I made a realization today. Yeah, happens sometimes. But I have to back up a little before I tell you what it is. Maybe you'll have guessed by the end of my post.
One of the words Michael has used to describe me is "unpretentious". And he's right on. Pretentiousness is one of the few things I abhor. Pretense of any kind is just an illusion and pretense that someone is "falsely important" or better than someone else leaves me cold. The consumer trappings to prove one's "importance" are just that - a trap (and probably a debt trap to boot!)
Can you guess where I'm going here? Maybe to a simpler, though not "easier" lifestyle in PEI? When many people my age are planning their retirements around European tours and luxury condos in Miami I am planning on living in a home that will be heated with a woodstove and a basement floor made out of dirt and several inches of gravel. You could say that my lifestyle will be even "less luxurious" than it is now. Why is this ok with me?
Simple. I am not used to luxury and wouldn't know what to do with it if I had it. (Although I could also very easily argue the point that I do live in luxury if you compare my lifestyle with the several billion people in the world who live on one or two dollars a day - but that's a different post entirely.)
I am a little odd. While co-workers and friends sold their homes and moved into bigger, more comfortable surroundings over the years I remained in the condo that I bought as a single parent when I earned less than $25,000 a year. We're talking no dishwasher, a noisy hotwater tank, not the best neighbourhood in town, no air conditioning, small yard etc. Even when my income doubled, tripled and quadrupled I have remained in my condo. While people I knew traded in their car every year or two for the latest model I continued to drive my old compact car with rollup windows and power nothing.
And today I figured out why and you won't have guessed this part.
It's because of my mother and father. I have never aspired to live a lifestyle beyond what they were able to provide for me and my four older siblings. Don't get me wrong - they made several improvements in our pioneer-aged home over the years and each one was cause for a major celebration. For example, I can remember vividly as a 3 or 4 year old watching our 150 year old home get jacked up so that a basement could be dug out and cement foundations poured then an oil furnace installed. Goodbye oil stove! However, we didn't get to say goodbye to icy cold linoleum bedroom floors though because the furnace ducts didn't reach to the second floor LOL!
|Ye Olde Oil Stove pipe visible behind us!|
I remember the day we got a clothes dryer. We felt like the Rockefellers! Of course we were only allowed to use it in the winter so we wouldn't have to struggle trying to fold frozen bluejeans from the clothesline. Another HUGE event was our acquisition of a television! My very clever mother used to enter jingle contests and she won a TV!! Holy moly! We were rich beyond belief! Never mind we had to push up the livingroom window in order to turn the aerial, and in winter we'd have to first pour boiling water on it so we could make it turn! Oh, the memories:)
To me the furnace, the dryer, the TV - these were luxuries. And I've never really moved past that, I've never wanted more. We kept chickens and appreciated the fresh eggs everyday. We had a strawberry patch, raspberry bushes, a peach tree (well it was technically on the neighbours property...tee hee, don't tell anybody!), a pear tree, and row upon row of beans, potato hills, corn, carrots, cucumber patch, squash patch, rhubarb patch - you name it my dad could grow it!
Luxury was canned strawberries spooned over your vanilla icecream in the middle of January!
So moving to an old farmhouse out in the countryside in PEI is a bit like "going home". I've always been a "tough cookie" so the walk down our long driveway to the little postoffice 1 km away doesn't faze me - I'll get there even if I have to ski! Imagine what I'll save on gym memberships:) Maybe we'll put in a cement basement floor and maybe someday I'll buy a dishwasher...maybe not. We do plan to travel, and we'll save up for our trips. We want a screened meditation hut in the centre of our forest - we'll save up for that too. The goal is to live life as an adventure, to live consciously and unpretentiously.
We're well on our way!
PS: the opinions expressed in the above post are strictly those of the writer (and her partner) and are not meant in any way to offend those with differing views.