January 1, 2021

Good-Bye 2020, Hello 2021

Welcome to the new year, which will probably be much the same as the old year.

While 2020 is finally over, humanity’s challenges will persist into 2021 and beyond, virus or no virus. 

Because of that prediction, in my home we turned the year of Virustime into an opportunity to hone our simple living skills even further. 

We adopted simple living a long time ago so we could be ready for moments exactly like The Great Whatever-That-Was of 2020.

As a result, we were little affected by what was happening around us.

No shopping? No problem. 

No restaurants, no concerts, no travel, no bars? 

No problem. 

We quit all that a long time ago in order to save money and reduce our ecological footprint. 

However, we did not free ourselves from vehicle ownership until this past year, making it one of the biggest changes we have ever made as we progress toward our ideal simple life.

How about social distancing? Being somewhat socially self-sufficient, we've got that dialed as well. 

Like everyone else, there were changes for us, too. Fortunately, most of them were beneficial. 

We joined a food buying club that gives us access to bulk locally grown organic foods. As a result, we got our pantry into fine form over the last few months.

This summer we expanded our garden, growing more food than we ever have before. We also preserved more food this fall than we ever have before. 

We can't wait to start the 2021 growing season. I guess we already have as there are a couple of rows of garlic under mulch under snow out there right now.

We used the year of disruption to replace several foods we used to buy from the grocery store.

That has meant fewer avacados from Mexico, bananas from Central America and oranges from California, and more kale, apples, carrots and potatoes from our garden. 

We replaced store bought energy bars, granola, yogurt, graham wafer biscuits, and plant-based protein patties with recipes we developed ourselves. 

With shaky supply chains, and the very real possibility of break down, we do not want to be dependent on foods that could stop coming at any time. 

We prefer homemade anyway for the improved taste, nutrition, cleanliness, and the cost savings. 

My favourite thing about 2020 is that it made me feel like I was living in a cabin in the woods far from the madness. 

Because of our quiet, rural location and simple routines, plus conditions resulting from the isolation of lockdown, over the past year my home has felt like an ashram, or monastery, or forest hermitage. 

And I have loved it. 

Living a quiet, simple, peaceful and isolated life away from the hubbub has been a lifelong goal, and 2020 was the closest I have got yet to living in such a situation. 

My wish is that 2021 is as quiet, peaceful, slow and deliberate as last year was, and that Linda and I are able to continue turning adversity into opportunity in order to grow as simple living advocates and as human beings.

I extend this wish to the whole human family.

Happy New Year to the readers of Not Buying Anything. May this be your best, most simple and satisfying year yet. 

Why not?

It could happen, even if 2021 turns out to be as tumultuous as last year was.

And it might. Best to be prepared.


  1. "The year of disruption." What a perfect way to describe it. I must admit that not too much changed for us as we are home bodies, don't socialize much, don't travel, go to concerts or bars. We did, however, enjoy eating out on Fridays to decompress from the work week and we do miss that. The only shopping we ever do is online or at grocery and home improvement stores for food and supplies to fix up our house. We love peace and quiet and most of all privacy. We are happy and relieved to have survived 2020, but many challenges still lie ahead that I don't think a date on a calendar will magically fix. All the best to you and Linda for a happy and healthy New Year!

    1. You checked all our boxes, except we do not have the privacy of owning our own home. 2021 could be our year. Glad to hear your family is doing so well.

  2. Anonymous1/02/2021

    Such a beautiful way of life for you & Linda. One that I aspire to. Happy New Year!

  3. Anonymous1/02/2021

    A poetic and inspiring post, thank you Gregg. I too am really looking forward to the gardening season. My little garden did OK by us last year, we went several weeks without having to purchase veggies from the store, which was very nice. Hoping to take what I learned from last season to improve this year's crop. I love graham crackers, which may be similar to your graham wafer biscuits and sure would love some pointers on a recipe. - Mary

    1. That is great about your garden. I enjoy gardening. And basically free food. It also feels great to reduce our dependence on large corporate grocery chain stores.

      It is interesting to think about what it would be like if those stores closed down. Permanently. I hope that doesn't happen in 2021.

      I am working on a post for graham wafers. So good and easy.

  4. For someone who lives in the heart of the city, 2020 came as close as possible to my idea of a "life perfect." Being "forced" to work from home gave me many hours to just savour being in my lively little boho space. For months now it has no longer been a matter of getting my exercise in the walks to and from the office - when I go for a walk these days I wander where I want to, because I want to. The one very sad thing is that every week either newspaper or brown paper goes up on the windows of one of the little shops that have been in the area since I used to skip an afternoon of high school to meander along the main drag and dream of living here (it took me fifty years to get here, but here I am!). Hoping for the very best of everything for you and your lovely Linda throughout this coming year.

  5. Anonymous1/04/2021

    Love it! Congrats on living your values in this tumultuous time! Your words bring perspective to my anxiety. Blessings on your family in 2021 and beyond!

    1. What a year it has been. Reducing our cognitive dissonance one step at at time. Feels good.

  6. Thank you everyone. We love your comments, and are inspired by your example.

    Your presence here helps Linda and I to feel connected to a larger project, and it is very exciting to be part of it.

    These are exciting times. Interesting, too.

    Best wishes for 2021.


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