For a long time I’ve been reading about people deciding to chuck it all and go back to living a self-sustainable life on their own land. Supposedly this is a trend, but I didn’t believe it until it hit the Wall Street Journal. You know the biggest, baddest, pro-huge business regardless of the real costs newspaper.
Peggy Noonan’s column last Friday, Goodbye Bland Affluence, was all about moving back to the farm and being sustainable. Giving up the finer (read more expensive) things in life, to live in a more holistic, less driven manner.
Now, I am obviously a big proponent of living within your means, and I love the idea of us all giving up most conspicuous consumption. I think that when we focus on our stuff, we loose sight of the things that are actually important to us. Getting sometimes becomes more important than time with family and friends, and we forget that we can have fun without spending money.
The problem is that it is hard not to focus on our stuff. This is how we judge others in our society. It is also how we have been trained to use our free time. We go shopping more than we need to, and we almost always find things at the store that we never knew we always needed.
All this goes back to my initial surprise at reading this post in the Wall Street Journal. For the record, I actually like this paper, but arguably they have a vested interest in furthering conspicuous consumption based just on their name alone. Not the ones that you would imagine to be advocating for a simpler life.
For more on conspicuous consumption, or the lack of it: