lifestyle | mindwi.se edit

Bungalows, cars and comfort, On having no opinion, Being empty, Exile from the infinite scroll, Fear of missing out, Meditation, Death of my grandmother, Death style, On willingness, Third-life crisis, Purpose of life, Last 5 years, Downgrade, Contributing, Roaming, Rich and broke, Stay weird, Just pretend

When it settles quietly, turning my life upside down is what I like the most. For the challenge, but also because of the idea of not being attached to dependencies. We live in a society that values fame and materialism above modesty and people. I personally preach by minimalism, but not only. I also tend to be frugal and oriented toward simplicity.

In 2010, my wife and I bought our first house at 22 years old. Then moved to a bigger one (but closer to work) at 26. Two years after, we sold it and moved on the west coast for a full 5 years (up to 2021). Through this progression, we learned so much about ourselves, what we want and don't want, but also what we need and don't need (at all!).


As soon as 2012, I started to question myself about time vs money (Why earning twice the money, wasting it on frivolous items and having no time to use them?). Now more than never, I value freedom more than anything else (like power, wealth, job status, etc). I no longer view a single item as essential to me. Everything that is physical is ephemeral. The possession phase seems to me to be over.


Current society want you to believe that to be normal, you have to be on social medias. You have to show your happiness, no matter what. You have to show pictures of your last all-inclusive trip to some remote place, you have to show your values, you have to be somebody to exist. Well, that's a lie. I'd rather have an honest one-on-one discussion than a fake public one. If you need to have a Facebook page to exist, then I'd rather be invisible.


If you do what most people do, you’ll get what most people get.
-Derek Sivers

I want to challenge the usual, average life of dreaming of stuff, house, all-inclusive vacations, gizmos and what else. My needs are minimal, wants simplified, dependencies abandoned. It means no alcohol, no expensive stuff, no crazy work-life balance, where time is scarce because of too many obligations. All I want is a well balanced life free of stress, anxiety and social pressure.


I do not accept statu quo in my life. I need constant change by putting myself in a position I'm not totally comfortable. In 2014, I decided to sell my house to live closer to work, tried to sell a vehicle, focused on long-term financial decisions instead of short-term pleasures, read more instead of watching TV, tried to build a small company (it failed).

Financially, I tried to do a 50/30/20 split of expenses. 50% to "needs," 30% to "wants," and 20% to your financial goals (savings/investments). It took way too many years to really start investing, but I'm now somewhat financially-sound.

A year later, I listed a few things I wanted to do:

Then, in 2016, I moved to Vancouver. I had no debt since we sold our house, we were living in a super small 460-sf apartment, went from 4 vehicles to a single one. My wife and I have the same vision, allowing us to save money, to live frugally, to spend time outside and to focus on us instead on what people want us to be.


In 2018, we bought a condo in North Vancouver, but within a year, we decided it was not a great fit for us: too noisy (busy street, building quality isn't great) and also costs were increasing (strata fees jumped from $371 to $456 within a year, home insurance tripled within a year).

We moved back and forth from North Vancouver to Kelowna for a year because I had work opportunities. We enjoyed that quite a bit, we even tried to settle in Kelowna, but we finally decided it was not a good timing.


Bungalows, cars and comfort

As read on a poster during the climate demonstration in Montreal in November, humans do not run to its loss, they go there by car (l'humain ne cours pas à sa perte, il y va en auto). Unfortunately, I believe that getting the driver out of his car is a utopia. Human beings were born to recognize comfort and to ask for more of it over and over again. In this regard, the bungalow refers to the same principle as the car. Comfort cannot be taken away and it is impossible for a normal human being to imagine parting with a single family home.

When we talk about solutions to reduce our dependence on cars and the use of non-renewable energy, density often provides many answers. However, in North America, a large portion of the population is opposed to it. In fact, the culture of success revolves entirely around buying and owning a detached home in the suburbs of a major city center and driving there morning and night. Exit therefore densification using a housing model that eliminates the need for private cars.

I obviously went through this archetype twice, but over time I realized that it was not sustainable. My dream is not to have a bungalow in the suburbs. I do not wish this on anyone, even if in the eyes of the population, it is the perfect way of life to have your grassy space, to live in a new neighborhood far from crime, to breathe the fresh country air. This sprawling urban lifestyle fosters social, environmental and economic destruction.

Social destruction

Living alone on our own on well-defined ground is not a sensible solution for the short term, nor for the long term. As if we had designed a lifestyle where we concede that each of us hates being in the presence of others, that we do not like being told what to do and that the surrounding noise is not accepted.

Travel, on the other hand, comes at the expense of neighborhood life. An urban boulevard is a perfect example, where passing cars create a rupture in the social fabric of the neighborhood through noise, visual and olfactory pollution and asks its inhabitants to walk more in order to fill the large spaces abandoned to the car that does not. does not stop, but just passes.

Environmental destruction

The use of an automobile first requires its construction, which consumes a lot of natural resources and energy resources. Then comes the paving of vast expanses to make them roll. Knowing that the cement industry is probably the most energy-intensive in the country (ref) despite technological efforts to lower the level, it is imperative to consider the car as a whole: construction, maintenance, use, fuel supply, etc.

What also amazes me the most, are the apostles of energy efficiency who advocate that technology will allow the development of cars that consume very little fuel or use lithium batteries. Jevons' paradox "states that as technological improvements increase the efficiency with which a resource is used, the total consumption of that resource may increase rather than decrease." (ref) Developing a “low energy consumption” car that would allow each of us to own one would not necessarily make our world more energy efficient. The most fuel-efficient car is the one that is not built and / or the one that is not used.

Economic destruction

The costs borne by the automobile driver are in no way representative of what it costs society to support its use. The cost externality is a very real concept and unfortunately greatly over-represented in the case of road transport. First, the oil industry is subsidized to the tune of 500 billion US dollars annually across the world (ref). Second, the health care costs required by air pollution are borne by society as a whole, and other costs such as cleaning up a site contaminated with hydro-fuels are rarely paid by officials, but rather by the states.

Solutions

Cities are often seen as the antichrist to drivers because of traffic congestion. However, living differently means reducing the pace of life, accepting not to live like a king to the detriment of others.


On having no opinion

Every one wants an opinion from you about everything. Social medias reinforce this behaviour. I consider that people in general have an opinion on everything, but they barely know what's going on, they were influenced by what others told them or what others want them to believe. Algorithms, influencers, echo chambers, rabbit holes are all real things. I try to have less opinion, or at least not publish it. And if I do publish it, my main goal isn't to convince somebody else, just elaborate on what I observed. The advise/self-help industry is a terrible one.


Being empty

After reducing physical possessions, realign my values and trying to see clear daily, the most important thing is being able to stop, to feel empty. The resentment of a void is pleasant. But how does this actually translate?


Exile from the infinite scroll

In a world where you can scroll around a screen relentlessly and where you can gulp down as much content as you want, the consequences are often underestimated. The infinite that the Internet can sometimes represent has not always been part of our lives, has not always been part of the Internet in fact. And it is possible to detach from it, to flee the infinity that we now experience at every moment of our days.

The consequences of living at the expense of a screen that guides our thoughts and reflections are major. It is first of all an immense noise which resonates in our consciousness and which prevents us from thinking well, from analyzing well and from making the right decisions for ourselves. Instead of creating, we absorb the often infamous content of others and put our own projects on the back burner. Your existence is not a collection of cat likes, bookmarks, images and videos. If you don't have time to develop your ideas, perhaps cutting down on the time spent consuming would be a good start.

Not all the content in the world can replace your ideas, your ideals, your personal growth. Even offered free and easily accessible through your screen, stop relying on content that provides no long-term support. It only drains your time, energy and creativity without giving you anything back.

No, listening to all the Netflix series because everyone suggests one to you won't make you a better person, nor will you get things done.

No, scrolling through the Facebook feed daily to learn about other people's * lives won't make you happier in the long run.

No, replacing in-store shopping with long-hour online shopping won't save you money in finding the right deal , make you more complete with this new item, but make you a slave to consumerism.

You don't need anything to make yourself fuller or better.

Take a break.

Take a deep breath.

Let him go.

Give up.

Do a reset.

The best time to do it is now, not tomorrow when you think you've seen it all. There will be new throwaway content to scroll on the screen. Let go of this addiction today. Making a list of your priorities will refocus you on your real interests instead of submitting to those of others. Instead of trying to be famous in everything, focus on only a handful of areas of interest.


Fear of missing out

The truth is, we could run around trying to do everything exciting, and travel around the world, and always stay in touch with our iPhones and Crackberries, and work and party all day long without sleep … but we could never do it all. We will always be missing something.
Zen Habits - The 39th Lesson

To unplug from the online craziness, my usual suggestions are: read a book, go analog (pen on paper), take a nap, do nothing.


Meditation

A 2-minute meditation seems to be a simple, no-requirement solution to recoup, refocus and let go of negativity. It's easy to create the habit to meditate on a regular basis.

As a guideline, I'll use a key sentence while breathing.

I inhale, and I know I inhale.
I exhale, and I know I exhale.

Meditation is simple, but also complicated because of distractions, thoughts and social pressure. My goal is to inject long-lasting benefits in my life to be able to aim toward where I want to be, spiritually, physically.

I want to take time to sit still and breathe. Just make it happen.

A great resource to start meditation: How to Meditate - Mindful


Death of my grandmother

(2021-04-07) Three weeks ago, my heart was saddened by some bad news coming from family back East. My grandmother was in intensive care unit, and we knew she won't leave the hospital ever again. From her 98 years of serenity and happiness, I can't wrap my head that we had to go through this. She was a quiet, but strong woman, holding a somewhat large family since three generations, living solo since 25+ years, hiding small health issues like a champion (but we managed to know later on!), inspiring us every single day.

On March 19th, she passed away without any complication or further critical condition, but rather took off after her last breath. She is my model for all my upcoming days. Flora, we love you! Rest in peace.


Death style

Our little 2 years old guy is all about opposites right now. Day, night. Hot, cold. Happy, sad.

I'm about the opposite of life style. Death style.

Within only a month within a new commute to/from work and I'm already exhausted of such a bad life style. It rather feels like a death style. Go to work far away from home because housing inflation is getting everywhere, drive each day to a soulless job, pretend to be happy to do the exact same thing as your neighbour, buy overpriced furniture, overpriced clothing, overpriced everything. I feel trapped not in my own choices, but in a way of life that all humans are trapped. Driven by money, the only purpose is to work and find ways to waste money (and destroy what's around us at the same time).

I can't wrap my head around the idea that there is no other way around.


On willingness

It is strong to bet that your friends are in denial about their excessive consumption and their perspective and lifestyle will inevitably range. In a way, it is a form of Stockholm syndrome where they have developed an affinity for their master slave corporatist and have a lack of ability to understand freedom.

If you expressed your disinterest to stay a slave, these people who are your friends will probably find ways to ridicule you or make you feel * different because you think otherwise. In fact, being a slave is a form of comfort, because to make it say what to do and what to think is much simpler than making its own decisions and take risks.

Whether for lack of compassion or jealousy, a minimalist could very well be advised by his friends to resume bad debt habits to get short-term gains or simply in case . Do not let them make you believe that life out of slavery is excessively dangerous or that one day you will be disappointed not to have followed their advice (often obsolete). The logic and reason are better knowledge to make original and adapted decisions and all the more better than the instinctive fear to guide you.

If you decide to reject your life of materialism and consumerism without vision, do not be surprised when your friend will discover it and denounce your way by bringing Whataboutisms (attempts to discredit his opponent's position by accusing him of hypocrisy without refuting or rebutting his argument directly). After all, it is inevitable that you need a house with a complete set of furniture, a giant TV, a commercial kitchen for a chef, an automobile that displays your masculinity, maximized credit cards, a 30-year mortgage , shelves filled with books that you will never re-read (or have never read), a garage storing paint cans and Christmas decorations and draws filled with waste just in case . Everyone life this way, what's going on with you?

Your friends and family probably do not have bad intentions, but you must recognize that their perspective of life is tinged by a consumerism from birth and have the courage to keep tracking your own path despite what people think of you. If everyone lived a conventional life, there would be no progress or change. Learn what kind of life is destined for you. If everyone understands the ideas of the great personalities, they would never have been qualified as a great personality.

Sometimes they will display jealousy because you live a life easier and more meaningful than them, by your radically different choices. They will think of your minimalism that it is a cheating of the system, which you are actually lazy.

Friends can especially be difficult to manage when they fail to grasp your perspective and your lifestyle. If they can not respect your choice, it's time to question if you want to continue to attend these people. You are probably better not to turn around people who are wasting their time and money, but rather from you surround those who share your values. Friends who have your values ​​will help strengthen your existing ideas, while adding new to consider.

The family also poses similar problems, with the difference that their ammunition are more damaging because it wants you to return to the ranks and give your vision into conformism. I do not suggest that your family members have a tooth against you, but they will try to find ways for you scare to live differently and leave the family vision.

Parents can be a huge discomfort given your biologically programmed love to them and respect you have about them for what they have to say (even when you know they are wrong). Your mother and father could say that they "want the best for you", which is a source of guilt if you do not do what they think they are in your interest. If you can overcome guilt, it's even more serious when you know what they think is "the best" for you is not good for you. Their tips could be completely overwhelmed and they could take it personally if you do not take it.

For most people, I would not suggest cutting the links with their families, but may need a safe distance to not only develop a sense of independence, but also to hear more positive messages and more values-oriented that curious and pessimistic messages. friends and family concerned.

A simple life is not necessarily an easy life.

But respecting its values should not be postponed until tomorrow.


Third-life crisis

Being 32 (in 2020), I don't feel young so much anymore. Bike crashes might have worked against me, but whatever. The last 4 years were the best ones so far. And I want to make the best of the ones to come. However, should I feel that third-life crisis?

A third-life what ?

I used my favorite search engine (NOT Google) to look up for a simple way to define what a third-life crisis is.

Result:
So you have your twenties and “What am I GOING to do with my life” (future). You have your forties-fifties and “What have I DONE with my life” (past). Enter the third-life crisis in your thirties and “What am I DOING with my life” (present).
(The Third-Life Crisis and How to Handle It, Jennifer Ostroski)

Questions I should ask to myself, right now

Things I wish I knew

This post is a big work in progress. I'm not even sure where it is going actually. Like my life.

And you know what? Sometimes, letting it go is a great thing. Nature does its thing too.

Some paths of further reading


Purpose of life

I am more than a body that burns fossil fuel to go at a place to type useless shit on a pointless Excel spreadsheet to justify generating more wasteful stuff and to speed up, optimize modern life to a point I have no longer a purpose.

Who I am is someone of few needs, but with a true vision on what's really happening out there. Not anymore I want to impress others or others impress me with stupid decisions, behaviors.

My life is not about creating fakeness, hypocrisy and social inequity. It is about modesty, honesty and inclusion of all.

Each day, I'm going to open my eyes and see what I can do to make the world a little less messy, a little more humane.

The real challenge is how.


Last 5 years

In five years (from 2016 to 2021), a lot can come and go. Especially when you set your mind to be simple, minimalism and focused. So, what happened in those last 5 years on the west coast?

I discovered to lower my needs. Luxury items are more and more expensive, but I have no need for them anymore. Wanting less always equals owning less.

I now want more time, less money. The true currency in life is your time, nothing else.

Family comes first, job title doesn’t mean anything. As David Graeber told us 8 years ago, chances are your job is bullshit anyway. I realized that what I do daily at work doesn’t reflect in real impact in our world, it just keeps me busy, so I don’t protest/complain.

Cars (and everything else) should be tools, not social status. If you shine your car each week because you like it clean, you probably use it was a symbol. If you can’t drive it down a logging road without a second thought, it’s not a tool and it restricts you. Plus you probably spend way too mich money on the thing. Or a house, or a smartphone, or expensive sport gear or clothing.

Living in a high cost of living area is doable with dual incomes above the average, but it is not austainable on the long term and it forces you to slave yourself to work and a broken money system.

Taking time to read, in a world surrounded by ads and screens, is priceless. Libraries are your best friend too.

Most of people are brainless anyway. They act the way they do because somebody else told them to, not because they thought themselves. I learned to be mindful in my actions, so they reflect my core values. I keep thinking about the article by David Cain titled You lifestyle as been designed.

More specifically with minimalism

  1. You can declutter all you want, but if you're still bringing in stuff constantly it won't make a difference. With a one in/one out rule, every new item you bring in, you must declutter an item already in your home.
  2. It is not an identity, but a philosophy against consumerism, overconsumption, etc.
  3. It is a slow process. It took many attempts and edits of my belongings to get to the point I am right now. Mistakes happen all the time, still.
  4. I learned to ignore people's judgment on my vision since anything going against the normality is abnormal.
  5. There is no defined end goal or reward, the path traveled is part of the experience.

Downgrade

If we were talking about cars, downsizing would be a trendy word to fit in the discussion. It is the deliberate choice to reduce the engine size to try to lower the fuel consumption and/or emissions by using a turbo compressor.

Reducing the use of resource is a noble goal. The usage of a turbo compressor implies, in my opinion, to optimize things to make the most of what we have. Is it a pro or a con? I can't decide yet. Optimizing to me is not a solution, downgrading is though.

So instead of downsizing, I focus now on downgrading my lifestyle.

Crazy pandemic world

Unsure from where you read this, but in Canada, housing prices are going up like crazy in many, many areas, including Quebec. I really don't like that trend because it is the worst of capitalism. The strong increase in prices push people to work up until their funeral just to pay of a roof for their family, while a small portion of the modern society benefits from their wealth to surf on a big wave of fake opportunism.

Because I feel like I'm going to be screwed soon, downgrading my needs and wants are the only way.

Housing, but also everything else

Prices of almost everything are going up. Bicycles, food, car, luxury items, telecom services, fuel, electronics, etc.

Where I decided to downgrade is in sport. I used to want high-end stuff because it worth it. My primary road bike used to retail brand-new at CA$4500. I didn't pay half of this for it since I purchased it second hand, but still, it is a lot of money just to flash your superiority to all your neighbors. I downgraded to a bike that retails at $1100 (a Kona Penthouse, which I paid $850 including taxes). No longer I want/need a more expensive bike. I will invest the money and won't look back.

Regarding bikes, I also decided to quit the mountain biking hobby since it is way too expensive and risky for my well-being, after a few crashes in the last years. The bike I paid $4400 (crazy shit, right?), well, I was stuck with it for months. I finally found a buyer at $3650. Anyhow, that is a great example of the lifestyle inflation I had recently. Now, all I want is to downgrade and stop spending useful money on expensive commodities.

Want less, need less

The less you own, the less you have to take care of.

The less you own, the less you have to replace.

The less you own, the less money you need to earn.

The less you own, the more time you have for other things (and people).

I'm not trying to deprive myself, just to focus on the important things in life. If it doesn't add value in my life, I pass.


Contributing

Some of my recent thoughts are about the fact that if I aim totally toward a financially-independent lifestyle, where work is no longer required, people may perceive me as a slacker, not contributing to our society.

But when you think about how the economies are set up, we try to sell an asset to someone else for more than what you paid for it. Basically, how can I get more from others than I put in? Contributing means taking more than you give. That makes no sense.

Thus, my professional work isn't the only value I can provide to contribute to a society.

Voluntarism is the most obvious form of alternative contribution.

But what about...

I feel like work isn't part of the equation anymore. Except if it fulfills you by helping others to reach their meaningful goals in life (refer to list above). Then we have an infinite loop of positivism.

A great video from Joshua Becker: The Joy of Living Within Your Means


Roaming

Unlike your smartphone that sometimes roams between networks when you're close to artificial boundaries, I want to explore my current behaviors towards having no fixed point of return in my everyday life. Is roaming through life possible?

We are told from the childhood to go to school, to get great marks so we can go to University and then get a real career. As the succession of decisions and milestones happens in your life, you end up at the same wall as everybody else. House purchased, kids born and daycare aligned with your schedule, cars bought on debt to go to work, kids will evolve in the same environment as you did, for the sake of success and a dog that roams (!) around your backyard. You are supposed to have found happiness in this manufactured lifestyle, where you have little time for real, meaningful projects of your own, no time for your children, no time to contemplate nature or to roam.

No, you don't need all that shit in your life. With a multitude of techniques, you can regain life from your dead, dull lifestyle. Leave the style to industrialists and marketers, go live on your own terms.

My plan since few years has always been to:

  1. Stop buying shit.
  2. Kill expenses.
  3. Save as much money as possible.
  4. Move in a low cost of living area.
  5. Work part-time in a meaningful job.
  6. Take time with my child so he can learn the right way to live.
  7. Go explore nature like real human beings.
  8. Regain my time, energy and train of thoughts.

As we are moving really soon to the east coast, we won't give up on our plan to live further away from the city, in a small village surrounded by trails and ski hills. Jobs will take a dip, but we don't plan to work both, and we don't plan to work for more than 7 more years. At 40 years old, I want to be able to work part-time and coast towards retirement.

When I think about it, roaming is what people do: the shuttle between their house and workplace. I want to stay put in a low-cost of living area, where I can enjoy living, not working.


Rich and broke

Society wants me to believe I need my entire life to retire, then start to live freely. I never chose to live in this stupid dream, nor I chose to chase it endlessly. Happiness isn't a destination, it is my daily adventure in life, totally unrelated to wealth, possessions, job title, social media followers. I want to pass along my child(ren) honest values, not ones that are linked to consumerism, workaholism, luxuries and convenience.

I want to do a job that I will enjoy, not a job I am forced to do for benefits and retire when I’m worn out. Trying to be richer than the guy next door isn't a goal I want to achieve. It's a consequence of a broken system, where each of us competes again another, where we all loose our humanism and we just want money for the sake of making money and buying shit we don't need.

We are money rich, but brain poor.

My human will is to live like a leaver, not a taker.


Stay weird

We are all weird in our own way, aren't we?

My goal today is to convince you to stay weird because it is good for your wellbeing.

Stop trying to be normal, to act like everybody else to blend into normality. Be weird like nobody else, but you. Me per example, I'm fucking weird at times. I can look totally normal from outside, good looking if you want, ugly if you don't, but inside is where the wild begins.

Wanna know? Ok then.

Whenever I need to take a dump, I have to read something. Anything to read really, just something to spend the time on the throne to learn something stupid. Like the back of the shampoo bottle, a freaking tag removed from a t-shirt, hell the sticker of a banana. This weirdness appears way before the smartphone era, where now everybody reads stuff on a screen. I'm still reading tags, labels and useless stickers.

What else you asked?

My work brings me to many different locations within the country. All offices have a provided lunch room. Whenever I enter it, I look at the microwave. Why should you care? Because you know when you buy a brand-new one, the screen has a protector film on it? I found out that people don't bother to peel it off. So, a big, rewarding pleasure in my life is to find protector films to peel off from microwaves and any other devices with one. The sensation of a complete day, one film at a time.

Freaking nuts I know.

So stop trying to hide yourself under a blanket of lies, be real.


Just pretend

My son, who is now 2 and a half years old, likes to play with us. We try to stick with creative, long-lasting toys made of wood instead of plastic or vinyl, without electronic inside. It's far from perfect since we need to invest more time to develop our child because we don't supply electronic gadgets or a television. In fact, when we try to do a movie night, after five minutes, he is the one getting up the couch to close the television. Impressive.

During playtime, We often say just pretend because we play with a kitchen set per example. Just pretend means we all know we are acting, himself included, but we want to have fun and act like it is real life.

We know we are acting.

We want to have fun and act like real life.

That seems just like most of the people I see living a stressful, busy-filled, money-centric life by following trends, buying expensive stuff, pretending to be somebody else with all kind of labels and brand names on their expensive stuff. It's like they created a parallel life, totally fake, and they know about it, but they can't avoid faking it still. They need this thrill to continue to have fun.

I decided years ago that I no longer want to be part of this race. Consumerism, anthropocentrism and predator lifestyle is now my #1 enemy.

Instead of pursuing fakeness for others, cultivate honesty to yourself.