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About Voluntary Simplicity-not just for lazy slobs like me

OK so I have this business that I'm very proud of, a technology development shop and we have two things that are rather uncommon in our industry:

1. We've been around for over a decade.

2. We have a STERLING reputation, we have never let a client down.

Our movement also has this really sharp young developer/consultant called George Shepherd. He really is great, he knows how to focus in on a good idea and make it work and he was kind enough to spend some time on the phone with me.

One question he asked was how much more money do I want to make and I told him $0. I'm making the exact amount of money that I want to make.

He asked how much is that and I told him a grand. $1k per month.

And I heard crickets for a few long seconds and then George told me there's nothing he can do for me. I think he saw me as an uncommitted client.

As a consultant myself, I see the point, I don't touch uncommitted clients with a 10 foot pole but I think he missed something of great value.

Voluntary simplicity is a value system. It's all about getting by with less and using your brains and "work smarter not harder" and respecting the Earth and making quality time for friends, family and especially children. And by simplifying life down to basics, you get a lot of stress break and you are actually HAPPY.

Now given, simplicitarians give up some things like mobility, I cannot afford to travel to Greece or Spain where people need conservative activists, I cannot charter a plane to party in Vegas. I cannot afford desperately needed medical care and I am literally dying. But it's my simple life. I don't ask for anything and I don't have anything I didn't work for and pay cash for up front.

I'm gonna die not owing a single penny to any living person or any agency. I even got my burial plot hooked up and paid for. All anybody has to do is dig a hole and roll me into it. Don't even want a coffin. WHAT GOOD IS FURNITURE IF YOU ARE DEAD?

And I think people get the wrong idea. I am actually a home owner. Yup, whole house, MINE. Given it's on wheels but I AM SO HAPPY IN MY LITTLE HOUSE. It's so pretty with the wood paneling and huge windows, it has a real kitchen and a real bathroom and a hot water heater and a stove and a fridge and a microwave and a TV that hasn't been plugged in in over a decade and it has closets and skylghts and a furnace to keep me warm in winter and a swamp cooler to keep me cool in summer and 3 quad-core computers running fulltime and still I spend about $25 a month in electricity.

And most of all, I AM HAPPY. Every window I look out of I see trees. Every morning I am awoken by the songs of birds.

And I owe nothing to any living man woman or child monetarily. I give away more than I keep for myself. That's how I keep my shop running. I take what I need and give the rest to my people. They want more money and it's part of my job to get it to them because that's what friends do: they help you get what you want in life so they can be happy.

Paradoxically, I'm almost always working. People say Smudge, you are so smart you could have any job you want and I tell them "I'm willing to work as hard as necessary not to have one".

And it's not exactly work if you like doing it. It's more like entertainment. It's more like getting paid to play. Which is exactly how it feels to me. Complex business or technical challenges I just chop apart into little pieces and then I prioritise them and serialise them and I pound them out one by one and at a certain point all the pieces come together and shebang! My job is done and once again the people that rely on me start making money.

A LOT of money.

Where I am going they don't need money. I am going exactly where I want to be going in life because I know exactly where I want to go in death. I want to go home and lie with my ancestors. That is what I want. And I know I got friends that will bear me back to my mountains whole or in pieces.

I got a woman that says she loves me and kids that say the same.

So I consider myself to be a wealthy man.

But I thought I'd get your take on it. Having heard this, do you think I am living in some denial candyland? Or would you like to enjoy the simplicity? It's not like you don't work hard you just do the work you wanna do when you wanna do it.

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I envy you.

I wish everyday that i could sell my house and buy a motor home. I just can't get the place cleaned up and presentable enough to sell by myself. Most of my friends and family have moved to other states. The friends I have still in the area are too elderly to help. Well where there's a will there's away, so maybe eventually I will be able to get the house sold. Never lose hope, right?

Formerly rprevolutionist

reedr3v's picture

Thank you Smudge, for a wonderful OP

and inspiring thread. Like you, I've radically simplified my life and aspire to do so further in a small community that encourages a peaceable self-sustaining, cooperative life style.

I do think earning an income below the taxable level is not for everyone, but my children are no longer dependent on me and I have the luxury of age few talk about: no responsibilities beyond living in good will, a peaceable, virtuous, responsible life.

My only real regret sometimes is that I cannot donate to good causes as much as they deserve; but I do volunteer time, energy, art, etc. whenever I can. to offset that regret, I am free and clear of any support of Empire wars and tyranny. For me that is personal peace.

BMWJIM's picture

Smudge Pot, I would love to look out your window. I am not much

different than you. I employ six people and they have not a clue for maybe I haven't taught them. Maybe you can help me get there.

Search back through many of my post. See the Anger, love and want of humanity to just do what is right. You and I both know what is coming and there is NOTHING we can do but Love!

I am BMWJIM, JIMR1150GS, Jim Whitehead. Just a lover of mankind, wishing for more understanding within the individual.

I am a BIKER that smells the breeze, Loves the sights, and CHERISHES Liberty more than life itself.

I look to the land and the Good Mother for we Men are killing this earth and if we don't get back to the earth, then all is lost. We must follow the Mother.


1976-1982 USMC, Having my hands in the soil keeps me from soiling my hands on useless politicians.

BMW eh?

Hey man! We have some things in common!

1986 R-60
1983 R8-GS (the precursor to the Paris Dakar)
1965 R-65 (leading link front suspension)

I sold them all. Dumb move on my part. But that 1965, the leading link front was so stable that I got a throttle lock and I used to stand up and the pegs and just LEAN into corners, "look ma, no hands!" and it truly felt like I was flying. Soaring. Wherever my eyes point to is where we are going.

I don't even have my head-to-toe Hein Gerrick leathers anymore. I gave them away. I am too fat to fit into them anymore.

Nowadays I have this really junky Yamaha XT600 and a Honda Elite 150 and a Puch moped but my primary means of transport is a motorized bicycle.

How the mighty have fallen.....but it's this really neat kit with a Robin Subaru engine, the smallest 4-stroke engine in production today and it comes kit-complete from this guy called Staton in Oklahoma. www.staton-inc.com. The kit comes in a lunch box with the bracketing and control cables complete and it takes like 20 minutes to bolt on and you are riding!

I got one of those kiddie trailers on the back so grocery shopping is a breeze.

I pulled up to the gas station the other day and a bunch of Harley riders were there looking at me like "you tiny little pissant" but I just pulled right up and said "howdy boys, any of you wanna ride a REAL bike?"

That got me some laughs. You know how we are. Tough looking on the outside, warm and fuzzy on the inside.

I think part of being a biker is being misunderstood. Most of us really aren't mean people. We're just fighting a life long war against conformity. And it's always up hill. And that's why one biker will always come to the aid of another because we know what it's like to walk that walk. It can be a lonely road. We have this tattoo on our foreheads that says "screw with me".

But maybe nobody gets that if we didn't want this constant hassle, we could just cut our hair. We could just put on different clothes. Then nobody would be able to tell. But we don't. Because we do in fact wear our emotions on our sleeve and our lifestyle is a badge of honour. Our priorities are elsewhere and they have to do with HONOUR, COMMITMENT AND INTEGRITY.

A biker tells no lies to another biker. Know why? WE CAN TELL WHEN SOMEBODY IS LYING. And when we do lie, it's called STORYTELLING and we know so it's no big deal. A good story is a commodity in our circles and it will get told and retold until the story has 0% resemblance to the facts but that's ok, it's just a story.

Biker, I put my elder biker blessing on you: may your roads be free of cats, dogs and children and may your ride be ever rubber side down.

Ride safe!

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.

thank you--

I don't see anything threatening about anything you have written. What you have done sounds good.

We live quite simply ourselves--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

I think that's why I asked

for some reason people think we are lazy shirkers out to do you harm.

Let me state this clearly:


I am productive, I am an employer and a business builder and I own a magic wand: I can wave my wand over your life and bless it.

It's just that I like my life simple so I can enjoy it. And I know it's not all of you but to some of you that practically makes me a criminal.

Why? Because I wear a Timex and you wear a Cartier? Because you drive a wasteful and consumptive H2 Hummer and I ride a motorized bicycle?

Because your clothes cost more than my Carhartts? Because your shoes are little leather ballet slippers and I wear steel toe boots?

Because I have raised children of many families and tribes but all you do is raise your own? And you can send them to Harvard and Yale and Princeton?

Does that really make you better than me? I know this might sound confrontational and this is not my purpose. I would like to know not for me but for you.

Can you see any way you might be happier in this life without 20 different kinds of body care products and fancy clothes and the biggest plasma screen TV that God himself is capable of imagining? I have seen your plasma screen televisions and know what?

It's bigger and clearer garbage to me.

It's all just crap. It will rust and disintegrate. You can't take it with you.

At the end of the day all you have is you. So are you happy being you?

Or would you like to try being one of us and let's go skinny dipping?

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.

my "take on it" is do whatever trips your trigger, as long as...

it doesn't infringe on anyone else.

Key word is "Voluntary".

Infringe? Can you read English?

What about a voluntary simplicitarian, we who seek to do no damage or harm but rather seek only simplicity,

what part of that threatens to infringe on you?

like....are you freaking kidding me?

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.

wow, lol......

I can and do, read English; also understand it, write it, and speak it. I'm not feeling threatened that you would infringe on anyone and am not even like... freaking kidding you.

My point was - why should anyone care what you do if you are not hurting anyone, which evidently you are not. I was actually being supportive.

My comment re "voluntary" simply meant as long as it is someone's choice to live that way vs being forced into it, as we all may be in the not so far future. Especially if some factions have their way.

I live and love a rather simple life myself.

Well ok then friend

one thing we can't do in type.....you can't see me smiling. You sound like an amazing person. It's a true honour to have this opportunity to talk to you.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.