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

cyclezealot 02-09-06 10:51 PM

Does the amount of stuff you have define your life? I don't think we are materialistic, yet compared to some- we probably have a fair amount of stuff.
I say being materialistic means obsessed with getting new stuff. But, even more important stuff you do not really need or stuff that is to impress someone else.
We do not fit that category. We are not driven by getting new stuff or impressing others with excess money , we do not have.
Yet, you live once. We do have our wants. Does that make us gluttons. Our cars must be energy efficient. Would prefer to bike. Prefer everyday clothes. Hemp would do if available. Or just jeans, dockers. Armani jacket. No way. More like an old tweed or courdroy jacket and jeans.
What defines simplicity. Living like a monk or just not being consumed by consumerism. What is important to us. Vacations,seeing the world. Yes. You only live once. Why not. Heck. The older generation think Lap tops consumerist.
I say it is the values you display not what you have.

pakole 02-12-06 10:25 PM

The amount of stuff is just an easy indicator of simple living, but it is not the only thing. If a person is involved with so many activites that he or she must eat doing one of his or her club meetings, the aforementioned person is not living simple. Living simple is about living to live not living to impress or living to show off or living to buy, but just enjoying your time when you come home, not be bother with doing this and that or paying that bill and that thing, and taking that out and fixing that thing, but just doing what you enjoy. Living a life worth living. That is what simple living is to me.

DavidLee 02-26-06 11:07 AM

Wow, this is a great thread! I've been reading everyones responses and many of you have some great ideas and reasons for paring down ones life. For me I just can't stand clutter. I think it's because my mother was an absolute pack-rat. She saved everything and to this day still does and I suppose I grew up conscious of never wanting to be a pack-rat.

Currently I live in a 3 bedroom townhouse by myself and it's just way to much for me. Not only in terms of space but everything associated with taking care of it. Though I'm a renter and repairs don't cost me anything the daily upkeep of just cleaning and keeping things tidy is a chore. I'm looking into renting either a 1 bedroom or studio aprtment within ear-shot of my job this spring. As a result of that I'm also looking to go car-free as well.

After reading your many post through the morning I came up with a list of things that I can do without. I plan on giving away much of my living room set to my brother as I won't have the room in my new place. If I go with the studio then my bed can go as well, same with the kitchen table. I've decided that cable TV is next on the list, $43.00 a month is just too much for the garbage on TV these days though I will need my broadband internet, I gotta have it.

With losing my truck, renting a smaller place, no cable and other oods and ends I expect I can save roughly $700.00 a month if not more. Some I can put to charity while the rest can go into helping me open my own PC shop one day.

pakole 02-26-06 06:01 PM

That sounds great. I hope you are able to get exactly what you expect out of oyur plans.

attercoppe 02-26-06 10:13 PM


Originally Posted by DavidLee
For me I just can't stand clutter. I think it's because my mother was an absolute pack-rat. She saved everything and to this day still does and I suppose I grew up conscious of never wanting to be a pack-rat.

My mother was/is a pack rat as well, unfortunately I learned it from her rather than getting turned off by it. :(

It's good to hear you were inspired by this thread, I hope you are able to live just the way you want, it sounds good!

cerewa 02-27-06 03:08 PM


With losing my truck, renting a smaller place, no cable and other oods and ends I expect I can save roughly $700.00 a month if not more. Some I can put to charity while the rest can go into helping me open my own PC shop one day.
Way to go, DavidLee. In my opinion, it's good for the world, when people decide to live in spaces no larger than they need (and don't have to clean/heat/cool a larger space than they need) and let go of possessions they don't need. There are plenty of people who could benefit from having more possessions and resources, and those of us who have more than enough can do our part by not overconsuming and voting/giving in ways that hopefully direct resources to people who need them.

Crazy Cyclist 03-02-06 11:07 AM

I have nothing against having nice things ( plasma tv's, I Pods, Pc's) but if a person can't afford to buy them, than they shouldn't buy them. I have a bike, a tv ( not a plasma or anything like that) a CD player.

I have no car ( I have a drivers licence though) and I am happy. If Icome across some extra money and I can afford to buy something than I will buy it. I try and buy things for my bike before I buy things for myself. I pretty well have all I need.

pakole 03-03-06 01:13 AM

Hey would not buying things for your bike be buying things for yourself as well?

kf5nd 03-03-06 08:17 AM

Living simply is next to impossiblewith kids, because you've got all of their cr** and sh** to deal with. Honestly, children are the most messy creatures on the planet, and it seems to get worse in the teen years.

When my son goes to college in four years, the house will be much simpler and cleaner!

koine2002 03-04-06 12:28 AM

Well, I live in community with about 30 other people. We cook for one another and have a chore schedule to keep our 5 acres clean. It so happens that I also live across the street from the office. I pay about $200 for room and board as well. I walk to work everyday and use the bike for getting around town. I own a computer. I'd be completely car free, but as an itinerate speaker, I'm on the road a lot and driving is a vital part of that--though I usually rent one or use a company car. I'm with a non-profit doing aid work in the 2/3 world and many of us seek to model a simple lifestyle to reflect the lives of those we are seeking to impact.

vrkelley 03-04-06 12:36 PM


Originally Posted by smilin buddha

But the guy across the street was spending 30 dollars a day on gas to run his large tv and all the items in his house. I realized I can be happy with a hot cup of coffee and a warm meal. It was nice to go to the spare room and see so much space. I

No hurricane here. Yet I'm thankful also for these same things. Hoping this will go better for you smil'n

sfcrossrider 03-21-06 01:19 PM

I live across the street from Ocean Beach and next door to Golden Gate Park. All I care to do is surf and ride my bike, so my needs are met by default.

smilin buddha 03-27-06 05:09 PM


Originally Posted by vrkelley
No hurricane here. Yet I'm thankful also for these same things. Hoping this will go better for you smil'n


I am hoping for a quiet year. But you never now. I found that the generator was not needed by me. I spent several nights reading by lantern. Of course it was nice to have the guy across the street for one hot meal a day. Of course the gas powered shower gave me something to look forward to.

Portis 03-27-06 05:19 PM


Originally Posted by pakole
Hey would not buying things for your bike be buying things for yourself as well?

Hey that's a good idea..."honey, it's not for me, it's for the bike!"

jww106 04-22-06 07:39 PM

wow this is an amazing thread
 
my partner and i are going through some of these issues. she got admitted to a phd program at mich state starting this august and we are debating whether we want to buy or rent-either way we want to get a bigger place than we have now so that we have a space to store and work on bikes besides next to the dining room table. :) and possibly create a rock climbing space-i think the majority of our stuff is based on the activities we like to do-ride bikes, camp, rock climb, snow shoe-your typical outdoor couple.

but i also am coming out of 3 years of making little money - being in grad school, then doing a one year stint in Americorps-all that time depleted my savings account-although aside from school debt, my ccs are pretty much untouched. but having a regular full time job is a real struggle at times-i already bought a new bike-and sold my old one through craigslist-but i felt like the whole time i was making less money i was making a list of things i "needed" to do once i got a paying job again-of course i didn't realize that until the last couple of months-when the paychecks started rolling in...

NuCommuter 04-25-06 11:36 PM

Inspiring.
 
This is one inspiring forum. I don't live very simply at all--three part-time jobs, multiple sports (kayaking, skateboarding, swimming, running, biking, and chasing my 8 year old daughter around the house), and a very cluttered schedule and house. I am interested in reducing my footprint on planet earth, and have taken some modest steps in that direction--I'm vegan, live purposefully in a two-family house in the city rather than the 'burbs, drive a biodiesel-fueled car, give a good chunk of my income to The Nature Conservancy, and have been biking to two of my three worksites for a couple of months now... but I'm a serious clutter-head, as is my wife. You've given me much to think about; I'm not sure I'll ever look at shopping in exactly the same way again. It's so easy to fetish-ize objects. Rather than thinking what I "need" for my bike and outdoorsy lifestyle next, I'm thinking in reverse--what can I do without? Muchas gracias,

NuCommuter
Cambridge, Mass.

Starven_Marven 05-01-06 10:57 AM

I've been trolling this thread for a few weeks now. I want to say thank you for this great thread. Though I am far from simple living, this has helped in evaluting many of my own wants and needs. Anyone that has made it car free has my praise, as this seems so far away from what I could do.

Keep up the great work and thanks for the great thread.

Jack Burns 05-05-06 06:58 AM

"Throw your tv at your car."

I love that tagline! Very Abbeyesque!

Jack Burns 05-05-06 07:42 AM

Wonderful thread, except for some of the personal attacks.

I tip my hat to my fellow "simple livers" and offer sincere words of encouragement to each. I was once a heavy consumer, drunk on the elixir of things and a fat paycheck. But one day while sitting on my patio over looking the unnatural deep green landscape of a golf course, I suddenly came to the realization that something was terribly wrong.

Over the next ten years, I went through a process of reeducation and devoted my life to sustainable living and environmental protection. But it's not been easy.

I'm the Chief Operating Officer of a high tech company, have a good income and lots of responsibilities working with people who do not share my worldview. As far as I can tell, I'm the only corporate officer in my city that commutes by bike to work. And I don't know of any other companies that use consensus process for decision making and offer all employees ownership and decision making ability. I guess you could say it's my own little social experiment. But I digress.

I'm married and have three kids. Of course, all want cars. One in college has a car; one in college does not. My wife drives my 1988 BMW 528e, the last car I ever bought, and I'll never buy another.

We currently live in a rented house, and there are very good reasons for this choice. iBarna, you are not alone. I'm not a big fan of the whole land/home ownership thing, although you can easily make a sound fiscal case for it. I've always more closely identified with early Native American concepts of land stewardship and occupancy. However, my goal is to ultimately purchase some land and build a small cabin somewhere. I think that's the only way I'll be able to protect land from development, not worry about being kicked off, restore native flora and protect native fauna.

But the fact remains that home ownership has become a cudgel of sorts in our society. A way for people to accumulate wealth and therefore power over others, and it also drives development and the exhaustion of resources and is therefore inherently unsustainable.

I do own books, music and art, most of the latter produced by friends and my son, a student at Maryland Institute College of Art. And camping gear. I'm an avvid backpacker but not a "gear head."

We live in a community where everything is accessible by walking or by cycling, and we're fortunate to have a network of bike lanes.

I maintain a garden, and I'm working to produce as much food as possible.

Our landlord is gracious and kind and has agreed to let me convert the property to a wildlife preserve of sorts, never using chemicals and allowing some deadfall and refuse to remain for the critters. I'm also an amateur ornithologist.

I don't use credit cards and only keep a debit card for traveling needs.

In short, we attempt to "live in place," meaning, we try to live locally, buy locally and use as little fossil fuel as possible. I believe this is only path to sustainability. Sustainable means that the society does not consume more natural resources than can be replenished by natural biological and geophysical cycles, and does not produce waste faster than can be dispersed by natural biological and geophysical cycles.

I think its pretty clear that any group that does not follow these simple guidelines will not long last.

Want a sustainable society? Well, social systems derive from the actions of the people, reflecting those actions and instructing new members of society on how to be a successful human being. It seems unlikely that we can change our social system without first changing our behavior. There must first be a successful society of people living in harmony with local cycles, before it can be a model for all human societies, in their infinite variations on the theme.

So, we can start with what we have, discard what we don't need, reject the foolishness and destructiveness of the present consumptive example and begin to ease toward a lifeway offering a path to a more sustainable future.

adgrant 05-05-06 08:49 AM


Originally Posted by Jack Burns
But the fact remains that home ownership has become a cudgel of sorts in our society. A way for people to accumulate wealth and therefore power over others, and it also drives development and the exhaustion of resources and is therefore inherently unsustainable.

Ownership of land has always been about wealth and power dating back to long before the feudal system of government in Europe (one notable example of this is William I of England and his "Doomsday Book"). It is in no way new nor is it limited to "our society". Life is for most people (and animals) a competition for resources.

The U.S. lifestyle probably is unsustainable for economic reason if nothing else. Unfortunately, China is waiting to take our place.

Jack Burns 05-05-06 12:36 PM


Originally Posted by adgrant
Ownership of land has always been about wealth and power dating back to long before the feudal system of government in Europe (one notable example of this is William I of England and his "Doomsday Book"). It is in no way new nor is it limited to "our society". Life is for most people (and animals) a competition for resources.

The U.S. lifestyle probably is unsustainable for economic reason if nothing else. Unfortunately, China is waiting to take our place.

That is a true statement. However, my concern is with the present society.

But you are not entirely correct about "competition for resources," and I would add that humans are animals, which is another problem in our society. Many (most) people (anthropocentrism) see themselves as somehow separate or superior to other animals, and they are not.

In the current orthodoxy, the term struggle is endowed with Hobbesian and Social-Darwinian meanings: struggle is the war against all and the survival of the fittest in a regime of continual, mutual aggression. This notion was not Darwin's, and it is not only ideologically distorted, but in my opinion, factually wrong. By no means do all creatures behave in this way. In fact, no creature, not even the "king of the jungle," endures wholly through predation. Look at the simplist creatures, microscopic cellular beings on which the entire biosphere rests.

The British palaeontologist Richard Fortey points out, the first "sustainable" systems, the mat creatures or stromatolites whose lineage goes 3 billion years back to the Precambian period (roughly 2.4 billion years before the emergence of more complex multicellular organisms), and that still endure in certain protected locales, are composed of layers of prokaryotic bacteria, the topmost, doing photosynthesis, the lower layers breaking down the waste products of the upper by fermentation, the whole given structure and nutrient by trapped grains of minerals. It's a sustainable system in miniature, one where existence at base can be thought of as reciprocal rather than competitive.

And there are other example, as well, in pre-contact and post-contact societies.

FXjohn 05-05-06 01:11 PM


Originally Posted by Jack Burns
Many (most) people (anthropocentrism) see themselves as somehow separate or superior to other animals, and they are not.

.

Maybe you aren't, but I am.

Jack Burns 05-05-06 02:46 PM


Originally Posted by FXjohn
Maybe you aren't, but I am.

Well, I'm happy for you. But I have to ask....

How so?

FXjohn 05-05-06 03:55 PM

If you don't think your life, your emotion, creativity, etc aren't superior to a fieldmouse, who am I to disagree with you? Hell, chop yourself into catfood, equal it all out.

Jack Burns 05-07-06 07:18 AM


Originally Posted by FXjohn
If you don't think your life, your emotion, creativity, etc aren't superior to a fieldmouse, who am I to disagree with you? Hell, chop yourself into catfood, equal it all out.

Superior? Maybe so. Maybe not. That's a human term and value system you are projecting on to the fieldmouse, who (for as far as we know) is perfectly satisfied with its existence.

The fieldmouse can live anywhere and doesn't pay rent. He doesn't have to deal with divorce, the IRS, drive by shootings and maintaining an expensive residence. He just gathers his food and keeps a watchful eye for snakes and hawks and spends his or her days running about and making other fieldmice. So, maybe the fieldmouse has the "superior" existence.

I used to think as you do, but my point is this. The fieldmouse and all species, including humans, all play important roles in an ecosystem. In the world of biology, no species is more or less important than another. This concept of "superiority" is a construct of the Judeo-Christian world and its theory of man being the only species created in the image of god, a belief that has contributed heavily to species extinction.

Folks can believe, based on faith alone, these sorts of stories, but the equality of species in an ecosystem is rooted in scientific fact.


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