2014 is a new year, and I feel like a new man. Julie and I are approaching the six month mark next week for this crazy life experiment. What a trip it has been. I have undergone many transformations since we started this journey. I walk or bike to and from work, I am raising 20 fish and growing food indoors in my aquaponics system, making my own home cleaning supplies, cutting my hair at home and using coconut oil as hair styler and moisturizer. I am cooking everyday, and bring lunch to work every day. A tank of gas lasts me two months. I house sit, I pet sit, I have brewed kombucha, we have port brewing in our dining room, we hosted a pancake party. I barter, trade and swap for things, including services and skills. I took some belly dance classes. I have gone to a few free shows. We have done some public speaking engagements, and given a heap of interviews. I lost 10 pounds. I have never felt better in terms of fitness. I have a new appreciation for nature. I spend way more time outdoors, including in the winter months than I ever have. I check out more public art. I volunteer more. Pizza is now a real treat. I have saved $13,000.
It is amazing really, all the things that have resulted from this experiment. It feels less like a year of buying nothing, and more like a massive lifetime shift now. What was challenging a few months ago, has now become habit. What once seemed novel, now seems routine. That is peculiar in and of itself. I guess I should have expected it, given the nature of behavioral change is that it becomes the status quo over time. It is funny though, I thought I would miss more things at this point. In fact when I was drafting up blog ideas in the early days of this experiment, I thought now would be a good time to check out on what I feel would be missing from my life. Although my wants have diminished, a few desires have maintained or grown over the course of the last few months.
For instance I want a haircut. Like a real haircut. For the past few months I have been getting Julie and other friends to cut my hair with an electronic razor. However, I miss having hair that has some shape and texture. I would like a pair of barber shears used on these locks. Also I miss going out for a nice dinner. Particularly for food that I have never made or am not motivated to learn to make at home, like sushi or thai food. I miss those things the most. Also I have been starting to yearn to plan for a vacation, just a wee bit. Especially as I hear about my friends plans to go to Mexico or some other warm balmy location. Winters are long in Canada, and the desire to escape always sets in right around this time.
I have cheated once so far. I bought pizza one day over the holidays. I was planning on cooking that day, and then felt sick very suddenly and did not feel up to the task of cooking. So I broke down and ordered a pizza. It was delicious. I forgot how good pizza can be. Julie cheated and pitched on pizza with coworkers the week before, so I felt justified in my cheating. Funny how we can rationalize things. Its that whole, I want what my friends or neighbors have. This is why increased income generally brings diminishing returns.
My desires at this phase in the experiment, have affirmed the notion that giving up services is harder than giving up things. I actually have wanted very little in terms of actual stuff, and on the few occasions where I needed some object, it is offered to me (e.g. candles, incense, socks). Services are a tad harder to obtain as they usually require a bit of a time investment. Speaking of things, I got the best Christmas presents a BNYer could ask for this year. A box of household necessities including everything from duct tape to crazy glue, to socks, and a food basket of essentials such as vinegar, oil and beans. I have the best family ever.
Gifted Food Basket
All the essentials