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Monday, December 17, 2012

Learning to Live with Less

I used to think THIS
would make me happy

For the majority of my life, I've wanted the biggest houses, the nicest toys, the best clothes, the best food, the best entertainment, and the poshest lifestyle. There was a certain sense of entitlement I had that was a bit beyond the pale. I didn't just want to be a millionaire (as I do now). I wanted to be a billionaire... and I wanted to live that sort of lifestyle. I won't lie – That lifestyle still has a certain appeal, but one of the things I have been realizing more and more as I continue to build a life in my tiny motorhome is just how much I can live without.

To some degree, I still have an upwardly mobile attitude, and find myself salivating over some of the big diesel pushers I see heading down the road... and for sure, when I Look at Beauty, I see the potential for what she can be rather than just the reality of what she is, but the difference is that I no longer feel entitled to such things. I know that the generosity that's been thus far been bestowed on me by my friends who have literally kept me on the road and warm at night is not a long-term solution and that the things I want I will have to work for.

That said, I find myself feeling guilty for all of the $100 dinners I've enjoyed in my life. I find myself feeling guilty for the luxuries I've bought and taken for granted.... houses with guest rooms and no guests in cities where real homeless people slept under bushes, and poor people with apartments slept on floors while my guest bed had a visitor 2-3 weeks per year. I find myself cognoscente of the absurdity of walk in closets full of clothes and shoes. I find myself sick over spending thousands of dollars to replace perfectly good furniture with brand new furniture.

I have less “stuff” than I've ever had in my life, and for the moment, less money to buy “stuff” than I've ever had in my life, but there is something very freeing about downsizing to the bare necessities of my needs... and something very humbling about looking at my situation and comparing it favorably to some of the people with whom I interact daily who live with so much less than I do.... Gordon, who sleeps in a hatchback at night with no heater... Kevin who sleeps in his old SUV with his dog, plugged into heat much not much else, and little to no access to a computer of his own. I see Bob, the crazy guy who sleeps (literally) under the bridge.

I'm an urban camper... a choice I made to strip away the facade – the house of cards I'd built to maintain appearances in my life – and If I need to, I have the skills, the knowledge, and the resume to go to work in a “real” job rather than chasing this crazy dream of living from my writing. I have options, but so many of the people I interact with on a daily basis don't. They're doing the very best they can, and the net result is substantially beneath the poorest level at which I've ever lived.

Now, THIS is my "dream home"
As I enter my first Xmas as “the Homeless Gazillionaire,” and my second as a “Very Much Gooder Author,” I think perhaps though my bank account is dry and my immediate needs suck up any money that comes in like a wet-vac during a power surge, that in many respects I really am a gazillionaire (not that I'm pulling down my fundraiser that ends next week or anything. I still really need the money so I can get south and look after the health matter I've previously mentioned.) I think perhaps that because I'm warm in winter, with gas in my tank and food in my cupboard, and marketable skills at my disposal, and friends who have saved me during my darkest times, that perhaps I'm doing alright.

And giving Beauty AWAY
is part of that dream! 
I spent most of my life wanting the lifestyle of the rich and famous, and fought tooth and nail for it with varying degrees of success. Now, I'm pretty sure that if I had that sort of money, I'd spend it a lot differently... and not so much on myself. My biggest dream used to be owning a 12,000 square foot mansion set on 1,000 acres. Now, my biggest dream THIS 30 foot motor-home (click the link to see more pics of her) and the wherewithal when acquiring it to be able to simply give the keys for Beauty to someone less fortunate than me with the admonition to simply “pay it forward.”

 I don't know if that dream is realistic or not, or if that's the way it will go, but I do know that for me, that's not a step down in my dreaming, but a step-up in my connection with humanity. It's not a cop out. It's an opt in...and with Xmas just 8 days away, tonight a feel a little richer for knowing that my biggest dream is to have the capacity for helping another person to have it as good as I do.

Thanks for reading.

Sev


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