I urge you not to read this post. It started off as a simple list of 10 goals that would change my life for the better. I posted them on another forum and people started asking me to explain some of my goals and once I started typing I couldn't stop. This is more for my benefit than anyone else and there is a lot of drivel to wade through so I wouldn't blame you for not reading it all. I have put the original list of 10 goals in bold so you can just skim through it without reading all the rubbish.
I was thinking about this whilst working today and I caught sight of my bike. I love my bike and I thought wouldn't it be great if I could do everything without a car, just using the bike. So I thought, that will be a goal in my life. The I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of 10 goals that would change my life for the better so here they are.
1. Live without a car and cycle or walk everywhere. I already cycle everywhere but I do have to own a vehicle because for one thing we live in a vintage Airstream and we need to tow it around because of some silly rule that we can only stay on a campsite for 28 days in a row and then we have to move off for one night and then we can come back for 28 days again. I don't know who makes such rules but I can guess that the rules don't affect them in the least because they have never lived in a trailer. The other reason why I need a vehicle is because I run a pretty conventional business and I need to visit clients out of town, deliver goods and fit signs etc. So, the plan will be to find somewhere we can live permanently and change our business so we don't have to go anywhere.
2. Never enter a supermarket ever again For the rest of this piece I will refer to them as "snoopermarkets" because there is nothing super about them and they snoop into everything you do. I know it is fashionable to dislike the snoopermarkets but I really do have a deep hatred of them. I once heard an interview with the head of a snoopermarket saying that people in general don't like strong flavours so they design their food to not really taste of too much. Someone mentioned to me the other day that "You don't really get people with garlic breath any more" and I must admit that I have not noticed anyone with garlic breath for a long time. They said that "The snoopermarkets had modified the garlic so it doesn't give you garlic breath" WTF! You think that if you buy fresh vegetables and fruit from the snoopermarkets you will be OK but you are just getting tasteless fibre and water and in the case of fruit, sugar. One of the few things I do like about snoopermarkets is the people who work in them. If you take the time to really engage with the people who work in these places then you really do find some very nice people but the snoopermarkets are slowly phasing them out. Every time I go to the snoopermarket I notice one less checkout operated by a human and one more automatic checkout. I hate these things. They don't joke with you or ask you how you are (they do ask for confirmation of your age when you buy booze which is nice at my age) and everything is being monitored from above and analysed and filed away. And now the snoopermarkets are moving into all areas of your life. Soon you will probably send your kids to a school run by the snoopermarkets.
3. Get rid of bank accounts I'm not sure I will be able to adequately convey my complete and utter contempt for banks and the banking industry. The fact that the snoopermarkets are also providing banking is no surprise to me at all. They are all friendly and smiley and charming when you open an account but as soon as you are ensnared the smiles melt away and you are confronted with multi option telephone calls, threatening letters and endless charges which push you deeper in debt and lead to more charges. If you want to buy something from them they sit you down, offer you a coffee, make small talk but if you want to complain or question anything you are pushed from pillar to post and you are made to feel like scum. I decided I would go to my local branch to make a complaint and they said they couldn't deal with my complain in branch and put me on the phone to somebody on the other side of the world who didn't have to see the hatred in my eyes. Banks have engineered the world to make it almost impossible to operate without them. It is not possible to be paid in cash from most employers these days so you have to have a bank account or you won't get paid. Utility companies charge you more for paying in cash and most shops get all confused if you offer them money instead of plastic. They are slowly making it more and more difficult to run your life without going first through a bank but it is one of my long term goals to do away with banks and the best way to do that is to basically do away with money. Society trains us to think that earning more money is a worthy goal but really spending less money is much easier than earning more money. Permaculture might allow me to live with very little money.
4. Source all my food locally and seasonally including growing, hunting, foraging, brewing and buying. I don’t need to tell you guys about the importance of buying locally and seasonally. Eating food you have either provided yourself or obtained from someone you know is a fantastic thing. You don’t have to try and do everything yourself but finding everything you need within walking or cycling distance is a very empowering feeling. You might lose a few friends due to your garlic breath.
5. Reduce my energy use to the extent that it will be easy to generate the small amount of energy myself The amount of people I talk to who want to know how big a solar power system they would need to power their home is astonishing. They don’t want to hear that they may need to get rid of the dishwasher the hair dryer and the TV in every room. Power is like money. It is better to not need much than to generate all you want. Keep it simple, keep it small and always have a little in reserve.
6. Collect and treat rainwater and river/spring/well water Pretty clean water falls for free from the skies but we are led to believe that we are much better off letting that go down the drain so it can be filtered and cleaned and chemicals added for our own protection and then pumped -at great expense- back to our homes so we can use it to flush the toilet. words escape me.
7. Be responsible for my own waste and engineer solutions to turn that waste into a resource. Waste should not exist. We all know we should be dealing with our own waste but it is much easier to get someone else to deal with it. If was all had to deal with our own waste then there would be a lot less waste in the world. Take shit for instance. A human produces very little shit per day to be honest. if we isolated the shit it would be quite easy to deal with. But we don’t isolate it. We add it to grey water from our sinks, showers and washing machines and then add a huge amount of fresh drinking water so we have a massive amount of toxic foul smelling water to deal with. taking responsibility of your own shit could save the planet.
8. Never be in a situation where one person can completely turn my world upside down on a whim This is a big one for me. I am fed up to the back teeth with people being able to completely fuck my life up just because it will make their life slightly easier or cheaper or whatever. When you put yourself in a position where someone else can make life changing decisions for you you get that horrible feeling in your stomach like when you were a kid and you hadn’t done your homework or you had done something wrong and you were waiting for your parents to realise what you had done. I am an adult and I don’t think i should have those feeling in my gut any more! I need to put myself in a position where I am in control and not somebody else. This is something I have to do for myself and my family. There are two main areas where this applies. One is where we live and two is where we work. We live in an Airstream on a campsite and we are very happy there. It is close to work, it is close to my allotment, there is a great pub nearby, we have become a little bit too comfortable there and now my tow vehicle is off the road so we could not easily move off site even if we wanted to. i now feel like I have to walk on eggshells around the owner and live in fear of being asked to move on. We need to get the tow vehicle back on the road and get moving around until we can afford our own land. Work is another matter.I rent my workshop off a friend and for the first year everything was fine but now little issues are creeping in and I am starting to get that feeling in my gut and I am having to bite my tongue and bow to pressure and I shouldn't have to feel like that at my age. Because we live in a trailer we store a lot of our stuff at our workshop so moving out of there would be a nightmare plus moving our business again would probably mean the end for our company. The solution is to de clutter. get rid of all this crap that we have stored but never use. Downsize so we can move easily. We also need to modify our business so we can work from anywhere and have multiple streams of income to build in resilience. Plus by reducing our costs we can reduce our reliance on the place and remove all the pressure I feel under.
9. Get rid of the TV My Wife loves the TV. She watches it all evening every day. She says it helps her escape from the day to day stresses and helps her relax. I used to believe this too but have come to realise that TV just adds to your feelings of inadequacy and stress. I used to always watch the news by the BBC every morning. In the UK we hold the BBC up as some shining light of decency but really they are just the mouthpiece of the government and they only broadcast what the government want you to see and hear. Plus is is used as some sort of social engineering device to keep you on the straight and narrow. It doesn't matter if what you are doing is actually legal, if they make the general public think it is unacceptable then you will not be allowed to get away with it. TV conditions you to act in a way that is socially acceptable and lampoons anything that is out of the ordinary.
10. Help others I love helping other people. Some might say I love preaching to other people but I see it as helping. I love showing people that just because something has always been done in a certain way it doesn't mean that it always has to be done that way or it is the best way and there may be another way. So it will be nice showing people that is is possible to live car free, snoopermarket free, bank free, utility company free, waste free, stress free and TV free and still live a normal life
Just wanted to write them down and make my thoughts solid. No doubt they will change in time and I have many more than 10 goals but there you go. These are the 10 that instantly came to mind.
Worthy goals, in my opinion. We've already incorporated many in our own life-change journey. It took a few years to make the changes, and we are still fine tuning it.
We also added the goal of taking responsibility for our own physical and mental wellbeing. That incorporated diet change and daily activity. It also meant addressing stress, which we tackled head on via yoga, taichi, meditation, philosophy studies, and discussion.
Reading your post made me yearn for two things that won't happen where we are......a good pub and the ability to go to town using a horse.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com