Wednesday, February 22, 2006


by Skald

There are many benefits to living a simpler life... but perhaps, in our modern society, time is the biggest. I remember what it used to be like for me, back in my full time wage slave days. I never felt I had enough time. What a shock it was, going from university life (tons of "free" time) to working. My first summer at IBM, I was severely depressed. I woke at 6:30 am. Commuted an hour to two hours (depending on traffic). Worked 8+ hour days (though "work" is an inaccurate word.. I was bored out of my fucking mind). I arrived home at 6/7pm... exhausted. Exhausted by boredom. Exhausted by the stressful commute.

I had two measly days, Sat & Sun, that were "mine". As each week went by, my sense of desperation grew. I felt enslaved. I couldnt imagine living an entire adult life in that way. The seeds of my hobopoet lifestyle were born then. I knew I had to find a better way. It took me many years to find the (obvious) solution.

And now? Occasionally I bitch about my 20 hour workweek. Yet I love the work I do... and most days have a great time doing it. My commute? 5 minutes walking... for a total of 10 minutes a day. I work Monday-Thursday... and so have a three day weekend. Even better, Im not only a part time worker... I am also temporary.. in the sense that I usually alternate working for a few years.. then taking a year or more off.

Compared to my wage slave days, I have plenty of time. I spend hours loafing in coffee shops. I read like crazy. I have plenty of time for this blog AND my other blog. I go to the gym 1-2 hours a day.. sometimes to workout.. often just to sit in the sauna and hot tub. I often go for long walks in the city. In fact, I never use the bus system because Im rarely in a hurry. The city is only 7x7 miles long.. so I pretty much walk everywhere (occasionally taking the subway to visit friends who live south of Mission).

Im a bit of an indy movie buff... and have plenty of time for renting or going to movies. When I want to travel, I rarely take a typical American "vacation"... ie. a pitiful two weeks. Usually I quit my current job and travel for 2 months at minimum.... longer if I can afford it.

By living a simple life day to day, I not only have time for all these pursuits... I have enough money as well.

Big noble causes are great. I wholeheartedly agree with Thoreau's big picture principles. I admire people who live simply for spiritual or environmental reasons.

But truth be told... the selfish reasons are most compelling to me. By living simpler, Im having a lot more fun in my life. Im more relaxed. Im more intellectually stimulated. I have the time to follow my bliss... anywhere it takes me. I have more mastery over my own life.

Simplicity IS a noble principle. But its also a damn practical strategy for greater freedom and happiness.


Anonymous said...

Damn, you make me jealous as I'm in an altogether different mode now. I'm working two jobs at the moment, so I can save up money for the Next Big Adventure(TM). Motorcycle training costs money, and a bike you can ride around the world costs money, too. The trip, when it happens, will be worth the sacrifices though.

Enjoy the time you have. I'm working 40 hours in one job, and 20 in another, time is very precious to me.

Plark said...


I was doing some more nodding to that post Aj.

Much agreed again. The simple life is a flippin fabby life.