Rediscovering the American Spirit; Walking away from the commercial American Dream

The idea for this blog came to me in small subtle bits, like symptoms do before you get sick. I had become a slave to my desires to better my life and simultaneously was digging myself deeper, instead of digging myself out.

I am talking about the cycle of going to work to make a paycheck; spending the paycheck to buy things; not having enough free time to play with the things I bought; then feeling cramped with too many things; spending more time to have garage sales to sell said extra things; then spending that money to buy more things.

Why on Earth do we do this?

There are several related cycles too. Time. I never felt like I had enough time, but then would allow my evenings to be eaten up watching TV, doing nothing. The perceived lack of time would also lead to poor food choices, both in price and poor nutritional value. And the last bad cycle: exercise. I didn’t make time to make better choices, I allowed my laziness to squander my hard earned everything.

In two years at a desk job, working the weird revolving hours required of reporters, I had barely budged my dept problem, I gained 20 pounds and a bad back, was unhealthy all around, and felt both that there was nothing I could do and/or I wasn’t doing enough. Plus, I am only 31, without any children — yet.

I needed a change. A big life-overhaul sort of change, and just in the nick of time, I was granted the opportunity to make it happen.

I have created this blog to document this experiment in reduction.

We were sold an American Dream that is killing us slowly. It is killing us in spirit (rise in depression), it is killing us in health (obesity and heart disease, to name a few) and it is killing our ecosystem.

The CDC reports that 1 in 4 deaths in 2009 were from heart disease, alone. And the Center estimates heart disease costs our nation $108 billion a year in medical costs, medication, and lost productivity. Our obsession with disposable plastic has created a floating trash island somewhere in the Pacific called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And, depression has become a real problem in our society — which is most likely linked to our increasingly solitary and sedentary lives.

We could blame corporations for what our culture has become, but it is just the whipping boy. The true culprit is our species’ innate desire to make things easier, faster, cheaper, make more money, have more fun, etc.

And perhaps, it isn’t just our species. One can only imagine what a marmoset or hamster would do, if put in our shoes.

However,  just because we are capable of something, doesn’t mean we can’t learn how to do things another way, which is what I intend to do. I am embarking on a school of hard knocks, teaching myself and my husband how to live with less, everything. And I am doing this while taking the giant leap from a two-income household to one.

With the help of National Geographic’s 360 Energy Diet Challenge, internet research, common sense, plus some tips from great out-of-the-box-thinkers, I hope to document our finances and health improving, while also reducing our carbon footprint.

Tune in each week, I plan to have a new post about some lesson I learned.

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