Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Man Who Quit Money

Surprisingly, I've been reading a lot of nonfiction lately. It is good for me and encourages me to consider the world more deeply--like in the case of Suelo, a dude who gave away ALL of his money (even the pennies !) and decided to live off the land.

imagined survival skills
I found the book "The Man Who Quit Money" by Mark Sundeen horrifying, inspiring, thought-provoking, harrowing and fascinating all at the same time. While I would love to envision myself as capable as a panther in the wild, I am well-aware that I am more like a fat house cat who begins to MEOW incessantly when half of my fancy feast kibble disappears.

actual survival skills

So it was fascinating to read a story about a man who literally gave up everything and still--to this day as far as I know--lives entirely off the land, trusting that the Earth will provide for him just as well as she provides for all the other creatures who live here.

And while I can't see me giving up all my worldly goods and living in a cave, I do think there was quite a bit of wisdom here that I definitely want to put into practice in my own life.

For example, the book talks about how--before Suelo gave up money--he got a job with a long commute to pay his bills and how he thought living like that--working so hard for money to buy *&^% he didn't need was insane. And I have to agree. 

Many of my most creative friends (hell, most people I know), talk about how if they only had more time or money they would do A, B, and C. And a great deal of what the book is talking about, is how you can do A, B, and C NOW--not in some imaginary future--, if you just let go of other things that aren't really enriching your life at all.

I don't know about you, but this is true for my own life at least. I wanted a better work schedule, where I would have more flexibility and time and so I started teaching online rather than in-seat classes. It took time to iron out the details, and I had to forgo the pleasure of my students' company in the classroom, but I achieved what I wanted.

And in regards to money, I think if I simply spend less money, I won't have to work as much to make money. And before many of you dismiss this, I think you will can name 3-5 things that you currently pay for that you don't HAVE to have. And imagine what your life would be like if you didn't have them? Would it be so terrible? Or would you get freedom, skills, etc. in return?

I think the real challenge for people like me will not be building the life they dream of, but instead, untangling themselves from the money system so they can do so. I can't, for example, go live in a cave while I still have student loan debt. And I imagine that if you have a house, cars, etc, you also feel like it isn't possible.

So I wonder if getting out of the money system is the answer--or even possible--or if, in what ways, we could free up a little more of our space and time?

And I think everyone would love to feel a little more free to do the things that they want to do. It is just a matter of identifying what should be discarded and having the guts to let those things go.

And it is hard. It is hard to imagine that we can live without a 4-bedroom house or a two car garage. We fill safer when we are paying into retirement and have good insurance. But no matter how much stuff we pile around us, we are not going to actually be any safer.
No really--this book reminds me of something, but I just can't quite put my finger on it..

So if we can't be safer, maybe at least we can be freer.

What are you willing to let go of, so you can be free?

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