford to have a few 'things' is something I do not understand. To me, that distinction seems like a cry for attention, a way to stand out. I am asking the question because I am trying to learn from a perspective very differently from my own. Can you help me out?


To schwinnbikelove, Smallwheels and Platy, your posts were very helpful. I enjoyed them and thank you.

Dan The Man 02-07-11 09:09 AM

I think the thing about stuff is that we tend to invest our identity in material possessions. Some people will say that this is caused by modern consumer culture, but I think it is part of human nature, which consumerism exploits.

Think what defines you? What makes you who you are? Most people think that there is something inside themselves that is their core persona. But start taking away the things around them and they will most certainly become different people. At least some part of your identity is your environment. And your environment includes all the things that you own.

When you have a choice of what car to own or what clothes to wear or what appliances to buy (or not buy), you are impressing yourself on the world around you by making that choice. You weigh the pros and cons, think about what YOU personally want out of an item, think about how much it will cost you, and then you make a unique decision which uniquely represents your situation and your thoughts.

That item is now essentially you. Changing that item or getting rid of it means that your situations and thoughts are no longer the same which means that you are no longer the same. If there is one thing that all conscious entities desire, it is to remain alive and continue to exist in the future. So changing your identity is kind of like killing the old you and making a new you. Sometimes the new is more exciting than the old, but transitions are always difficult.

Smallwheels 02-07-11 12:00 PM

Dan The Man I really like your point of view on possessions.

For some things one might ask, "If there were no other people on Earth would I get this item?" It's a test of whether you want it to impress someone else or not. This question wouldn't be asked for most purchases but it might be asked regarding expensive things, certain types of clothing, houses, cars, and the like.

Four years ago I bought an expensive pair of mittens. They are filled with down and have Gortex and leather covering. Though they are very fashionable they really do what I needed them to do. That purchase was a necessity and it didn't matter what others might have though about them. I like warm hands.

iron.wren 02-07-11 01:07 PM


Originally Posted by hnsq (Post 12189387)
I understand the philosophy of simplicity, however observing the difference between being financially responsible and voluntarily choosing to have nothing when you can responsibly afford to have a few 'things' is something I do not understand. To me, that distinction seems like a cry for attention, a way to stand out.

Simplicity is not just "getting rid of Possessions" its also a mindset and many more things. The average Joe walking down the street will not know if you only have 1 possession or a million by just looking at you. Now if you are telling everybody how much you do not own and how better you are, then that is not it. Living in simplicity is not a cry for attention unless if you want to make it that way. If somebody ask you why you only have so much: just politely and respectfully tell them you want to get rid of the clutter for yourself while still respecting the other person. I do not know if you are a Christian or someone who reads the bible but in it Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee stands in the middle of the temple and loudly proclaims how great he is while the Tax Collector is in the corner by himself whispering asking for forgiveness. Though the parable is on humility. It still hold light with dealing with simplicity. You do not have to be proclaiming you are trying to live in simplicity. Also most of this is done in private such as your own home and also in your Mind. I recommend picking up Richard Foster's Book: Celebration of The Disciplines and read Chapter 6 which is on Simplicity. Though it is from the Christian Point of view there is great information for a person from any walk of life

Roody 02-07-11 01:40 PM


Originally Posted by hnsq (Post 12189387)
Since I am actually taking the time to try and learn something, could you explain it to me?

I understand the philosophy of simplicity, however observing the difference between being financially responsible and voluntarily choosing to have nothing when you can responsibly afford to have a few 'things' is something I do not understand. To me, that distinction seems like a cry for attention, a way to stand out. I am asking the question because I am trying to learn from a perspective very differently from my own. Can you help me out?


To schwinnbikelove, Smallwheels and Platy, your posts were very helpful. I enjoyed them and thank you.

There's a lot to read on this thread, including the post just above this one. I also found Thoreau (especially Walden) and the Buddha's teachings to be particularly helpful.

Probably the best bet is to just start thinking about life on your own. Stop worrying too much about what others (even Thoreau and Buddha) think, and apply your thoughts to your own life.

You seem to be starting from a very critical viewpoint, so I doubt you'll learn much. But good luck anyway.

Curious LeTour 02-07-11 10:26 PM


Originally Posted by Platy (Post 12179688)
One big complication is that people occasionally change their minds about what kind of lives they want to lead. I think this is not at all unusual. In the past I've discarded things when transitioning from one kind of life to another, then years later I'd wish I had them back. I don't really know the wisest way to handle that problem.

I agree with all of what you wrote on this reply, but these couple of sentences stood out to me. I also have had complications with switching lifestyles. I haven't made drastic switches, but I've still had trouble making some big lifestyle decisions about lifestyle choices.

schwinnbikelove 02-08-11 03:48 AM

What items are REQUIRED?
 
I don't want to derail this too much now that it's on a roll again, but I've been looking at some "100 item" lists recently and I've gotten to thinking...


Assuming someone is to be a productive member of society, excluding food, clothing, and shelter, what are the basic "belongings" that we are more or less required to have?

ID

Social Security card

*ATM card

*credit card

*another picture ID?

*phone (number)

tax information

*Titles and registration for vehicles owned

*proof of insurance for said vehicles


*optional


This is my quick list I came up with.
In my own personal journey, I am interested in building up a list of items I will need, or want to keep, as oppossed to using a process of elimination, in order for the end result to be more drastic. :eek:


This should prove to be an interesting "experiment" if nothing else.

twobadfish 02-08-11 04:08 AM


Originally Posted by Platy (Post 12179922)
I'd imagine a pet could be part of a simple life. It's just that a person has to mindfully consider the benefits and consequences. I've seen scruffy street guys sitting on curbs sharing sandwiches with their dogs. I've also seen family dogs kinda forgotten and left to their own devices in the back yards of big suburban houses. Which dog would you rather be?

I'd rather be with the homeless guy. Dogs need companionship.

009jim 02-08-11 04:24 AM

Does anyone else have this experience? Whenever I walk or cycle I find myself looking at potential places to sleep out. Like I have this fascination of being a homeless dude on the street and living really basic. I always pick out areas where it would be dry and maybe warmer. I even look at street garden beds and I have this feeling it would be so comfortable to lie on them and just have a nap. I grew up in the county way out back and so this may just be that I don't like being cooped up in and office. Anyway I wonder if I'll lose my grip one day and just become a homeless person. You don't even have to be crazy because I knew one guy and he was quite smart but he lived under our church. You could talk to him about literature and stuff and he was well spoken.

Smallwheels 02-08-11 10:46 AM

009jim I've seen videos of the voluntarily homeless. The term homeless doesn't seem to fit if it is voluntary. The videos I watched were about survival skills. On a blog I was introduced to a famous homeless guy who gave up using money and the world of consumerism. He writes a blog about some of his experiences. Some of it is very enlightening and other bits of it don't quite jibe with the whole vibe of the blog. For that reason I didn't read all of it.

Living such a way with only the possessions one can carry doesn't seem desirable to me. Having the skill to do it well is admirable. Having the mental outlook to do it is amazing. If it could be done without worries about food or shelter that would seem to be a very liberated lifestyle. I'm not saying that it could only be done because of being poor. What if one had money and just traveled that way. The whole world would be open. If one had to stay in one location due to a job then living without regular shelter or possessions wouldn't make sense to me.

Here is the blog: http://zerocurrency.blogspot.com/

Platy 02-08-11 11:30 AM

I think homelessness is to simple living as anorexia is to good nutrition. Beyond a certain point, I think stripping down one's life makes it more complicated.

The link smallwheels posted above mentions the Japanese concept of wabi sabi. I looked it up and thought it was interesting to read about.

musikguy 02-08-11 11:58 AM


Originally Posted by Platy (Post 12195405)
I think homelessness is to simple living as anorexia is to good nutrition. Beyond a certain point, I think stripping down one's life makes it more complicated.

Respectfully disagreeing to the statement (but not the opinion). I know of many examples where this doesn't seem to be true. I've read stories on this board of people touring or living in the desert/woods/swamp with their bike and a change of clothes. They report to be happy and uncomplicated.

Many of the gurus in India live homeless. They believe the lack of possessions is what brings them closer to being at peace with the Earth and the soul.

Even Peace Pilgrim here in the states used to travel across the country and back essentially homeless with a backpack spreading the work of peace to her fellow man and living with only what she needed to get through the day.

None of these people seem to have a more complicated life because they crossed the 'threshold' of what is acceptably simple. I just wanted to point this out, not to say your opinion is wrong (or that mine is right) but to offer a broader examination of people who do find peace and uncomplicated lives with the most extremes of simplicity.

By the way, I ride a Jamis Coda around Austin everyday and I am working towards simplifying my life in a way that works for my wife and I!

Roody 02-08-11 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by 009jim (Post 12194117)
Does anyone else have this experience? Whenever I walk or cycle I find myself looking at potential places to sleep out. Like I have this fascination of being a homeless dude on the street and living really basic. I always pick out areas where it would be dry and maybe warmer. I even look at street garden beds and I have this feeling it would be so comfortable to lie on them and just have a nap. I grew up in the county way out back and so this may just be that I don't like being cooped up in and office. Anyway I wonder if I'll lose my grip one day and just become a homeless person. You don't even have to be crazy because I knew one guy and he was quite smart but he lived under our church. You could talk to him about literature and stuff and he was well spoken.

I could see doing this for religious or spiritual reasons, but not much else. Jesus said his disciples should sell what they have and give the money to the poor. Buddha established an order of monks who, 2,500 years later, still own nothing but one change of clothing and a bowl.

"Lose my grip" is an interesting choice of words. Were you thinking about the most common meaning: lose your grip on sanity? Or were you thinking more about losing your grip of your possessions and/or your attachment to social conventions?

I was homeless and "sleeping rough" for a short time. One guy I met said he hadn't slept indoors in several years. He visited his sister every year. Even though she had a good bed for him, he always insisted on sleeping in her back yard instead.

Platy 02-08-11 04:39 PM


Originally Posted by 009jim (Post 12194117)
Does anyone else have this experience? Whenever I walk or cycle I find myself looking at potential places to sleep out...

I have had that random thought from time to time, mainly when I'm out cycling. I don't know where it comes from or what motivates it. My impression is that it came from reading about bike touring and stealth camping. For me personally, the main obstacle to bike touring is not having a known, guaranteed place to sleep every night. Maybe seeing a nice potential stealth camping place provokes the thought "if I could just find a place like that at every stop, a long bike tour would be easy". So whether that's the explanation or not, I thought 009jim would appreciate the feedback.

musikguy 02-09-11 08:44 AM


Originally Posted by hnsq (Post 12134927)
why is it necessarily a good and noble thing to have less 'stuff'?

It's not. At least not to me. It's more about a choice to make me happier, more in touch with the people around me and with nature.
I'm sure a lot of people wear it like a badge of honor like they do with everything else, but for those who are serious about living simply, it's like being a vegetarian or meditating. It's a conscious decision to not fall into a trap of believing you need something that you really don't. With less possessions and less clutter in my life I don't have a need to work as much which leads to more time with my family. This leads to a much happier and healthier life than if I had worked really hard for a bunch of stuff that, although may be fun, takes me out of my life (even if briefly).

Now some people won't really see this point of view because to them, the possessions in question might be really fun, useful, or shiney. But once you made that click in your head that your not that interested in the most fun, useful, or shiney gadget and all you really want is a chance to ride and spend time with your loved ones, then the simple life starts to make more and more sense.

It isn't for everyone, but for someone like me it was a real eye opener. I felt a sense of having been lied to by those around me growing up who taught me to crave and buy all the latest stuff. It's actually liberating to realize that I don't need any of that stuff. The things I love love me back. And yes, I believe my bike loves me back.

bigjim1 02-09-11 05:10 PM


Does anyone else have this experience? Whenever I walk or cycle I find myself looking at potential places to sleep out. Like I have this fascination of being a homeless dude on the street and living really basic. I always pick out areas where it would be dry and maybe warmer. I even look at street garden beds and I have this feeling it would be so comfortable to lie on them and just have a nap.
And I thought it was just me who did this. I even check out trees to see where I could swing a hammock. Don't tell my wife. She already thinks I'm crazy.

schwinnbikelove 02-09-11 11:58 PM


Originally Posted by 009jim (Post 12194117)
I find myself looking at potential places to sleep out.

Perhaps you do this because subconsciously, you realize it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan. You never know.

In all seriousness!!

Curious LeTour 02-10-11 12:03 AM

When I see a parcel of undeveloped land in the city I sometimes look at the geography of it and wonder where a small in-ground dwelling could be built. I also sometimes imagine gorilla gardening, or planting gardens on other pieces of land that I consider a waste of space (even if it already has a building on it :) ).

I certainly imagine what it would be to lie down and relax in the small cozy shelter. I know my thoughts have been inspired by reading the book Radical Simplicity by Dan Price.

wahoonc 02-10-11 03:56 AM

When I am riding or driving along roads I am always looking at an area and evaluating it for stealth camping, as well as deciding if the road is suitable for cycle use...

Aaron :)

hnsq 02-10-11 07:48 AM


Originally Posted by iron.wren (Post 12190990)
Simplicity is not just "getting rid of Possessions" its also a mindset and many more things. The average Joe walking down the street will not know if you only have 1 possession or a million by just looking at you. Now if you are telling everybody how much you do not own and how better you are, then that is not it. Living in simplicity is not a cry for attention unless if you want to make it that way. If somebody ask you why you only have so much: just politely and respectfully tell them you want to get rid of the clutter for yourself while still respecting the other person. I do not know if you are a Christian or someone who reads the bible but in it Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee stands in the middle of the temple and loudly proclaims how great he is while the Tax Collector is in the corner by himself whispering asking for forgiveness. Though the parable is on humility. It still hold light with dealing with simplicity. You do not have to be proclaiming you are trying to live in simplicity. Also most of this is done in private such as your own home and also in your Mind. I recommend picking up Richard Foster's Book: Celebration of The Disciplines and read Chapter 6 which is on Simplicity. Though it is from the Christian Point of view there is great information for a person from any walk of life

Thanks for the book recommendation, I will definitely check it out. On the other hand though, isn't crying 'look at me, I am getting by with so much less than the rest of you' just as bad?


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 12191165)
There's a lot to read on this thread, including the post just above this one. I also found Thoreau (especially Walden) and the Buddha's teachings to be particularly helpful.

Probably the best bet is to just start thinking about life on your own. Stop worrying too much about what others (even Thoreau and Buddha) think, and apply your thoughts to your own life.

You seem to be starting from a very critical viewpoint, so I doubt you'll learn much. But good luck anyway.

You call me critical and yet don't want to offer advice, and say you 'doubt I will learn much' without knowing a single thing about me? Pot, meet kettle. Look in the mirror sometime champ, you might be disturbed by what you see.

I have read Walden, I have studied buddhism, hell, for a few months I voluntarily lived out of a tent in Wyoming, where everything I owned could fit in a backpack. It was enjoyable, I loved it, but I also don't see the problem with 'stuff'.

If I buy a TV, am I buying it because all of my friends have one? That is bad. Am I buying it because I simply enjoy watching TV? That is more than OK. Giving in to peer pressure happens with all groups of people.

Are you pairing down your possessions because you will be happier doing that? Great! Good for you. Or are you doing it because you want to fit into a certain crowd that you read about online? In that case, there is a problem.

Smallwheels 02-10-11 11:33 AM

You Do Understand
 

Originally Posted by hnsq (Post 12204331)
If I buy a TV, am I buying it because all of my friends have one? That is bad. Am I buying it because I simply enjoy watching TV? That is more than OK. Giving in to peer pressure happens with all groups of people.

Are you pairing down your possessions because you will be happier doing that? Great! Good for you. Or are you doing it because you want to fit into a certain crowd that you read about online? In that case, there is a problem.

It's just that simple. Some of us are pairing down our possessions because we will be happier doing it.

There are no people in my daily life who are at all interested in having fewer things and pairing down to just essentials. The only people with whom I communicate about this topic are on a couple of forums. It might be the same with some of the others here since we're a rare breed (though our ranks are growing). I don't think anybody here needs to impress the others on the Living Car Free forum.

Hnsq is right to say some people do things to fit in. I very much doubt anybody not interested in living simply would get rid of some of their stuff just to fit in on an online forum.

It's a good thing that many people all at once aren't adopting the simple lifestyle, otherwise the US economy would temporarily collapse. Let's expand slowly. :thumb:

Roody 02-10-11 05:23 PM


Originally Posted by hnsq (Post 12204331)
Thanks for the book recommendation, I will definitely check it out. On the other hand though, isn't crying 'look at me, I am getting by with so much less than the rest of you' just as bad?



You call me critical and yet don't want to offer advice, and say you 'doubt I will learn much' without knowing a single thing about me? Pot, meet kettle. Look in the mirror sometime champ, you might be disturbed by what you see.

I have read Walden, I have studied buddhism, hell, for a few months I voluntarily lived out of a tent in Wyoming, where everything I owned could fit in a backpack. It was enjoyable, I loved it, but I also don't see the problem with 'stuff'.

If I buy a TV, am I buying it because all of my friends have one? That is bad. Am I buying it because I simply enjoy watching TV? That is more than OK. Giving in to peer pressure happens with all groups of people.

Are you pairing down your possessions because you will be happier doing that? Great! Good for you. Or are you doing it because you want to fit into a certain crowd that you read about online? In that case, there is a problem.

Like I thought, you're here to pick an argument and that's about it. Well, I have nothing more to say. Again, good luck with whatever it is you're looking for. :)

Newspaperguy 02-10-11 07:52 PM


Originally Posted by hnsq (Post 12204331)
If I buy a TV, am I buying it because all of my friends have one? That is bad. Am I buying it because I simply enjoy watching TV? That is more than OK. Giving in to peer pressure happens with all groups of people.

Are you pairing down your possessions because you will be happier doing that? Great! Good for you. Or are you doing it because you want to fit into a certain crowd that you read about online? In that case, there is a problem.

It's a little more involved than that.

What does my purchase mean, not only for me but for the rest of the world?

If I buy a large sport utility vehicle and insist on driving everywhere because I want to do so and because I can afford it, my actions are polluting the atmosphere and, if I live in a city where traffic problems are a fact of life, then I am also contributing to congestion. I am not the only one affected by this decision.

If I buy a cheap computer printer which breaks down within a few months, that also has an effect on the world around me, especially if I buy another to replace the one that no longer works. The plastics and electronics that went into constricting this item cannot be reused.

Some of the purchases are items made or produced by workers who are underpaid and badly treated. My consumption is part of the reason their living and working conditions are deplorable. In some parts of the world, flowers or coffee, for export to rich countries, are grown on agricultural land which could be used to feed those who live there. In those cases, my choice is, in effect, also taking food out of the mouths of the hungry.

I'm not suggesting we completely stop driving, buy next to nothing and stop drinking coffee or enjoying flowers. Instead, our choices will have an impact on others around us. We have been given much and as a result, we also have the power, through our purchases and through our lifestyles, to make our world a better or worse place than it is today.


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