On 15 August 2019, /u/stabbler53 asked the following question on reddit:

Why is it considered normal for the average person to work for 8-12 hours daily while having no to little break or vacation to sit with the family? I think that might be the reason why people become more stressed and no one is talking about that.

This got me thinking. Mostly about the thoughts and feelings which led Shiela and I to consciously change our lives.

It's not normal. Not at all. I can't fathom spending the best years of my life working, struggling to pay for ever increasing junk that I've financed with my future time. This is what we've done to ourselves. We finance and trade our futures and individual liberties for a little piece of something shiny or cool or, at best, marginally convenient. We collateralize our future hours for stuff today.

I've traveled quite a bit (for work), living out of suitcases for a good deal of my adult life, and I've never really had want of anything more than I had, especially once I figured out my basic necessities. Once I finally learned that, I suddenly didn't need a huge wardrobe of clothes, or a garage full of junk. I need exactly eight shirts, underwear, and pairs of socks. One piece of formal wear, one set of clothing suitable for exercise, and one set of utility clothing, and of course personal hygiene items. That serves as the bulk of my things.

We don't need the car. Sure it makes things way more convenient, or cost-effective, but there are huge metropolis' and even small country towns that demonstrate cars are largely unneeded - especially if we just walk a few blocks every once in a while.

What ends up happening is we get so wrapped up in trying to cater and exploit every single convenience in our lives that we sacrifice the very time we're trying to save by having to work for those conveniences. It's a negative feedback look and it's a terrible trade!

So we've been giving it up. One convenience at a time and, as a result, we don't have to work 8-12 hours per day. We don't have to forego breaks, vacations, or sitting with family. Doing those things becomes our life, and all-day laboring becomes optional.

Header image by Feifei Peng via Unsplash