restless peasant: life, changing :

money

I’m re-reading Chris McCully’s excellent “Outside” at the moment

This is actually a collection of essay type pieces which use fishing as a catalyst to discuss issues of loneliness and the feeling of being “outside”.

One of Chris’s thoughts that struck home with me was a fleeting reference to “the getting of money”. He only touches on this briefly but in that short phrase he conveyed so much frustration. The same frustration that is felt by many I am sure. If only they didn’t have to concentrate so much bloody time on “the getting of money” they would be able to get on with what they really want to do, create their art and reflect on the meaning of existence.

However, in pursuing writing as a career, Chris McCully has probably nailed this equation already. Even although he obviously still feels that some of what he does isn’t exactly on target, he has decided that the only way to achieve freedom was to get started. Of course he probably had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way and he touches on past troubles throughout the book.

In setting up restless-peasant I am attempting to communicate my thoughts on, and efforts at the simplification of life to see if it resonates with anyone; my feeling is that it will.

After spending a fair bit of my early life working for others and latterly for myself (the worst boss ever) I have arrived at the conclusion (for now anyway) that the getting of money is best viewed as an integral part of a patchwork life where small amounts of income are generated by many different means on a (very) regular basis.

By collecting small amounts of cash from a wide array of enjoyable activities; where “getting rich” in the traditional sense isn’t the goal, life can become a lot more enjoyable and we can reach a state that can, I think only be described as Freedom.

In following this path for the last year I have found that I have started to bump into interesting “day time people”; essentially these are souls that I would never have encountered in my previous 9 to 5 existence, people who do interesting things and make interesting livings from their activities, some of which are in the “grey economy” where payment is by cash or barter and never by Amex or Cheque!

What all of these characters have in common is that the getting of money is not the be all and end all for them; not an end in itself and I think we can all learn a lot from them. Usually if they can make enough to cover the basics they are happy and they all do of course.

It amuses me that so many people get bogged down with the human invention which is money and capitalism. OK we all have to play the game to some extent, but we don’t have to be consumed by it; we don’t have to be full time consumers either, well not greedy, stuff obsessed ones anyway.

So many of the business people I have encountered, even small business owners develop an unquenchable thirst for more money. I know a couple of millionaires and all they do is work. They are never at home and their only purpose in life is to make bigger and bigger stashes of assets. Either of them could cash in today and be on easy street if they lived a reasonably normal life. They’ve become caught up in making money for money’s sake. Even when relaxing on holiday, they are obsessed with what’s going on back at base and even with how they look; is Val d’Isere really still A list territory or should we be in Aspen this year? If they ever get the time to walk on the beach, they would have a mobile phone attached to their ear while doing it.

The bed mate of not caring too much for money is of course making sure you don’t need to and that has been a fascinating aspect of my freedom changeover. Never paying full retail price for anything has become an enjoyable game for me and this goes hand in hand with seeking out quality goods straight from the true artisans who make them.

Once you realise that you can do without all of that “stuff” you used to “need” you can start to create a little cash cushion by selling it all. Suddenly, your mind is unburdened, your home more peaceful and relaxed due to the reduction in clutter and your financial concerns about your quest for freedom lessened as you now have some spare cash to see you through.

The getting of money is for me, the same as it is for Chris McCully; a necessary evil, but I have found ways of doing it by doing things I enjoy and by dealing with people I like, in my own time, on my own terms and in a way that doesn’t necessarily conform with the system we were all indoctrinated into from age 5 to 18.



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