Pick ‘n’ Mix Lifestyle Design

David Locke1

We are a society that loves our labels, aren’t we?  We can say, ‘Oh he’s a Republican’ or a ‘Vegetarian’ or a ‘Minimalist’ and for the most part, we know what that means.  And within those categories we can add sub-categories to further refine our labels.  And on and on until we almost get a clear picture of who someone is.

Which can make it a bit scary to enter into the contemplation of any particular group.  Along with the labels come assumptions and expected behaviours.  If I eat less meat, will I have to go on protests?  If I clean out my sock drawer, will I have to then give up my car?

Let’s face it, labels are only shorthand and just as shorthand can never be literature with all its subtlety and nuance, labels can never substitute for the rich entirety of an actual living person.  So the only label that I tend to give myself is my name.  This leaves me a little more free to look around at what’s on offer from the various lifestyles out there.  I call it the Pick ‘n’ Mix approach.  You used to (and possibly still can) be able to buy candy by choosing three of these and twelve of those and leaving those yukky-tasting things you hate for someone else.  I suggest the same approach to the rest of life.

I read a lot of minimalist blogs.  They’ve got a lot of great ideas that I can use.  But some of them are pretty hard core and more suited to single people.  I’ve got a husband, a house and a back that needs understanding.  So I leave the ideas that would conflict with those realities alone.

Location Independence?  Love the concept.  And a lot of the ideas make my life easier, even though I have no desire to travel endlessly.

I read a lot of business blogs, too.  They’ve got great ideas that can apply to an online business,  be transferred to a brick-and-mortar endeavour or just applied to your household budget, whether or not you ever intend to go the entrepreneurial route.

So don’t limit yourself in your explorations.  You really don’t know when an article for, say, packing for an around the world trip will be the spark you need to make your kitchen more organized and easier to use.

What’s the most unexpected place you’ve found an idea you could use?

Today’s Photo: The Huron Street Bridge

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2 Responses to Pick ‘n’ Mix Lifestyle Design

  1. Tweekala74 says:

    In eager anticipation of your next blog entry I’ve been foraging around in your archive and came across this posting.

    The title struck me, as for the last several years and particularly since meeting my husband a couple of years ago I have adopted a ‘pick n mix’ approach to my working life. In terms of where I have found inspiration, it was not in an unexpected place (a book questioning the materialism of Western society entitled ‘Enough’ is bound to hold some inspiration!) but there was one story which struck us both. A man in his 50’s who was a highly sought after speaker and well paid for each event, described how rather than ‘milk the circuit’ and earn his fortune, he and his beloved wife sat down and figured out how much they needed to live comfortably, have a nice bottle of wine here and there and spend most of their time together. They swapped their big house for their daughter’s apartment and they figured out he need only attend 4 conferences a year to generate just enough income to allow them to enjoy one another’s company. I loved this approach to ‘enoughism’. All too easily people get caught up in wanting more, earning more and then wanting more because they believe ‘stuff’ makes up for the miserable hours working away from loved ones and so it goes on. Want less, work less, gain more time with loved ones, enjoying the view, volunteering etc. This idea has changed our lives, we’ve worked when we’ve absolutely needed to and we have had the best couple of years, enjoying one another’s friendship and exploring the beautiful countryside which surrounds us. We’re skint, we have a shabby kitchen and a list of improvements we could make to our house. In no way are we being radical about things, we are not sitting cross legged knitting our own yoghurt or only flushing the loo once a day, but we’re happy. Truly happy in the moment. Finding magical moments on our daily dog walks together is honestly worth 10 exotic holidays. I’m sounding a bit worthy now, I’ll shut up. You get the picture!

  2. Barb says:

    Love it! And thank you.

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