The simple life

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You dont need me to tell you that this country seems to be going to Irmo in a handbag.
The steeling of my stomach to glance quickly at my IRA is the same feeling I have to muster upon hearing, Do you think the dogs going to need stitches for this?
National news recently reported that 80% of us are suffering from emotional duress during this financial crisis which is easily manifesting into physical ailments: we cannot sleep, we are developing stomach disorders, we are fatigued……
Stop it. Lets just stop it. Now.
Common sense tells us to pare down. Surely we should have been combining our errands prior to the gas crunch, shouldnt we? Clearly its not a wise move to buy more home than one can afford, is it? Must we have an enormous SUV because we have one child and a Jack Russell? Somehow my mother piled four of us into her battered Rambler as well as a weeks shopping and lived to talk about it.
I have a theory to how we got into such a crunch. Yes, of course its been the free rein of greedy corporations to do as they like with no oversight. But what about us? What drives this sense of entitlement that we must have whatever we crave and have it now: no lay-away, no saving up for it, but, like a toddler screaming for a box of pop tarts in the shopping cart, wanting it now!
It seems to me that the less time we Americans started spending outdoors and began gravitating inside for our entertainment, the more we got ourselves into debt. When there were only three stations on television, there was no desire to remain inside during any decent weather. Pleasure was found in riding our bikes or our horses, building forts in the woods, playing hide and seek well into the long shadows of evening, only interrupted by annoyed mothers calling us for the third time to Get in the house! There was no need to purchase enormous furniture with cup holders in the arm rests, enormous plasma televisions or build enormous media rooms. And there was certainly no need for us to allow ourselves to become enormous just to be in proportion with the rest of it.
So the next time you consider spending something for the inside of your home, reconsider and think about spending something on the outside of your home: a vegetable garden. A croquet lawn, a badminton set!
Ive been perusing chicken publications with the abandon that I used to feel when snatching up the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue.
No longer interested in diamond and pearl drop earrings, Im far more curious to which chickens are the most consistent layers, and exactly how my coop needs to be laid out. I rather fancy the very Holly Hobbie notion of feeding chickens from a tin pail in the back garden. And the thought of having free eggs with strong, brown, healthy, shells is sheer bliss.
Theres a reason that magazines called Real Simple are successful and popular. The problem is we read it from the comfort of Entertainment kitchens, leaning against luxurious, granite, radon-releasing, countertops.
But I think well get there. More than likely well be forced to. And it doesnt have to be such a terrible time! Even my mother waxes romantically over her younger years in London during the war. Rationing was an inconvenience, however, as everyone was going through it, a true feeling of community prevailed. Young girls getting married were given ration coupons from neighbors so that they could buy enough material to make their wedding dress. A family with a sickly child was offered someone elses meat coupons to help him gain strength. Everyone had a victory garden.
Living on less is a wonderful opportunity to inspect your core personality. Ask those who habitually go without: they know who they are. Buying a new car or television or looking forward to your annual trip to Europe is a marvelous way to muffle the demons in your head that breed restlessness. It takes quite a bit of courage to stop distracting yourself and face them head on.
Go get you some chickens. It really helps.

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