August 14, 2017

Hugs Not Thugs




Hugs are a good way to say "I love you" without saying, or buying, anything.



"Let's have a war on hugs", said no one ever. Doesn't everyone love hugs? Problem is, not enough hugs, and too many thugs.

Here's the right idea - a "Bliss Mob Hug Parade". Yes, it is a real thing.

Our problems run deep. Hugs alone won't fix them.

But hugs will definitely make things better. So let's do this thing. Hugs all around. More hugs will decrease the incidence of thuggery. It will prevent the formation of new thugs.

Hugs before we start the hard work before us. Hugs during the hard work that we will do to create a better world. And lots of celebratory hugs when we see the joyous outcomes as we journey together.




August 11, 2017

Millennials Not Buying It

There is a major cultural shift taking place. Goodbye Boomers, Hello Millennials.


Hooray for Millennials. They are making money-makers mad. Many individuals born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s to early 2000s are going off script. They aren't playing the game, and a variety of industries and products are feeling the pain of being left on the shelf.

There has been a culture shift quietly taking place in the most nonconformist generation since the hippy movement of the 60s. I am loving these Millennials, or "The Cheapest Generation", as frustrated sellers of stuff call them.

But the system should take notice - I don't think that ridicule and name calling will work this time.

Back in 1918, Nicholas Klein, a trade unionist, stated "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you." If the Millennials continue their game changing ways, and don't start buying and doing what they are suppose to, expect the attacks against them to ramp up.

"The least useful generation in America" aren't buying the dismal consumerism life that has been offered up for decades now. They see where that got their parents - debt, stagnant pay, depression, and struggling to raise a family on two wages. They see what the system has done to our planet. They were raised in an era of perpetual war.

Consumerist capitalism has infected everything. We live in a excessively wasteful, throw-away world. Disposable income, disposable products, disposable people. Waste defines our grotesque wealth.

Understandably, many of the young are not big fans of capitalism, with 42 percent of Millennials favouring a more people-centered approach. No wonder the establishment is in a huff, hurling insults such as "lazy", "high on self-esteem", and "entitled" at this recalcitrant cohort.

Get used to it. This group wants experiences that are more authentic, and less reliant on the Big Corp/Big Government cabal. This cultural shift is another nail in the coffin of a way of life that has been unsustainable from the beginning.



Things Millennials Aren't Buying


- car and home ownership

- uninspiring wage-slave jobs

- ownership (why own something when you can rent it?)

- bosses that use fear as a management strategy

- golf

- TV

- Mainstream Beer

- Big box stores

- Children

- Anything their parents tell them to buy



This is the most hope I have had in a generation since the Gen X slackers gave the finger to the mainstream. Having grown up through the Great Recession, Millennials are "an entire generation with permanently changed spending habits." Excellent.

It is good news that this group doesn't spend as freely as previous generations. Nor should they, unless they want to keep the whole Ponzi scheme going. And they don't. Is it because of financial constraints, or is this the generation that will embrace more sensible DIY frugal simple lifestyles? Will there be monuments to Millennials in the future? Time will tell.

I do hope it is true that Millenials are"ready to fight—to do whatever it takes". I hope they are truly  "not afraid”, and that that they go down in history as the generation that restored some sanity to a consumer culture gone mad.

If not them, who? If not now, when?






August 9, 2017

Simple Living Advice

Think. Ask questions. Learn. Answers follow. Take action. Repeat.


A big thank you to everyone that responded to my last post with advise for NBA reader, Hagan, who is looking to break out of the 9 to 5 and live a more adventurous and free life on the road. It has turned out to be one of my favourite comment threads of all time on our blog.

The responses are great for anyone pursuing alternative ways of living, and who isn't these days? Following the comments, and thinking about Hagan's 23 year old thoughts, has me thinking a lot about my own path, 33 years advanced from his position.

Whenever I am pondering something, patterns become apparent, and information presents itself at precisely the right time. For example, I was reading at the Down To Earth blog. I find that we are often on the same page, and this time was no different.

On her most recent post Rhonda Jean wrote:

"I think simple life is a safe haven for those of us who refuse to be dumbed down and who want to continue learning and developing ourselves all through life.
The choices are key here. Instead of following a straight and monotonous "normal" path, we can step away from that to embrace learning, independence, daily contemplation, critical thinking and individual choice. Sometimes we take the easy path, sometimes the difficult one and each day, small step by small step we move through life. 
There are times when we stop and reevaluate what we're doing, sometimes small adjustments or huge leaps are made but if we resist the noise of modern life and stay focused on our own life being a work in progress, then these periods of adjustment help us continue along the road less travelled."

I thought of Hagan, because like the comments posted here, these are words to live by, words that I have lived by. It reminded me that there are no simple answers, no one size fits all response when it comes to thinking about how we should best live this precious, precious life we have been given.

Having said that, one can't go wrong by advising a life of simplicity centred on continuous learning and self-improvement. It seems that if one focuses on that, the rest will fall into place.

Again, thank you to NBA commenters that have shared their wise thoughts with us. I do hope that Hagan has seen your kind words.

You can read the post and comments here. And if you haven't already, do consider leaving a comment of your own.







August 2, 2017

Conflicted

Stick your finger in the map - it smells of the open road. 


Do you yearn for a life on the road? Or a simple life, anywhere? Does thinking about the 9 to 5 make you nauseous? Need more than a mainstream life of conformist mediocrity?

NBA reader Hagan is feeling the disappointment of mainstream life. Like many of us, he is not feeling spiritually enlightened by materialism and the work-shop-work cycle. He left a comment on our post called Rubber Tramping.

Hagan said,

I am feeling so conflicted. I have been spending the last almost 2 years, waiting, pacing back and forth. Figuratively speaking; I've been banging my head against a wall because I don't want to live a 9 to 5 lifestyle. 
I feel stuck. I feel decompressed and restricted. I am a decently talented artist/ musician who has lived the same place in Colorado my entire almost 23 years of life. And I don't think I will be able to just.. be. 
Ever. Not like this. 
I'm asking you all for advice. How do you make a living on the road.? I've talked with good friends about this topic and a lot say spanging, wire wraps, jewellery, all the way to selling dollar beers, and grilled cheeses at music festivals. 
Please give me insight if you could as I am in need of all the advice I can find.

I responded,

Hagan,
I have been thinking about your comment since you left it here. I, and many people that visit this blog, know how you feel. Your need for freedom is palpable, and it is serious. 
You must act. 
I don't know about making a living on the road, having never had to do it before. But I do know a bit about living with as little as possible so I can be as free as possible, both on the road, and off. 
Cut your expenses, and make the life you envision happen. It will be hard, and at times scary. But it absolutely can be done. And should be done. A life of conformist mediocrity is a hard row to hoe as well, so you might as well be free. 
Be free. Do whatever it takes. That is my only advise. And let us know how it goes.


That doesn't seem like much help to this young, suffering soul, but it is a complicated situation. Pretty much everything in our way of life is meant to stifle freedom, not augment it. You will work for us. You will give us your hard earned cash in exchange for trinkets and distractions.

Obey. Conform. Wanting a simpler life and more freedom seems like a natural reaction to an un-natural exploitive system. I think Hagan is on the right path.

My own quest for simplicity has been a decades long adventure. But I do remember feeling similar feelings when I was 23. There has never been a time in my life that I envisioned doing the same things as everyone else around me. I wanted to find, and take, the road less traveled.

Regular life is not for everyone. Maybe a life such as what we have for the masses today is not for anyone. Now seems like a great time to explore alternatives, on the road, or off the road. Anywhere.

Rubber tramping. Leather tramping. Tramping. Being free. Being.

Do you have any advice for Hagan, or others (young or old) looking to live more simply and with greater freedom? How does one get off the 9 to 5? How do we break free of the chains of mainstream culture and the consumer capitalist system?




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