July 13, 2012

Breaking Free

Breaking Free,  Zenos Frudakis
Someone asked me, upon hearing of my simple life, "What do you do all day?" I don't mind - I have been asked this question before. I guess it is fair because many folks can't imagine what they would do with themselves if they didn't have a full time paid job to organize their lives. They are genuinely curious about what it is like to break free.

So this is how I answered the most recent question:

What do I do all day?

Well, I call it early retirement. What does one do when retired? You live and enjoy life outside normal expectations, obligations, and stresses.

My situation is a bit different because Linda has multiple sclerosis and I am her full time caregiver. Also, we don't have kids. But our lives would have played out pretty much the same regardless, as we have always desired a simple, free life. 

When we need money we engage in temporary or contract paid employment, but by living simply money has become less and less important. We would rather have lots of time and little money, than little time and lots of money. Life is short, and the best time to live it is now.

Our time is filled with cooking everything from scratch, since we do not use processed foods. All our bread products are prepared at home, and we tend two small gardens. That alone takes up a surprising amount of time, but what enjoyable time it is.

As far as what we do for enjoyment, a major criteria is that it has to be inexpensive. Or better yet - free.

We like to engage in creative low-cost activities such as writing, playing guitar, singing, drawing, and painting. We do not have much of a need for recreation or entertainment, and see them mostly as expensive distractions.

Many social activities involve spending money, so we are more likely to meet friends and family at home rather than at a coffee shop or restaurant. Even better is meeting them on the beach, at a local river swimming hole, or on a hike through an old growth forest.

We prefer to be outside anyway, and spend as much time as we can in natural surroundings enjoying peace and quiet. 

After almost 10 years of this lifestyle we measure time more by the cycles of nature than the clock or calender. Changing bird life, tides, moon cycles, and seasons tell us everything we need to know about the passage of time. 

Sometimes we only eat 2 meals a day, and sometimes we take long afternoon naps. We eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, and wake when we feel rested.

This is what we do.

A tendency toward freedom is inherent in all life. You can see it where delicate, green plants break through hard, black pavement. I have always been a green plant struggling against the asphalt of oppression that has threatened to smother my freedom. I gladly gave up a life of debt, and endless working and consuming, to be able to grow freely.

For me, and for Linda, it was better to break free and possibly have to sleep in an uncomfortable bed, than remain in chains and sleep in luxury.

We live the freedom of the simple life, and we heartily recommend breaking free to everyone.


  1. So true. I would love to be free. I do not want a lot in life just not to be in chains

    1. Not wanting a lot makes it much more likely that you will attain freedom. Having said that, throwing off the chains is a continuous, lifelong project.

      That is why we need to help each other.

  2. Anonymous7/13/2012

    To start, that sculpture is amazing!

    I get asked the same question all the time too. My answer is very similar to yours. Being my own caregiver, much of my day is taken up in getting myself showered, dressed and fed. I still am able to spend the afternoon sittin on the porch watching my beloved crows or I meditate, listen to music, take naps. I have no set time to do anything. People often think I'm "brave" because I have a progressive disease and I seem to handle it so well. Truth is, this disease has given me more than it's taken away. It allowed me to live the life of simplicity that I always craved. If there were a cure tomorrow, I wouldn't change how I live my life.

    1. Congratulations on turning what we may think of as shortcomings into strengths and assets.

      MS is no fun, but it sure has taught Linda and I a thing or two about what is important to us. It is one of the things that helped guide us toward the simple lifestyle we wanted.


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