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Fixing what’s broken…The Ultimate Lifestyle or “Living the Dream”

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Really?

Contemporary culture holds the idea that the ultimate lifestyle or “living the dream” includes:

  • Never-ending amounts of money $$$
  • “Be[ing] your own boss”
  • Complete freedom from “the daily grind”

The ideas are attractive, don’t they? But how in the heck does this apply to self-reliance & preparedness/survival? Well, let’s bring things back into focus. This list is obviously not exhaustive but it addresses some popular ideas. We’ll address these items point-for-point. We’ll address the “broken” ideas and offer the “fix” for each one.

Broken: Never-ending amounts of money $$$

Having substantial amounts of money is not necessarily a good/bad “thing”. In fact, money proves a useful tool. But the problem is found in the implication of having money to throw-away. Subscribing to the idea that because you have tons of money you can:

  • Spend it frivolously
  • Give it away indiscriminately

is shallow & undermines the values of self-reliance. Those of us who are striving to become more self-reliant view money as a tool. The values that we uphold are those of thrift, generous giving, wise stewardship, and dignity. Treating money as an end in itself is short-sighted.

The Fix: Money is a useful tool that can help to improve the quality of our lives & our contributions to healthy relationships…but it is only a tool.

By Econ 101 definition, the word economy holds that products/resources are scarce. The competing demands of access to their availability is what creates marketplaces. As individuals and families educate themselves, they can learn more about their patterns of behavior and habit, including consumption. Such learning provides a foundation upon which character can continually develop and adapt, thereby improving creativity, ingenuity, individuality, and resourcefulness. When we realize that even limited amounts of currency or trade-value collateral does not need to be “never-ending”, we can become satisfied and even take control of how we specifically spend for the products/services we seek.

Broken: “Be[ing] your own boss”

I am almost reluctant to get started on this particular point because the subtlety of the insinuation is very finely threaded. This statement suggests that “working for” a boss other than oneself is inferior to being an entrepreneur. Such a value statement is unfair and weak. It miscategorizes employment and demeans the dignity of the worker. The right to work is not a political pursuit-it is an essence of existence. As one philosopher put it, “There is no free lunch.”

The Fix: Each man and each woman is his and her own boss, inherent by virtue of birth into this life.

Perhaps H.F. Hedge appropriately stated,

Every man is his own ancestor, and every man his own heir.  He devises his own future, and he inherits his own past.

Each man is his own agent-choosing what he will. Employees receive wages as a result of their contract to fulfill labor for their employers. Life itself requires several types of input. Physical labor is only one type of labor that is involved in the tasks of daily life. Becoming more self-reliant helps us to strengthen self-guidance and discipline, thereby opening up the efficiency of our work.

Broken: Complete freedom from “the daily grind”

The “daily grind” can take on different forms throughout our lives and among similar individuals. At times, the monotony of life can leave us feeling bored or stuck. There is no separation from the routine fundamentals of breathing, waking, eating, sleeping, and drinking. If work is viewed as an undesirable task, then a new mindset/paradigm should be sought. No one is free from the wear & tear of daily life. No one.

The Fix: Direct your pursuits daily and grind them before they grind you!

As wise preppers, we approach tasks with optimism and energy. At times, we may not know what to expect in our endeavors but the beginning is usually the biggest challenge, at other times persistence is the other. We should consider ourselves the millstone of daily living and not the crushed grain.

In Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook, James T. Stevens discusses some of the fundamental steps one can take in better living and a more productive family life, especially in regards to home resources. Life is rich. The contrasts of successes and failures add depth to our evolving character.

-The Berkey Guy

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