Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When I Grow Up




I Don't Want to be



I have spent my entire adult life trying to chase the American Dream.   Oh, there were moments of enlightenment (in the early 70's I participated in food coops, natural childbirth and parent run preschool groups.)  There were lots of moments where money was scarce and I was only able to plan to buy the American dream.  But I bought the American Dream, hook line and sinker. So after nearly 45 years of accumulation of debt, junk and shattered dreams, I am embracing a new dream.


What's that you say.... Not exactly a novel thought.  You are right!  It has been talked about for a long, long time.  The problem is it hasn't been practiced for an even longer time.  We look back at our Grandparents generation, who lived through the Great Depression and don't understand their frugality.  But they lived the consequences of grand dreams, short-sighted planning or an unstable economy.  They lived with World Wars that changed the landscape of their personal economy and availability of goods and services in a way that today's hoarders have no concept or understanding.  

I bought in to the dream.  I sought to have a better life.... (defined as more stuff, bigger house, fancier car ) than our parents and Grandparents. 

Don't get me wrong....This is not a judgement as I have been in the cashiers line accumulating my stuff with the best of them.  I have bought the best I could manage and hope for the best.  I have a five bedroom house that has been crammed to the rafters with the stuff I couldn't live without.  After a while, the stuff owned me.  I kept accumulating the newest and the best and continued to maintain and store the depreciating or outdated as I was never quite sure when I might need it. 

Here is a perfect illustration. After all how many saddles does one horsewoman need?  I still have my first saddle I ever bought, a show saddle, a kids saddle and and English saddle.  I can only ride in one saddle at a time.  I even have a tack room to house all the tack for my horse.

So again.... How many saddles did I need

I discovered a long time ago, the rush from obtaining the new and best item only lasts a brief moment.  The cost, upkeep and time needed to maintain or repair it all lasts much, much longer. So the pursuit of the American Dream then involved buying large and eventually small items on credit.  The weight of carrying the payments around has fueled a false economy based on what you can finance rather than your incoming currency.  In addition, I had no time or energy to enjoy it all.  The job to earn the money to pay off the ever accumulating debt and the energy required to maintain the stuff already possessed was crushing me.

I have observed many who have traded the bills and credit of living in a mortgaged life  in a sticks and bricks house for the best road vehicle and home with wheels  that (all) their money can buy....

Have they traded one master for another? 

I can't answer for them.... I am not sure I can even answer for me.  But I can say that it is not important for  ME to continue down that path.

This is not intended as a judgement of any life style or path that someone might choose.  It is only a reflection of my path and current thinking about my future. 


I am at a cross roads.  I am unable and unwilling to maintain it all. 
I am on a path of reducing what I own and what owns me.
I am planning a budget that includes an emergency fund but NO credit or debt.
I am determined to live life rather than juggle it.

I ask .... Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?


  1. Wow I admire you! Hope you can meet all your goals. We are downsizing too. Its hard for us to part with things that were our parents or grandparents things that we don't have need of and our children or grandchildren don't want.

  2. A lot of people are now downsizing, many from necessity. They're reluctant to do so, then suddenly they begin to realize exactly what you're saying - your stuff owns YOU.

    The freedom is exhilirating, once you get through the initial pain of it all. Great post and well put. And I think you're way ahead of the curve on this one.

  3. AMEN! And very well said! You are on your way to much more happiness and freedom! Go for it!!

  4. I hear ya'. Good for you on the financial freedom of no debt. Hubby and I have been on a similar plan since we retired a few years ago. We are totally debt free. Yay! But we are having trouble with the decluttering. We're trying to clear out stuff, but our dilemma is that a lot of things are family keepsakes. We want to honor family, so we are trying to decide the importance of these treasures to the future. And of course we both have our own special items! We're finding it a difficult task. I applaud you, because you have come to terms with your responsibility to "stuff". It certainly helps to hear about your journey. I hope we can do the same thing. P.S. My husband tends to be a pack-rat too....that doesn't help!!! Wishing you well.

  5. What a wonderful goal! Not to be average! You go girl! Follow your path, winding road and bumps and all. You will get there eventually and even if you end up at a different destination than planned, it was all in the works anyways. There is nothing average about following your heart...debt, clutter and therefore (mostly) stress free. Wishing you all the best darlin'!

  6. I find that there is no greater feeling for me than being debt free. I paid off everything - including my home - a couple of years ago and it was a great relief to finally be free of mounting debt. I've kept it down and am careful to not go that way again.

  7. I'm new here and Love your blog! Have been reading it the better part of an hour!Hahaa...

  8. I couldn't agree more. It took a while, but all my credit cards are paid off and I don't carry any debt from month to month. The interest alone can kill you! Good Luck - downsizing and living under your means is a fabulous way to live. Along with so many other people, I just wish I had done this much sooner! :)