Sunday, April 28, 2013

Downsize Your Life, Upgrade Yo Livin'!

Dirtbags, generally, come from the middle class. If you are the upper class, you don't aspire to downgrade to a middle class lifestyle; if you're in the lower class, you're trying to jump to the middle, or beyond. That's how it mostly works. 

My friend Luke's words hit home. I am a person who comes from a middle class upbringing. At a young age there was never truly a challenge, at least that I knew about, that I had to worry about. Much like today, in my own individualized life, I have clothes to wear, food to eat, and a mattress to sleep on. In fact, it seems that I still have too much. 

Let's snapshot a hypothetical situation for a moment: how often do you hear of, or know of someone, who goes from owning a Mercedes to owning a Dodge; a smartphone to a basic one; a fine wine, aged in an oak wooden cask for 20 years to a box o' wine; a lavish apartment or house to single-space studio living? 

The advent of downsizing in our lives is, to my better estimate, becoming a small-time phenomena. Perhaps it is the small, mountain town cultures, like Durango, that I find myself attracted to and living in, but more and more, the people I meet - whom share a comparable story of a middle-class upbringing - echo a desired life of downsizing. Why is that? 

You pull the tree-print bedsheet sourced from who knows what hand-me-downs and an old L.L. Bean sleeping bag-turned-comforter-gift from Grandma when I was 10 over the sleeping mattress, nestled intentionally in the back living area. Now, with the side door open, the sleeping area is suited for lounging, maybe even guests. You tuck the last of your almond milk into the cooler, saving it for the last ration of granola left in your food storage bin; a trip to the grocery store tomorrow for a few essentials will be necessary. The sun is shining, and a blue bird Colorado day is in the air and sky above. A Mourning Dove sings its song - uttering a distinctive cooOOoo-woo-woo-woooo, hoping to attract a mate. In under 2 minutes the home-on-wheels is ready for travel. Now, where to?

To say that a downsized lifestyle is highly desirable might not ring true to every ear. Though, there is something lingering, edging at the fringes of our realized reality, subconsciously supple to the life of a dirtbag. One, who, according to the reputable, indisputable source,
...pursues the committed, sometimes extreme, lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. Dirtbags can be distinguished from hippies by the fact that dirtbags have a specific reason for their living communally and generally non-hygienically; dirtbags are seeking to spend all of their moments pursuing their lifestyle.  
So what's the big fuss? Why even write about this?

Admittingly, while zoning out in public places, I find myself eavesdropping on people's conversations (I could be eavesdropping, observing your vocal utterances right now - eek!), and sometimes what comes out of mouths, whether slips of the unsatisfied Ego or not, surprise me. The facts about Americans are written and out there for us to consume; that is not something I'm pushing. With that in mind, I cringe when I hear people communicate that they want more stuff, more things, more desires they truly don't need to be the beautiful people they can be! What happened to being satisfied with what is provided? 

Enter the dirtbag state of mind checklist for a semi-rad day:
- sun is out, somewhere in the sky above,
- shoes, or something akin to that, are upon feet and clothes upon body and assorted parts (gloves optional),
- nourishment is in the belly, or on its way,
- friends are stoked on doing something social and/or active with their free time,
- a source of income is present, or not worried about,
- home is where the head and heart lays down,
- serendipitous encounters with strangers are looked forward to, and
- a smile, "woo hoo," or "unh!" is the tell-tale sign of a great day. 

To replicate this in our own lives would be a practice worth taking pride in; a keeping up with the Joneses-type of societal norm to rally the masses around; a conversation worth eavesdropping on. Will we get there; perhaps not in the big cities quite yet, but near and around the small towns in the mountains, sure, why not. 

Hygienically clean hand high-fives to you in your day,

A view of the La Sals, near Moab, at dusk from across the Colorado plateau

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