Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another Home Run By Glenn

Who is Glenn? Glenn is Glenn Morrissette of the blog "To Simplify" fame. Glenn is another Vandwelling, nomadic, Internet friend (and another former Jersey Boy, like yours truly) who is now west coast based. Even though Glenn and I have never met face to face (though we actually came within about an hour of crossing paths once here on the east coast) I consider him a friend, because we've interfaced on line several times and have similar philosophies on life and freedom and the "To Simplify" and "Living Free" lifestyles. We will meet up in person one of these days, most likely when I get My McVansion out to the southwest or the western U.S.

Meanwhile, I enjoy following Glenn's exploits and adventures. We are from related professional backgrounds, Glenn is a musician and composer/arranger and I, of course, am a recording engineer/audio producer. The two fields go hand in hand, though there are occasionally some differences of opinion about things musical, in general, we support each other's professional habit. Oh yeah, and Glenn is young enough to be my son, but that's only a chronological difference and has nothing to do with our mutually enjoyed lifestyle of Vandwelling.

Today's post is a semi-guest post because I'm going to quote some sections of Glenn's last post on "To Simplify." Some of the readers of "Living Free" also follow Glenn's blog, so you likely have seen this post, however, as the title implies, this post is a home run for Glenn. He's very sharp, astute and like so many of the Vandwellers I've met or am in contact with, a modern day philosopher of sorts. He pretty much puts this ball right over the center field wall.

Fred & Mabel

Glenn says: The mail arrived in Ajo yesterday morning, and I got to thinking about the old days when, just like everyone else, I received mail every day but Sunday. Such needless extravagance in this age of digital wonders.

. . .

Other than the stack of 1099s that's typical for this time of year, the mail brought a small paycheck for some recent music work. $360 – not much to most, but plenty for me to live in comfort for a couple of weeks, and I dare say at a level of freedom that eludes even the super-rich. How many people have to bring in more than that every single day just to keep their whole juggling act going, and all for the privilege of doing it again tomorrow? I bet the Postmaster General is one of them.

Alas, so many have this whole freedom game backwards – thinking that it's out there somewhere with a huge six or seven figure price tag dangling off one end:

"Work, work, work, go, go, go, so I can one day buy my freedom."

Does this sound familiar? As I tell people, I've "been there, done that, got the tee shirt and don't need to return." Maybe you find yourself in this exact rut right now. Having been there, I know what it looks like. I basically see a dog tethered to a pole allowing the dog just so much freedom. The dog goes to the length of the tether and basically ends up running in a circle like he's trying to catch his own tail and the harder and faster he runs, the deeper the rut he's creating becomes. Okay, maybe that visualization is a bit too graphic for some, especially those (like me) who have invested years in earning a couple college degrees. Now, in my case, I led an entrepreneurial career. So, on the one hand, I probably had more freedom of choice, however, not to be too smug about it, all I actually did was, perhaps, give myself a little more tether so my rut was just a bit further from the center pole than those buying into the 9-5, 40 year plan.

Glenn says: If people could only open their eyes and see that what they seek has been right in front of them all along, and that snagging it is as simple as making the choice to do so. No, peeling away the decades-thick morass of misguided crud that society sold you on won't be easy, but make no mistake about it, doing that is the true cost of freedom, and compared to the path most are on, it is the undisputed deal of the century.

I can't even guess how many times I have spoken to individuals and to groups in seminars and workshops where I haven't said that EVERYTHING in life is about choices. There is the true freedom. We have the freedom to choose how we want to live our lives and what we want. As, Glenn noted eliminating the societal conditioning or, as he put it, misguided crud that society sold you won't be easy. It absolutely won't, because from our earliest childhood we've been brainwashed and indoctrinated with an American Dream that is false. The American Dream was never about how big your house is or how expensive your Mercedes or tricked out pick-up truck is and so on. The American Dream has always been about freedom, honest to goodness, personal freedom where you are the captain of your own destiny and . . . that applies both to men and women.

Even today I was talking to a full-time RVer here in Florida who has been camped out in this particular Walmart parking lot for approaching two months. He is 65 years old, disabled and receives a small (and I do mean small) pension from General Motors and a Social Security disability benefit each month. He's been living like this for 30 years, full-time in a motor home. Actually, if Glenn or I had the amount of income this fellow has each month, we'd be living like kings (well, actually we are, we'd just be able to live more extravagantly). Yet, while this guy has nothing but time on his hands, every time I try to show him  how he could use his money far more wisely, live better, get computer literate and make his life much simpler and more efficient (he even has a wonderful idea for a small, easy to make pet toy he created for his own dog and everyone who sees it wants one and would make a nice small business) he uses the age old phrase so common among the masses, "I can't." I keep telling him he can't because he chooses not to change and use his time to his benefit. Simply stop saying "I can't" and start saying "I will." Commit one measly hour each day to work towards a series of simple life improving goals and within a short time he will be on top of his world.

Glenn says: It sometimes amuses me that more people can't see this, and at other times, it's a little depressing. Imagine that you've discovered the cure for cancer, and it turns out to be something so readily available, like drinking salt water through your nose while standing on your head, pinching your earlobes, and then doing the bunny hop around the block backwards six times while belting out "Tea for Two" at the top of your lungs.

Boom. Millions cured. Nobel Prize. Man of the Year. Streets named in your honor. I'm talking real face-on-a-box-of-Wheaties notoriety here. But you can't find a single person to listen to you because everyone refuses to believe that the cure to what ails so many could possibly be that simple. But then I'm reminded of how great it is to be this free . . .

I really love Glenn's metaphors, "face-on-a-box-of-Wheaties notoriety." It makes me smile remembering all those boxes and the Wheaties I ate as a kid. But, obviously, Glenn gets it. And, amazingly, so do so many of the other Vandwelling, nomadic, living simply and free philosophers across this continent (and, by the way, around the world because we're not the only ones who get it).

Glenn goes on to poke a bit of fun at the RVers who drive, as he puts it the, "Enormo-RV's" and how they simply trade one neighborhood of close quarter neighbors and  homeowner's association rules for another. Well, folks, there, but for the grace of God, go I. I was convinced when I left the "Oakhill Ranch," the 49 acres with the nice brick ranch house and the barn, etc. on October 31, 2008, that I absolutely NEEDED a 40' diesel pusher, Class A motorhome with a couple of slides. I can't tell you how happy I am that I didn't fall into that particular trap. 

I do not condemn nor ridicule those who choose that path. I have a number of friends across the U.S. today who own and travel/live in and love their large condos on wheels. If they are happy and living the lifestyle they want to live, then they made the correct choice for them. I enjoy meeting up with them and spending time together with them as much as any of my Vandwelling friends. But, I'm just glad I, by a twist of fate and a kamikaze deer in the mountains of North Carolina, made a 180 degree change of attitude and decided to go small (about 50 sq. ft. small). I designed it, I built it and it's paid for, thus, it's mine, all mine - and it's home sweet home.

As Glenn wraps up his post: . . . as long as you're going to the trouble of convincing friends and family that you've completely lost your freaking mind, you might as well set yourself up with something that will handle the extra mile or so of narrow, winding, and rutted dirt road that extends blissfully past where Fred and Mabel fear to tread.

Friends, Glenn just described his (and mine and that of others of our philosophy, lifestyle and ilk) philosophy and definition of FREEDOM. It has never, ever been about money or material stuff. We inherited the Garden of Eden with all the beauty and grandeur anyone could ever want and it's all free for our enjoyment. Why do we want to kill ourselves for money to buy things we will use a few times and then set aside and have to watch depreciate and take up expensive space for years into the future. Worse yet, we'll probably pay for some of it for years and years into the future. Once we figure it out, all we REALLY NEED is here so ridiculously inexpensively that we can spend most of our time enjoying the limited lifetime we have been granted rather than working for "The Man." It reminds me of the take off on the Seven Dwarfs' (of Snow White fame) little song, "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go."

If you want to read Glenn's entire post directly you can go directly to his blog, "To Simplify" by clicking on this link. "Fred & Mabel" Thanks for the enjoyable and in many ways, amusing post, Glenn and the permission to quote you in my blog.

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