We dont need much. Its easy to "make a living" if we will only live simply.... it was Thoreau's message.. and mine as well. Thoreau was absolutely right, most of us are needlessly enslaved all our lives. Not by force. Not by necessity. By choice... Because of the lifestyle choices we make.
We are taught that we need more more more more more more more more more. The media bombards us. But thats not all. We are also surrounded by fearful slaves eager to "protect" us from the discomfort of freedom. They are our family, our friends, our co-workers. They are well meaning, but completely in the grip of fear...
When I lived in my van, I was plagued by doubters. I had enough of my own worries, and they fed off them. My family filled me with fears about criminals assaulting me. They fretted about the weather.. surely I would freeze. They were horrified by the "hardship" I would endure.
Though I no longer live in a van, the steady stream of worries continues. They fret because I dont have health insurance. They fret because I sleep on the floor (a mattress, seemingly, is now a "necessity"). Everyone is convinced that I cant possibly be happy in a tiny one room studio, sleeping on the floor. How can I survive without cable TV? How can I sleep without a $200 mattress? How do I tolerate the "hardship" of walking down the hall to use the bathroom? How can I possibly get by without a car? How can I continue to live a "student lifestyle" at my age.... I should be living in a McMansion, paying off a $150,000 mortgage. I should have a car payment. I should be stacked with credit cards.
The shock extends to dating. Its one reason I am no longer interested in dating American women. They are, as a general rule, superficial. Theyre looking for expensive clothes, a "cool" apartment, and plenty of cash. If/when I describe my lifestyle, the horrified shock instantly flashes on their faces.
Its amazingly easy to be free. Contrary to the mass conditioning, we in fact need very little in terms of material possessions.
The hard part is not living simply, the difficult challenge is pyschological-- dealing with the relentless assault from media and people in our social circle. Its not easy. It took me a great deal of time to unravel this mass hypnosis... see it for what it is. It took me even longer to accept that Id forever be outside the "mainstream"... that most folks would never understand or accept my lifestyle.
However, it was worth the effort. I passed through several lonely years. But if you follow your principles, eventually opportunity opens. As I committed to an autonomous life, I gradually met like minded people. Over time Ive built my own hobopoet tribe. And Ive even had a very healthy dating life.
And so, with the benefit of hindsight, I offer this advice: Endure the doubts-- your own and those of others. Endure temporary loneliness. Endure the criticism and worries. Go forward boldly, with faith in yourself and your convictions. Do so, and doors will open where you never imagined they'd be (Thoreau).