Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Trying to slow down, but who cut the brakes?
I am continually being challenged by the need to simplify my life and slow down the pace. Yet every step I take towards this goal seems to be redirected and I find myself in the same situation that I was trying to escape, and my life remains as complicated as ever.
This is true of so many different areas of life. I have been trying to establish a veggie garden to reduce reliance upon commercial food production. Not only should this reduce the cost of food, it is intended to increase the freshness and flavour of the food we eat. But the desired reduction of cost doesn’t seem to be working. Creating and maintaining a vegetable garden seems to be very expensive.
A few years ago I moved from the city to a country town, hoping to maintain a more frugal, less job-dominated life. I worked out that I could easily earn enough money from part time employment to sustain a simplified lifestyle. Yet despite my intentions I could only find fulltime work and have been unable to realise the hoped for slower pace.
Full time work has also had other effects. Once again I’ve become used to receiving a “full time” salary, and it seems like my lifestyle has moulded itself to fit the incoming funds. I can no longer imagine how I could survive without that income when there’s a shed to build, a bathroom to renovate, an evaporative air conditioner to replace, ceilings to repair and paint, gardens to complete… There’s always something else that needs money. And note I haven't yet mentioned all of those other things required to decrease my "ecological footprint".
It would seem ideal to be able to live a more self-sustaining lifestyle, but one thing I’ve noticed is that self-sufficiency is a very expensive business as can be seen from the example of so many who are trying to move in that direction. Even with Government rebates, people are spending a fortune on water tanks, grey water irrigation systems, solar panelling and who knows what other technologies that are "essential" for a simpler, less damaging way of life. Clearly the “ideal” does not come cheaply and I suspect it may be another consumerist con; this time targeting those with a social conscience.