Our society is a machine.  One great, big bloated machine.  Consumerism is the name of the game – buy, buy buy.  Shop till you drop.  Buy into the American Dream – and then spend 30 years paying for it to the tune of 5x the purchase price in interest.  But what about those who never buy into the game, or realize it for what it is and check out?  They call us odd.  Nomads, wanderers, vagabonds, hobos, or just plain odd.  People just don’t get it.

Beds on Beach Colette and I had the discussion of deciding what we would take with us if the house was on fire.  What it really boiled down to for me was my cell phone and my wallet.  My cell phone has a copy of all of my data, and everything else is backed up daily to a secure encrypted storage location on the internet.  My wallet has cash, my important things like a drivers’ license, and my debit and credit cards.  As much as I love my laptop, even it didn’t make the list since I can do 90% of what I need from my phone now.

After spending the 2009/2010 winter in Florida, I began to realize that all of the stuff that I had at my home in Michigan was just that – stuff.  The fact that I could spend 5 months without any of it started me down the path of wondering why I needed any of it at all.  The house, the boat, the WaveRunners, the motorcycles – just stuff.

So why do we keep all this stuff around?  Sure, some of it makes life easier.  Some of it makes us look better, provides some small modicum of enjoyment, or provides some sense of security.

But do I really need 20+ pairs of shoes?  Certainly I’m guilty.  Do I need 20 dress shirts, when I really only wear 5 or 6 of them?  30 ties?  Enough black dress slacks to outfit a small army of Jehovah’s Witnesses?  If I really needed this stuff, how did I manage to get by for 5 months without it?  Or without really even thinking about it?

I’ll write another post on the joys of ditching all the supporting ‘stuff’ necessary for the house.  That’s a small essay, perhaps even a novelette all by itself.  Until then.