It Doesn’t Take Much for a Man to Live On
Genius might be defined as the ability to put a complex idea into simple terms, according to Charles Bukowski. Sage and simple words of wisdom echoed to me back in 2010 from my best friend’s father have stayed with me ever since.
At that time, I was facing bankruptcy after following the system’s advice: Go to college, get a good edumacation, get a J-O-B with an employer who supposedly gave a fuck about me, wife up someone, have a kid, and put your nose to the grindstone for 30-40 years hoping you come out alive, sane, and solvent as you prepare to die.
As luck would have it, things didn’t quite work out that way. It was relatively smooth sailing up until 2008 when the financial crisis hit. After the crash, our gentlemanly old general manager was escorted out the door and a hard ass bean counter was put in his place.
Also around this time, I had a wife and 2-year old kid, after having done the “right” thing, waiting until after college when I had the fabled “good” job to start a family. But, cracks were beginning to appear in this façade.
First of all, as I now realize years later, American women have been stewed and basted in an environment that makes them unfit for marriage. After leaving the U.S. and living abroad, I can safely say that’s not just an assumption, it’s a reality. I still cringe when I hear the cackle of an entitled, “empowered” American woman passing by. More on that another time.
By 2010, I was happily divorced, woefully financially insolvent, and frighteningly jobless. I challenged authority one too many times and demanded to be paid what a colleague of mine was making for a lower position (yes – I was being paid less than someone underneath me in the hierarchy who was roughly the same age and experience as me.) That was enough to get me sacked.
But none of this is the moral of the story, it’s just background.
Returning home 1,500 miles away from my former employer to lick my wounds, I was having a good, long conversation with my best friend’s dad, who has also been through the divorce and child support meat-grinder, when out came those sage words that are the title of this article.
It doesn’t take much for a man to live on.
Those words stuck with me, and they’re still helping me to this day.
That simple statement helped lead me to a much happier life of minimalism, rather than living the life consumerism I had been chasing my entire life. I began to realize that the more things I had, the more worries I had and the more bills I had.
I also began to realize that as a species of hunter-gatherers, women have a tendency to gather things they do not need, which is what powers the waste machine of consumerism in the Western world. In essence, I had been conditioned to be another gatherer of things rather than living off only what I needed as men have done since the dawn of time.
I’ve gone from having lived the so-called American Dream, to now having an apartment abroad that runs me $200 a month. I eat on $5 a day or less. I get around on a motorcycle that cost me $1,200 and costs $10 for a fill-up. Bus trips cost me about $7-15 even on long-haul destinations. I almost never go shopping and I don’t miss Walmart, the mall, or any of the other churches of consumerism that are ubiquitous in Anglo-America. This all adds up to a cost of living abroad that’s less than a child support payment back in The Matrix even though it offers a comparable material quality of life, and a superior quality of life when it comes to intangibles (women, culture, pace of life, atmosphere, climate, etc.)
I have MAYBE $2,000 of furniture in my apartment. There is no television as I don’t want the mind-rot and consumerism compulsion it sells. I have a laptop, banged up tablet, and a 2012 model cell phone to keep in touch with the outside world. A MiFi runs me about $27 a month.
I’ve gotten used to living without air conditioning. I have a nice fan to keep cool on the hottest of days, but more importantly it blows mosquitoes away when I’m working on my balcony.
And you know what? All this simplicity means I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I would never go back to my old life as a debt slave, running around with my ass on fire all the time trying to find some way to pay for a McMansion in a neighborhood I couldn’t afford.
Which leads me to this conclusion, on which my series of articles on Minimalism will be based: The answer, I believe, for most men, is less, not more.
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