Thursday, March 27, 2008

Frugal inspirations

Part of figuring out the whole simple living thing is deciding on which things to do without, and which things are worth working for. As I triangulate in on my personal sweet spot, I've found it helpful to look at examples of simple lifestyles for comparison.

Some are fictional characters:
  • The main characters of The Riches - a family of grifters that's accustomed to living in an RV
  • Various characters in reruns of Northern Exposure
  • Luke Danes, the owner/operator of the diner in Gilmore Girls
Others are real people:
All of these people have adopted standards of living that are simpler than mine, in different ways. I find it helpful to imagine myself in their place, and think about what I'd like and what I wouldn't, or what possessions or resources I'd miss, and which I wouldn't.

So far these thought exercises have helped me change my mind about some things that I used to consider necessary: a cellular phone, and living in an urban environment, for instance. They've also helped me figure out where my boundaries are. As frugal as it would be, I don't think I could handle living on a free Alaskan land grant that's only accessible by charter plane. I think it's safe to say Amanda would agree on that point.

I think eventually we'll end up in a lifestyle somewhere in between these sorts of extremes and a conventional American suburban standard of living. Looking at examples like these for inspiration is really helpful in figuring out exactly where our compromise lies.

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