Friday, April 17, 2009

I am The Joneses

i've recently had folks ask me "what makes you so different from everyone else?"

The answer is simple. i basically have no desire to be like the Joneses. As a matter of fact, i can safely say the opposite. Due to being roughly 3-5 years ahead of most folks, i feel like.....

i AM the Joneses.

This isn't some self-touting, glory grabbing, ego meltdown. Let me explain my case.

Most of you know that i'm an avid outdoors man/camper/ fisherman. Camping saved my life several years ago. We go camping at least once a month on average. We're tent campers. Recently, i read an article about that says that due to the tanking economy, more folks are taking up camping for vacations instead of trips to the big D or cruises.....the State and National Parks are overflowing....(which really sucks for Mama and i ) and amid budget crunch and cuts at all levels of the government, there is a HUGE demand for more parks and services.

i made a decision around 10 years ago to be a full time, successful musician. In order to do this on a limited income, i sacrificed a lot of regular normal things that everyone takes for granted ( like no Starbucks, not eating at restaurants, driving a crappy car and not subscribing to cable - more on the cable later). i was frugal not only out of necessity, but it seemed to make sense to me to live within my means and not going out on a limb to buy a new car or a big's not that i don't like those things, but i just feel like i don't need them to be happy. And it didn't mean that i was a recluse or didn't have a social life ( i was the subject of many jokes among my circle of friends....but now, the envy). i was the starving artist who was living his dream to a moderate level of success, who lived in a one bedroom apartment content to read books, play in a band, and drive my 35 year old Mercedes.....sort of reminds me of the quote on our 'fridge....

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.” - Thomas Jefferson

Now, due to the economy, i keep seeing these articles about "How to have an extra $400 in your account at the end of the month" and "How spending determines your level of brokeness".....and how home ownership isn't really THAT good of an investment as it was in the 1950's and how most folks would be better off renting a cheaper place to live and invest the extra money in something else. i've read them and chuckled because most of them spout the same theory that i've had for the last 10 years. Back in 2001, i can remember watching football and being amazed at the Dodge commercials, touting HUGE V-8 Hemi Power pick up trucks and HUGE Hemi Powered Chargers and i was thinking "why in the hell would they be targeting everyone with this? It's illogical for folks to want this product due to how much gas those things consume" and "when the price of gas goes up, these folks are going to be hurting" and all i saw was larger SUV's being marketed to your everyday person....tarted up Greyhounds for the Herd.... and everyone is in such a hurry to be EXACTLY like each other that the car companies won....

Now, everyone is being frugal....not to follow dreams, but to survive....people aren't accustomed to not being a consumer.....former CEO's are walking into the Super WalMart for the first time.

i was frugal not only out of necessity, but i figured why should i give my money to someone i don't even know for something i really don't need?

It's been determined that i could live happily with only the things in my hiking backpack, a laptop, and an internet connection....i wonder how long it will take the rest of humanity to do the happy with less....get back to what it's all about......Wabi Sabi and all of that.

i'm happy with the way i live my life and the things i have. i'm not pining for the things i've lost or the things i don't have. i have my own style and i'm not afraid of the fact, i relish the unknown.

It's cool to be The Joneses.....i just wonder how soon it will be before fly fishing will be the thing to do.....

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