My sweet Clam and I have been going through a transitional phase lately. Well, actually, I have been going through a phase and have been relying on my Clam to guide me, since he is almost an extreme minimalist. When he first started working his clam charms on me, I lived in a 2000 sqft loft in the South Bronx that was filled with 7 years worth of accumulations; things that came from the trash or street, from friends and family, things both purchased and made. Le Clam lived in a one bedroom apartment in Bed-Stuy and owned a tv, a bed, a coffee table and a night stand. I had 6 coffee tables, 14 tons of clothing, a lamp collection, among other bric-a-brac (I’m not a hoarder, I’m a collector!).
Needless to say when I left my cluttered paradise, I learned to live without a mound of shit and have been transitioning to life without many of the things I thought would be impossible to live without. I am feeling more aware of the things that fill my life and am being more accountable not just as a consumer or junk collector, but I am also being socially responsible as well as environmentally aware… well, I am trying to be, at least.
I don’t know about you, but I hate being a walking Billboard. I hate those big ugly handbags with logos all over them and their buckles and tassels and unnecessarily high price tags and terrible plastic knockoffs. I see no reason to have to buy clothing or accessories that are overpriced and will only be worn a few times before I realize just how ugly that “trend” is. Call me a Plain Jane, but a high maintenance lifestyle is not my type of back alley. I also hate the idea of spending money on something that gives free advertising for a brand. If I am going to be advertising for you, then shouldn’t I get paid? Sorry, no logos for this gal. Also, my ass is juicy enough, I don’t need a general announcement that states a quite obvious fact.
I visit friends and family and everyone is all about the individual 8 oz bottles of water. Have my friends and family never heard of a Brita Water Filter and a re-usable water bottle/canteen? I also notice that the biggest culprits of the bottles water sin-fest don’t recycle. Why is that? “Designer” water has a 280,000% markup (read more HERE) than tap water filtered through a state of the art Brita, and causes disgusting amounts of waste and litter. Bottled water is wasteful for both the environment and hard earned money. Get a filter and get on with life.
Your Parents Money
At a certain age, it’s embarrassing to need money from your parents. You hit this age by (hopefully) 25. By 25 you should be out of your parents’ house and making enough money to support yourself and whatever habits that you might be ailed with (like working out and eating). If you are still dependent on your parents for things other than their shared health insurance and their deep wisdom and endless advice, then it’s time to stop being a spoiled brat and get your shit together. While it is alright to accept money from your parents as a gift, it’s not okay to expect it.
You don’t need religion. You only think that you need religion. There are plenty of ways to find meaning and purpose in this life. Try falling in love or starting a family. You can even (gasp) volunteer and help your fellow man. You are a good person and THIS is the life that matters… not a life after death in a magical place where the streets are paved with gold (seriously?). When you die you return to the earth, just like all other living things. Do you think a plant goes to plant heaven when it dies? No. It turns into nutrients that help other plants grow. Some of these plants feed human and animals. The stomach lining and digestive track of an animal can hardly be compared to any sort of gilded heaven that I have ever heard of.
I realize that in some situations this is not a realistic scenario, but public transportation does exist in most towns, and bicycle technologies have existed since the early 1800’s. There are also these two long bendy things attached to our lower bodies. They are called “legs” and can also be used for transportation. While a car is difficult to live without, it is easy to afford NOT to have a car. You are not paying money on gas, insurance, the loan you took out to buy the coolest, largets, shiniest car you could find, tolls, maintenance, or any sorts of tickets, parking or otherwise. Just because you don’t have a car doesn’t mean you can’t BE in a car. You can rent a car, using car share programs like ZIP CAR. You can call a cab or car pool. And there are always those sexy little Vespa-esque scooters that can help you toot around town.
Plastic forks, knives, spoons, plates, razors, bags, wrap, cups, table cloths… shall I bore you with more? We are so wasteful and don’t even realize it. There is no reason not to have an extra cup or mug at work (or bring in utensils). We are lazy and we either don’t care or pretend not to. Sometimes I open my purse and laugh at myself for having a million spoons clanking around in there. It’s more rewarding than finding broken soup spoons on the beach at Coney Island in August (soup at the beach? Seriously?).
Plastic is magic, but we use it so wastefully. I was once guilty of throwing out plastic sandwich bags, even when they just had bread in them. Since I met my Clam, it seems silly to throw a bag out just because it had bread in it. BREAD! We wash and reuse and that’s the full story. Not only do we save on plastic baggies, we reduce our human impact on the rest of the world. The same can go for disposable razors and other plastic items. Find a better alternative instead of the lazy way out.
Click here for My Plastic Free Life dot Com.
As adorable as it is to see a little dog wearing a raincoat and rain boots, it’s just fucking stupid. The only time I can recall ever seeing the need for animal fashion is on horses… in winter… outside. Does your dog really need a raincoat? And rain boots? You give your dog a bath frequently, right? Does your dog use a shower cap when bating? Unless it’s Halloween, your dog looks stupid and is probably more likely to not get laid dressed in an argyle sweater vest, tie and hipster glasses.
Yes, it is possible to live in analog. People have been doing it for millions of years. There are even technologies called telephones, where you can call someone up and say “Hi. I miss you”… or share a fantastic story about how your kid said something silly or you can even describe your lunch to them… better yet, invite them to lunch so that they can see it in person. This is called interpersonal communication and is a skill that is quickly dwindling from the culture of current society and future generations. I never thought of communicating face to face as something that needed to be learned, but that is where we are heading… quickly.
There is no reason that we should live our lives out on social media for all the world to see. Seriously, most people could give two fucks about what’s on tonight’s menu or how adorable the 258th baby picture of your 2 week old baby is (although, they are probably really cute). Most of us are guilty of an over indulgence of social media, but consider this: Have you ever asked yourself “How many friends do I truly have?” I can tell you that the answer is NOT 741. Wake up, friends. Life cannot be lived while sitting down at a computer machine.
A Smart Phone
Get your face out of your phone. I am so sick of walking around and everyone is so absorbed by what is going on on their phone. Yes, it is an amazing technological feat that the entire world is literally at the tips of our fingers, but do we need to let such a small device run our lives? NO! Smart Phones can go to hell. As nice as it is to know where my closest bank branch is or how fast I can get from A to B on Hopstop, I do not need to be distracted by my twitter feed or Facebook messages while simply trying to read a text or retrieve a voicemail (ok, you all know I never activate my voicemail, but you understand what I mean). I have been living without a smart phone since June, and I won’t lie that it was really hard at first, but now I love it. I am not one of those people walking around with my face in my phone. I am smiling at you and saying good morning.
Christ! Just send a text!
GPS is making us dumber. It also takes the adventure of going on an adventure. While it is helpful, it also makes you feel reliant on a machine to solve your problem. This thing tells you where to go and what to do in a British accent. You don’t have a problem with that? Because I surely do (of course if it were Samuel L. Jackson, I’d be okay with that, Mother Fucker).
When I say “Fast Food” I am talking about nasty gross McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC — those processed fast food mega giants. You know, there are other places to get food fast, that is healthy and yummy and nurturing, but those corporate slow suicide eateries are not it. In a blatant effort to toot my own horn, I have not had fast food in about two years. I did sample a bite about a year and a half ago and realized just how disgusting fast food is. Seriously, it’s not even delicious. There is nothing more satisfying than a gorgeous, juicy burger, but only if it’s home made (that’s what we are having for dinner tonight, don’t worry, I’ll facebook a picture of it). Make your own menu and learn how to cook. You’d be surprised how talented you can be in the kitchen (or the bedroom (read more HERE).
Cable & Television
Go TV Free!! You don’t need that machine rotting your brain. Cancel your cable and throw that damn contraption out (or donate it (or sell it)). You don’t need it. There are way better ways to unwind and actually make contact with other people, like your mate or your children. You can play games or read books. You can go play outside (gasp!) or have a real conversation. The TV sucks up way too much quality time to be of significant value to relationships or quality time with the people you love. Even Netflix and Hulu are dangerous luxuries that take time away from the stuff that matters and can form habits of laziness (as well as drinking too much beer and eating too many tortilla chips or letting the TV babysit your kids). HERE is an excellent post on living without TV.
I am working on embracing this list as a set of goals towards living a simpler life. None of us are perfect, and since the dawn of the modern era of technology and convenience, it’s second nature to participate in waste and want. While some of this list ridiculous to most of you, it’s not impossible. I am adding to my life by subtracting from it, hoping to live more by having less. Simplicity, just like Captain Clam taught me.
What kinds of things could you subtract from your life to make it better?