People are funny. Or maybe, it’s like the song. Beer is good, God is great, and people are crazy.
Soap operas and reality television provide much entertainment in the United States. The people who indulge the most are the ones with the least exciting lives too. I have a hard time with the idea of watching “reality” on television, actually. That isn’t “reality”…that’s a week of “reality” condensed into about 40 minutes of viewing. Anybody’s life looks interesting when 168 hours of boring, gotta do it, routine details of one’s life are condensed into 40 minutes of highlights with 20 minutes of commercials to sell everything from a better dating life to prettier teeth to quick cash for structured annuities.
I laugh when I hear people tell me how “exciting” and “intriguing” our lives are. Other people comment about GM & I having the “perfect” relationship. Pet owners comment about what a “perfect” dog Red Dog is.
They have no idea.
First of all, while we both host internet radio programs, we’re hardly household names. We don’t get big sponsors or endorsements from corporations. Personally, I always equated exciting and intriguing with radio only when we get paid. Since we don’t make money doing it, it’s just a hobby. Yeah, we get to talk to interesting people. But guess what? Those interesting people are not that much different from the people we know. Some of them would be great entertainment around a camp fire, others would not be. That’s it, in a nutshell.
Now as to the perfect relationship. Okay, I admit, it’s a great one. It took a great one to get me to go from having issues about commitment to committed. But it isn’t easy nor is it perfect. We get overtired and cranky, we start days off on the wrong foot, sometimes we’d love to smack the other one just to get some sense into that dense bone on top of their torso. We are human. Relationships are tricky, and they require work from both parties. We have to compromise. We have to sell each other on crazy ideas. Currently, I’m trying to point out all of the reasons to go on a cross country bicycle tour…self supported. It isn’t going well. I wanted to start next November, and it’s April, and he still says its crazy. He is under the impression we are too old, too poor, not in good enough physical condition, and have enough physical issues to make it impossible. I point out that it’s cheap to live in a tent, that’s why homeless people do it. Bicycles don’t need a lot of money to maintain. If we make it ten miles in a day, well we’ve made it ten miles a day…we don’t have to make the 75-100 miles a day that most touring cyclists do. I also pointed out that we’d surely get in better condition with each passing day of riding as far as we can before finding a new campsite. He’s not buying it.
And…as for Red Dog. She’s one of the best dogs I’ve ever owned, but she didn’t just arrive that way. It took a lot of work to take her from terrified feral puppy (literally, she was as wild as a wolf when she was caught at 3-4 months of age) to my devoted companion. She’s a great dog…until I have to leave her behind. She has the worst separation anxiety I’ve ever seen, and it has always been that way. She has chewed through doors, gone through windows, ripped at walls, broken steel cables, snapped steel posts, gone through vast patches of solid cactus, jumped furniture, climbed fences, destroyed crates, ripped chain link apart, and anything else she had to do to get to me. She’s almost impossible to leave behind. If there is an escape route or option, she will find it. She has climbed a 7 foot chain link fence to get back into the yard after escaping elsewhere earlier in the day…just to get to me. She regards it as her job to look after me, and Lord help anyone or anything that gets in the way. It’s a good thing she likes GM is all I can say. The level of affection, devotion, and responsiveness she gives me comes at a price, and all I can do is laugh and tell people to watch what they wish for. Red would rather wait for hours in a vehicle for me rather than wait at home in comfort, but in the hot South…she doesn’t get to do that a lot. From March to December, it’s usually too hot in the daytime and often too hot even in the evening for her to be a ride along unless one of us stays with the vehicle and dogs.
It’s somewhat like reality television to read many blogs. It’s a slice of someone’s life. In a sense, it’s much more intimate than what we see on television because it includes what we think, something no camera can record. This blog was started to record our experiment, how I felt, and what was hard along the way. It’s still doing it, but the more exciting bits may not be as attention getting anymore. Now, it’s a lot of the nuts and bolts of what its like to really live smaller.
Living smaller isn’t easy but no life is really easy when you get to see into it. We have issues and conflicts to resolve, we have hopes and dreams to aspire to. Recording the speed bumps of getting there is only interesting to other people who may be headed down the same road. For those chasing different rainbows, this would not be a very interesting blog concept.
I don’t write high drama in here–I could make up tales and make them sound quite plausible, but that wouldn’t be the reality of downsizing. Downsizing is somewhat despairing in nature–we’re cutting back, not growing. We’re admitting we don’t need all that stuff or space anymore. We’re probably getting older too, and admitting that “youthful” isn’t going to be used as a descriptor for us without a qualifier anymore. (i.e. She’s a very youthful 80 year old.)
It’s not about defeat. Its about contentment and satisfaction, about stopping the cycle of existing simply to acquire and maintain more stuff. It’s about being happy having what we need.
All I need is enough.