A long period of underemployment has recently broken (yippee!), but during those months, watching our savings account dwindle, my constant question anytime I had to buy groceries or anything else was – what can we get by with?
I think this is a good question to keep in mind, not only in the lean times, and not only in regards to money. Sustainability is one of the goals that Chad and I share, and is often our motivation for making do.
Here are a few of the ways we live with less:
We make do with no AC. We cool our home passively, closing light-colored curtains to block the sun from coming in the windows during the hottest days, and with natural ventilation – opening windows. Here in the high desert, the temperature can drop 30 degrees or more at night, so this tactic works fairly well.
However, our home does get up to 80-85°F during those hottest days, a much warmer indoor temperature than most would be willing to accept. So another way we deal with summer is by dressing in light airy clothing that keeps us cool. I like to think that we are making ourselves more resilient for an uncertain future.
We make do with no Wi-Fi. We have Ethernet connections for our computers and don’t use our phones for surfing the internet at home. This makes our internet time more intentional, less addictive, and most importantly, less invasive.
And as a bonus for me, I get to live without headaches and the buzzy anxious feeling that Wi-Fi gives me.
We make do with no TV. I know, I know, many people don’t have a TV anymore, they just bingewatch streaming services. But not only do we not have a TV, we are very intentional about the content we watch from our laptop, usually watching a movie once a week or less.
I have gone through other periods in my life without TV, and consistently lived a more creative life during those periods. I had drifted into binge watching habits before I moved out here with Chad and am glad to be rid of that addictive habit again. I have more time for reading and writing now.
Chad and I enjoy our leisure time in other ways too, like playing board games, making origami, drawing, or playing the piano. And when we do watch a movie, as two very sensitive individuals, we choose carefully what we’re going to expose ourselves to.
We – mostly – make do with not going out to restaurants. The reasons for this range from my gluten sensitivity to my certainly overblown conviction that I can make better meals at home anyway.
We don’t have many restaurant choices in our hometown, so going out to dinner is a real treat when we’re traveling and can find a restaurant that seems GF safe.
And speaking of cooking, we make do with older appliances. Our stove dates from at least the 70’s and is a very much untrending mustard color. Not exactly most people’s idea of a decorative kitchen appliance. But you know what? The stove works fine, and until it stops working, we’re keeping it out of the landfill.In the meantime, we have chosen our kitchen color scheme to make it work with this vintage appliance. Luckily I happen to like mustard yellow anyway.
Don’t get me wrong. Our house is a fixer upper and I have an ever-growing mental list of home improvements I’d like to tackle. But more and more I am trying to ease off of my quest for improving, and try to just accept those things that really aren’t that important. Like I said, I’m trying.
In our consumerist-centered culture we hear a daily barrage of voices encouraging us to seek out MORE and I am just as prone to be swayed by them as anyone else.
So as a counterweight, I’m trying hard to keep letting the little voice that says, “I’ll be happy with less!” keep ringing out.
I bet you have your own ways you’re trying to be happy with less. I wish you good luck in your attempts to let your own little voice ring out.
Until next time,