Saturday, September 29, 2012

Confusing Money for Value

You should have seen us when we wore Rolexes, big diamonds and the latest fashions.  You should have seen our 3000 sq. ft. house that required a full-time housekeeper and gardeners, not to mention the electric, phone and water bills.  You should have seen my long, weekly manicured fingernails and perfectly coiffed hair.  You should have seen the Cadillacs we drove.   It was the image of monetary wealth – unfortunately, all too often confused with real value.

You wouldn’t have known we were people who could be happy in a 1 bedroom cinderblock house in which we must keep a fire going in order to stay warm.  That is, of course, unless you chose to look under the surface.  All that opulence never impressed us, even though it was never bought on credit but with money we had worked our buns off to make.  It was just a tool we used to get ourselves to our goal – a self-sufficient, off-grid survivalist retreat.

Our first house in the wilderness was a 16′ by 32′ plywood shack, finished only well enough to be livable, not aesthetically pleasing.  It didn’t take much of our funds and we chose not to put a lot of money into it at the time.  We knew we were going to build another someday (it happened a mere 2 years later).  But that plywood shack had VALUE.  It kept us warm and protected from the weather and gave us the freedom to finish other projects.

Many people came for a visit to our Shangri-la, to decide if the off-grid life was for them.  Many of them looked at our house and left in terror.  They thought we were just some down-and-out, poor-trash types who were living in the best place they could afford, never having had the experience of living what they understood to be “the good life”.  What they didn’t know and what they couldn’t understand  was that we had lived their ideal of “the good life”, but we were not so taken in by it that we couldn’t shed it for a much better way of life – one that was based on what you could do or what you could figure out, rather than what you could buy.  You see, if you always have to buy what you need, you are trapped in the rat race, always having to make more money as the prices go up and up for that which you are used to having.  So does the $6 you pay for a loaf of bread today have any more VALUE than the $3 you used to pay for that same loaf of bread?  Does your McMansion keep the rain out any better than a tent? Read more....

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