Thoughts on Simple Living Over 50

People ask me if it is easier to live a simple, minimalist type of life when you are older. I believe that it is. Of course I wish I had started living this way from the very first day I was on my own, but then again when I look back at all of the mistakes I had made in life with handling money it makes me realize that it is the reason I live so frugal today.

My life is made up of a scheme of changes developed from reflexions on my past decisions. It certainly would have been more convenient if it were other peoples mistakes that I learned from, but as it goes it doesn’t always work out that way. I don’t know if it was lack of good information or just my own ego that caused me to just sign on the dotted line. I thought that driving a nice car meant I was doing well or upgrading to a larger house was status symbol. If other’s had the latest greatest gadgets then I must be missing something if I don’t have them too. I worked long hard hours to keep up with paying interest on a bunch of stuff I really didn’t need or want only to look back and barely remember the stuff I purchased.

When I do reflect on years gone past it is always the people and adventures we went on. The picnics, the mountain hikes and days on the beach. All the money that was spent on purchasing a bunch of stuff would have been better served just remaining in the bank. And all of the long hard hours worked to acquire these things was wasted time.

I think that when one wakes up and realizes that life is short and our years of youth ore behind us we also discover that we have a lot of catching up to do. Not only with our savings, but also with spending our time doing those things we actually enjoy doing. We understand that we were all caught up in the commercial game of getting ahead only to realize that we fell behind.

I still make purchases today but they are much different than yesterday as every purchase I make has some sense of value behind it. If I decide to bring an item into my house it must pose a significant value in my life. It has to serve me and not the other way around. I no longer care about what others own and really don’t care about what they think about the way I live. My job is not a status symbol, but a simple means of earning money and each dollar I earn is treated with respect as it is a symbol of the precious hours I attributed to it.

For me it took until the year 50 to understand modern life. For others it may not take so long or it may take longer. Either way I believe that we all have a wake up call in life and we have the choice to ignore it or finally commit to making changes. It’s not all about trying to create a comfortable life in retirement but rather finding peace through a life of less stress right now. Each day is a new celebration of the wonders that surround us and how we are all a part of it. I choose not to miss a single moment of being a part of seeing the sun rise over the mountain range or the occasional rainbow smiling down from the heavens or the opportunity to see two birds playing in the trees. I hike with the noticed feeling of the ground under my feet or just how that river is flowing next to me. The health of my garden is more important to me than the car parked in my driveway and certainly brings me more joy. I don’t just live with my spouse but rather love her more than anything else that takes part of my days and nights. It is all of these things and more that touch my soul and give meaning to the word living.

So yes, it is much easier living a simple, minimalistic life over 50. A Simple Life Over 50.

Posted in Adventures, Camping, debt, Family, Finances, Fitness, Fun, Gardening, Growing Up, Health, Hiking, Life, Marriage, Minimalist, Nature, Oregon, Simple Living, Walking, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Turn, Turn, Turn

original“Turn! Turn! Turn!”

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!

The Byrds

You know when a song gets stuck in your head you just have to release it!

Posted in Art, Blogging, Family, Minimalist, Simple Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

When News gets Old

calmWhat happens when you sit down to write a post and no thoughts come your way? You battle to come up with an idea and think about forcing some keyboard strokes into words that just have little true passion behind them.

Sometimes we had attribute this to writers block, but I prefer to call it “calm”. Some days it is ok to just be and accept a feeling of peace.

I have read a few articles this morning thinking it may stir my mind a bit, but the truth is that I just don’t have much opinion on the subject I have read. The Denver Broncos have won the Super Bowl, the United States is always facing an economic collapse and everyone is interested in who will be the next President. Non of these things have much influence on anything I want to write about. This is just one of those days where I find great pleasure in simply existing.

Posted in Family, Growing Up, Life, Minimalist, Simple Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Baking Passion

daves-bakeryI remember scraping money together as a young lad for on occasions our little group would get together to visit different restaurants in the area. It wasn’t that often, but when we did we always tried to select a different one to discover the tastes and flavors of specialty foods from around the world.

These were special times indeed as we all dined and talked about things of life. We would sit there sometimes for hours and enjoy our own company along with the ambiance of the establishment we chose that night.

Dave was especially interested in the quality of the different breads we shared as it seemed that he was in very deep thought with each bite he took. I remember him trying to just get a taste of each desert on the desert tray, with the waitresses dismay of course. There was just something about baked goods that made his eyes light up.

As we all finished High School and set off into the world Dave ended up taking a job in local construction. The work was hard, but it paid a better than average salary for a man his age. Even with enough weekly pay to set out on his own he made the decision to stay behind and live with his parents. Eventually his dad allowed him to do some of his construction work by setting up a small room in the basement.

Dave one day made a decision that his true passion was built around the that delicious bread and pastries he would taste on occasions and made a commitment that he would find a way to dedicate his life to his passions. So he did what any young man would do when feeling a calling… He started to bake. He read book after book and even purchased courses on DVD in which he watched over and over again. On his days off he would utilize Mom’s kitchen to experiment with different items of the baking world and repeated them over and over again until he found perfection in his projects.

During this time he was able to save almost 70% of his paycheck each week and carefully set up a savings plan. Even with paying room and board and money for food to his parents, his currently meager lifestyle allow for great savings. While the rest of up were partying and having a good time going to concerts and clubs Dave remained behind and found little pleasure in anything other than baking.

He started baking so much that he could no longer find ways of getting rid of the products of his master and found himself throwing much of it away. He didn’t want to stop baking so instead he found ways of giving his products away. One day he walked into a senior living center with an array of sweet splendors and asked if you could donate some of his tasty treats to the Center. It wasn’t long before all the residents got to know Dave as he walked in every two weeks with trays of love. There were pastries, cookies, cakes and pies carefully placed on large pizza trays. His visits became one of the highlights at that senior center.

His stays became longer as many of the residents enjoyed talking with him. A couple of retired business owners took a special interest in Dave as they talked about their life in business. Dave learned a great deal about the business world and devised a plan to eventually open his own bakery right here in the town he grew up in.

As the years went past there wasn’t a person in town that didn’t know of Dave’s craft. No matter where we went he left behind samples of his baked goods. He continued to save and developed a special relationship with one of the financial employees at his local bank. Between the two of them he was able to devise a plan to build that bakery of his dreams.

Today Dave arrives at his bakery at 3:00 AM to prepare all of the products he needs for the day. He is doing well as he has taken on help and made the decision to pay them well. People come from miles away and whenever there is catering to be done for a party Dave’s Bakery is always the first name on their lists. The most important thing is that Dave jumps out of bed each morning and cannot wait to be involved in his lifelong passion.

How rare it is today that we find anyone who can define their passions as well as Dave has done. We all have them and know exactly what they are but somewhere along the way we are sent in different directions and get confused. The truth is that the very same passion will live with us always until we discover a way to cultivate it.

When I was a kid I always wanted to be…

Posted in Adventures, Art, Blogging, debt, Family, Food, Fun, Growing Up, Life, Minimalist, Simple Living, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Minimalism can be Hard Work

HardWorkAheadSign_thumbThere seems to be a false belief that minimalism is all about easy living. It is true that it leads to a life of less stress, but when it comes to work folks who live this lifestyle work just as hard as those who don’t. The difference is that us Simple Living folks understand the value of our hard work. We direct our hard earned money in a direction that allows us to pursue a life that becomes much easier, less burdened life.

We save money, we pay off debt and find affordable solutions to living like living in a smaller place, or purchasing smaller homes that we actually can afford. On the weekends you won’t find us hanging out at the mall, but you might find us hiking or cycling a great natural trail. We drive older model vehicles and make sure that when take them out that we are making well planned routes to make the purchases we only need do it once. We share rides to work or sometimes take our bicycles when the weather is right. We pack our own lunches and brew our own coffee. Sometimes we gather and share food that we actually prepare and also share in good conversation about things that really matter to us and not just about those things we watch on TV. We discuss the struggles of life and also our successes. We teach our children the value of money and how it will become their responsibility to master it one day. We prefer the fresh vegetables from our own gardens over store bought ones and love canning them at the end of the season.

And most importantly we work hard. We go to jobs or work our own businesses with a positive attitude as we know that there is great reward in out hard work. Each dollar costs us a little bit out of our limited time here on Earth and understand that time is money. Just like we value our time we also value our money and make hard decisions about how to spend it.

When we do make purchases they are built around the question, “Will this bring value to my life?” And then we wait and think about it for a few days before we actually purchase it. We have a limited amount of clothing and need only those things to wear that fit into our lifestyle.

We live by the way of a budget and stick to it as we understand that if we don’t control our money, someone else will.

We go to work each day with an attitude of gratitude even knowing that the day ahead may be tough, the rewards will be enough to manage the little world we live in.

I write these things today because I see too many young people confusing simple living with doing nothing. Building and establishing a work ethic is of utmost importance as it has always been since the dawn of time. There are great lessons to be learned through the process of earning a living and without those lessons it is difficult to discover your own creativity that leads to becoming a part of society that contributes to the whole. When we find that we really love building houses or baking bread we also discover what lives in our very souls. We are all part of each other in a sense and living outside the community is not only difficult on our pocketbooks, it is also difficult on our souls.

Everyone has the need to be a part of a group. Maybe this is why we see so many young people finding refuge in being a gang member. Even when choosing to be rebellious the need of community still exists. Even in the thought of standing out from the crowd and being different we tend to be attracted to others who are also different as become part of something.

To my young friends, get up early, go to work and learn to find peace within yourself. It is the starting point of life in this world we live and won’t be long before you find the path you are meant to be on. When you see it you will know it and will connect with some pretty interesting souls along the way.

Posted in debt, Finances, Food, Fun, Growing Up, Hiking, Life, Minimalist, Nature, Primal, Simple Living, Walking, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Just Let it Go

3930213226_let20it20goWhat is it that still remains in your life that no longer serves you? Why are you hanging on to it? Let it go and set it free. Fill your life with only those thing that serve you and bring you joy.

Today is going to be a glorious day. A day where the sun shines brightly in my heart. My life is filled with so many wonderful things from people, feelings and objects. Today I bask in the warmth of knowing that everything is as it is and I am a part of it. Serenity fills my emotions as I start out this day and everything is simply wonderful.

All negative emotions which still find refuge within me I declare your freedom. Leave me now and never return because I declare my independence from you. Those of you who are on a constant pursuit of sending negative energy my way you must understand that I cannot hear you and all I can do is smile and send you love. To those objects in my home let it be known that I will no longer be tripping over you as you lie at the bottom of a trash can. You have lost your purpose if there actually was any when I acquired you. You too are set free. I let you go.

Posted in Blogging, Family, Life, Minimalist, Primal, Simple Living | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Charity

No man needs charity other than the opportunity to rise. When seeking a hand out and there is none it is then an understanding of survival allows for a man to discover that change is inevitable.

The problems created by compassionate charity is only complicating the problems that exists within the subculture who’s existence was created by “losing one’s way”. The answer must be discovered in opportunity to dig ones self out of the hole that was dug and begin to rise up once again.

Real charity begins with returning choices to the individual who seeks to eat each day, sleep in warmth and enjoy the safety that living in a society provides. No man earns this without some kind of exchange of energy between giving and receiving.

I don’t know all of the answers, but I do know that there is much work to be done.

Posted in debt, Emergency, Family, Finances, Food, Life, Minimalist, Simple Living, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Simplicity breeds Simplicity

shutterstock_189839342-700x467So you are packing your lunch each morning and pouring the last of that pot of coffee into your mug and getting ready to head out to work. Your sharing a ride with a coworker to cut down of fuel costs have learned that simply coming home after work and being content with life as it is can be more rewarding than going shopping. When we uncomplicated our lives through reduced spending on stuff we really don’t need and learn to live each day a little more simply it leads to only more simplicity. Simplicity breeds simplicity.

While keeping life simple you notice that there is a lot more money at the end of the month. You start a plan to finally pay off those credit cards and auto loans. Months have passed and you see your debt balances slowly being washed away. You finally have a decent emergency fund to draw from it the car should break down.

Now it’s only been a few years, but as you have kept steady at living a life of simplicity you find even more ways to enhance your life through finding creative ways to further reduce your need for things and find that life itself is the reward of living. Credit card balances have vanished and car loans paid off. You are fully dedicated to finally paying off that student loan that you thought would be with you until the day you die.

It’s been ten whole years since you started down this path. Your income has increased since then and now living without consumer debt you make the decision to take on the monster. Is it possible that there really is the possibility that you can actually own your home one day free and clear? You think about where you are now compared to where you were just ten years ago and realize that moving forward is more about taking a step back.

Another ten years passes and your home is finally yours. Now you are free from any kind of debt and other than taxes and living expenses most of your paycheck is going into savings. You think about where you are, where you were and how your life could have been very different right now if you had not chosen simplicity.

This story is not so much about where you were twenty years ago as much as it is about where you want to be in your own life in twenty years. And it pretty much that simple.

The ability to see your way through is already within you right now. You have many freedoms, but the most important freedom of all is the freedom of choice. For many giving up the false pleasures of pride lead them down a path of destruction while sacrifice opens doors to discovery. When we look back wasn’t it the most challenging times in our lives that we discovered our own abilities to survive? Most of the best times of my life had little to do with money or things. It was always about people. It is always about people.

Where will you be in twenty years? Where so you want to be? Would a life lived with zero debt open even more doors of opportunity for you to discover simplicity?

Posted in debt, Family, Finances, Fun, Growing Up, Life, Marriage, Minimalist, Simple Living, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Power of Consistency

AristotleOne of the least talked about subject when it comes to success is the subject of consistency. There is no doubt that determination is a strong factor, but it is through the act of being consistent in you efforts to accomplish a task that will truly allow you to reach your goal.

Determination only lasts so long as most of us know when we set out to lose weight on January 1st each year. Setting up a plan to do the same thing each day or several times a week with a specific time allotted for workout and following through will lead you to where you want to go even without being determined to get it done.

If you saved just one dollar a day, even without interest you would have 3,650.00 saved in ten years. If it was 10 dollars a day your savings would be 36,500.00 in ten years. It could happen if you are consistent in your efforts. Where are right now compared to 10 years ago? Where do you want to be in 10 years? What consistent habits have you formed that didn’t allow you to get there?

The bottom line is that as boring as it may sound simple consistency leads to success. I wish I had more time to write on this subject but I have to go to work so I have a paycheck that comes in consistently every two weeks.

Posted in Blogging, Body Building, debt, Family, Finances, Fitness, Health, Life, Minimalist, Simple Living, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Liberty Still Lives

This is one of most eye opening interviews I have seen in a while. Is is possible that we have moved so far away from the feeling of liberty that we don’t even know what it is anymore? Have we become so comfortable that we have forgotten that we have rights?

The interviewer is Jason Stapleton and the one being interviewed is Kris Ann Hall.

Posted in Minimalist, Simple Living | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments