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Self-Sufficiency Turns Back The Hands Of Time

Updated on March 7, 2014

Take a Trip Back in Time with Me

I’m going to use my own family as an example in this article. I suspect that what you are about to learn about my family will sound quite familiar to many of you.

My father came home to Iowa after World War 2, married my mother and they moved to the state of Washington. There they rented an apartment for several years until they saved up enough money to make a down payment on their first home. They lived in that new home for two years when they decided to upgrade and buy a nicer home; so in 1953 they once again moved, this time into a three bedroom with a nicer yard in a nicer neighborhood.

The economy was doing well and new innovations were being offered to consumers. It wasn’t long before we had a bigger refrigerator, a color television and a new dishwasher. My mother, who once rode the bus to work, decided that a car would be more convenient, so we were suddenly a two-car family. For Christmas presents my parents would take out a yearly loan and then spend the next year paying off that loan.

My parents found that by working more overtime they could buy more conveniences, so they worked longer hours and that of course meant they had less time to work around the home. Repair jobs my dad once did himself were then turned over to mechanics and repairmen because hell, who has time to do that stuff when there is money to be made and bills to be paid.

Work hard, spend the wages, work harder still...my father.
Work hard, spend the wages, work harder still...my father. | Source

And the Madness Is Passed On

My parents only son (that would be me) was raised to believe in the wonders of capitalism, and he was sent off to college to learn the ways of the business world, and he came out of college with a diploma and the knowledge necessary to make more money and buy more things, and he dove headfirst into the capitalistic waters and swam like a man possessed.

And that possessed man eventually made a six-figure income and bought all the toys he deserved, and moved from one house to a larger house to a larger house, and he was constantly one step ahead of the creditors, playing the game for all he was worth but enjoying it less and less.

And then one day he woke up….and smelled the decay….and he was shocked and saddened.

And that son of that World War 2 veteran sat back and reflected on the lessons learned and the mistakes made, and he began to make sense of it all. He recalled lessons learned long ago, in simpler times, lessons about happiness having nothing to do with possessions or money, and lessons about the joy associated with taking care of needs using the old ways of self-sufficiency, and he vowed to change his lifestyle and return to those simpler times.

1,025 square feet is good for the three of us
1,025 square feet is good for the three of us | Source

Kicking Over-consumption to the Curb

The madness begins with over-consumption. I mentioned in an earlier article that in 1950 the average size of an American home was 953 square feet. In 2010 the average home was 2,430 square feet. At the same time, the average American family shrunk in size from 2.9 people to 2.6 people.

What are our basic needs? Most would say food, shelter and clothing….possibly health care could also be included in that list. Once we have met those needs we begin moving into the gray area of over-consumption, and in fact, in the example given about the size of home and family, we quite obviously practice over-consumption even regarding our basic needs. Why does a family of three need 2,430 square feet of living space when 953 square feet is adequate? Well the obvious answer to that question is that they do not need it….they want it.

Those who are embracing self-sufficiency are looking at this madness and realizing it will never get better until a philosophical change is made regarding their lifestyle.

Where did it all go wrong with my parents? My parents were products of the Great Depression, a time so horrible that it forever left an imprint on their minds. Work harder, earn more, and on and on they went, believing, as millions did, that hard work would protect one from another Great Depression, and hard work deserved rewards, and possessions were those rewards, and on and on and on and on…..

They failed to see….they failed to understand…that the exact opposite was true.

If you want to protect yourself from an economic depression, turn away from consumerism and embrace self-sufficiency. Protection comes from being able to provide for yourself no matter what the market does. Protection comes from being able to meet your needs completely independent of the vagaries of the economic system.

Our garden area is larger than our living space...think about that for a moment
Our garden area is larger than our living space...think about that for a moment | Source

Think About This for a Moment

The less that you want the less you have to work.

Try to find holes in that logic. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The less that you want the less you have to work.

Once you make enough money to handle your needs….food, clothing, shelter…then you don’t “need” to work any longer. It’s really pretty damn simple when you break it all down to the basics, isn’t it? Let’s put it another way: the more you are able to provide for yourself, the less you will have to earn to meet your needs. The more of your own food that you can grow, the less you will have to spend on groceries. The more repairs that you can do, the less you will have to spend on repairs. This is so simple in theory that I really wonder why more people are not embracing it.

But then reality hits me in the face….and that reality is that we live in a convenience society and self-sufficiency is not about convenience. It takes time and effort to grow a garden. It takes time and effort to repair your own car or washing machine, and now we are into the Catch-22 of this whole situation: people can’t find the time or the effort to live a self-sufficient lifestyle because they are working so hard and so long to provide the lifestyle they are currently “enjoying.”

It is an endless cycle and it will only end when one makes the commitment to change.

So Some of Us Are Changing

God bless my parents. They did the best they could with the knowledge and experience that they had. They just didn’t see the fallacies in their thinking. They got so wrapped up in chasing the American Dream that they got lost along the way. They knew how to provide for themselves. Hell, my dad rode the rails in search of odd jobs during the Great Depression, so he obviously understood the value of hard work and making do with what you have. He could fix anything. My mother came from Iowa corn farmers, so growing her own food was a lesson learned at an early age. Mending clothes and doing without conveniences was something she knew quite well. But somewhere along the way they discarded those early lessons and embraced a convenience lifestyle.

And I did the same…for a time. The only difference between my parents and their son is that their son finally woke up to the insanity of consumerism. He finally realized that possessions are not what life is all about. He finally came to his senses and realized that the old ways of self-sufficiency were wise and admirable.

I have had readers tell me that they could never do what I have done. I question that quite frankly. I suspect it is more accurate to say they are not willing to do what I have done.

Today my life is wonderful. My needs are met. I owe nothing. My wife and I are taking steps to provide for ourselves and to spend less on meaningless fluff. We changed our priorities and we have never been happier.

And it is all because we turned back the hands of time.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yep, I know people like that, Deb. I'm grateful I was raised by a man who didn't let a lack of knowledge stop him.

      Thank you as always my friend.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Some people are afraid to do their own repairs. Many folks used to call me to do that, because they didn't know anything about it, and were afraid to learn by doing. They feared that they would make things worse. All in all, they weren't mechanically inclined.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true words, ologsinquito...thank you for your thoughts.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This is a great article. We don't need the best and the latest toys, because we just become slaves to them. They also detract attention away from what is truly important.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, never easy indeed my friend, but it is doable. Blessings to you always and thank you!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Sudden change, eh, Bill.

      "...And then one day he woke up….and smelled the decay….and he was shocked and saddened."

      Hell, I loved the first part, too.

      Great job returning to support your parents later on. In this chimera called Life, or perhaps Capitalism, somehow we seem to play out this drama. Never easy! Have a great Sunday by brother and Bev. Much peace!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Anonymous!

    • Anonymous00 profile image

      Anonymous00 3 years ago

      Nice one

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks mylindaelliott...it's been a long progression but we made it. :)

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

      Very good hub. It's good to know how we got into this mess.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I wish you well on that journey. Thank you!

    • Eric Flynn profile image

      Eric Wayne Flynn 3 years ago from Providence, Rhode Island

      Loved this, I'm planning on pursuing a similar lifestyle like yours.

      EWF

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, vellur! It took a long time but it was worth the effort.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      What you have done is really commendable, hats off to you. You have set a great example for the rest of us to follow. Great hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, it counts for a great deal. Thanks for visiting on a Sunday....as for me being a good man...I try. :) Bless you my friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I live in a big house, but i'm not wasteful. Geez i hope that counts for something. Bless you Bill, you're a good man...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm loving it vkwok! Thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Awesome way to live, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Seafarer....the numbers are growing and that fills me with hope. Nice thing about being out of debt is having extra money. I mentioned to someone else that I have more savings right now than I did when I was making six figures. Go figure! :)

      Have a great weekend.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 3 years ago from New England

      Wow, Bill. How I loved reading this hub! Voted up, Tweeted it, and Pinned it.

      It does feel so good and freeing to be out of debt...and so worth the discipline it takes to stay that way....and moved forward beyond just being out of debt...but each day I am working at it, and have enjoyed the freedom that comes with it! It is still true that the best things in life are free...and the more I enjoy them, the less I need to own anything beyond my family's basic needs. ~:0)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sharilee, it most certainly takes time to get there. Decades of over-spending cannot be undone overnight. The main thing is to set a course and keep on it, which I know you are doing.

      Thank you for stopping by; it was good to hear from you again.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 3 years ago from Canada

      Billy, great hub on this topic! I love your comparison to earlier times, and the way you show that our "progresssion" really wasn't that progressive. I remember growing feeling rather poor because we didn't have as many other things as those around us had. But my Mom told one time that many of those around us were simply in bigger debt than they were. At the time, I had no idea what she meant, but now I completely agree with her!

      Working right to get to that "simple life" again. Totally believe the concept -- it just takes time to get there. Have a wonderful day!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, we have had just one car for about two years now and have functioned quite nicely that way....I understand where both parents have to commute to work, but if not, I see no reason why two cars are needed. Of course I'm sure there are those who would argue that point.

      Have a great weekend my friend.

      bill

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I think the problem of buying so much comes probably from the war where people lacked from a lot of things on one end and then peer pressure. The neighbours has it so I need it too. We have a choice as individuals to follow without thinking or take our time and think of consequences of buying without thinking too much. The problem with the new generations is that they want everything now at the point to be submerged by debts.

      Several times in our life we had only one car. At this point of our life, with no kids to drive around to this or that activity, we decided that we can really survive with one car. The interesting thing also that I realized is that with one car we drive about half the miles that we would have done with two cars. That means that for ouselves, we save a lot on gaz and insurance and we definitely pollute less!

      Enjoy your weekend, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Lee!

      Just between you and me I think the economy will collapse anyway. :) I hope I'm wrong. Of course, it will never happen that we all turn self-sufficient, but it might be fun to see.

      As for chickens, we have six right now, which is all we are allowed to have in the city, but once we move to the country we plan on having quite a few more...for eggs. I'm afraid I can't kill for food.

      Thanks for your thoughts and have a great weekend.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 3 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hey Billybuc

      I agree completely but, can you imagine what would happen if we all became more self sufficient? The economy would collapse. America is built on top of consumerism. Throw in a few wars and business is humming. We pat ourselves on the back because we think we are "exceptional" while we slide behind the rest of the world in so many ways.

      I've been working toward sustainability for years, planting fruit trees berry bushes and finally a veg garden and it is all incredibly rewarding, far more than going to some industrial amusement park like Disney et al.

      How about about raising chickens for eggs and meat? I'm not sure if I could kill my own dinner. I would be more likely to take a chicken to the vet instead of the kitchen.

      Are you moving in that direction? Livestock for consumption?

      Lee

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Never again Flourish...never again. :) Have a great weekend and thank you!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on no longer being under the thumb of the bank man. Credit card debt in particular eats people alive -- people paying for crap they don't need.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you and good luck on that journey. One step at a time my friend.

      Have a great weekend; hopefully spring is near.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, you are a shining example of someone who walk's the walk. You do as you say. We are starting to take tiny steps to lessen our footprint and become a little more self-sufficient. We'll see where it takes us? Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hip, Hip, Hooray, Ann! What would the politicians and corporations do if we all just decided to go home and not need them anymore. How sad that would be. NOT! LOL Thank you Ann and have a great weekend.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Bill, once again, you've enlightened my thinking. Wouldn't it just be a thorn in the sides of our politicians in Washington if we all became self-sufficient? Why, we might even go back to the horse and buggy days, which, I'm all for, by the way. I'd much rather drive a buggy than a car and I've done both in my lifetime.

      Three cheers for self-sufficiency!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good night Nadine and thank you! Sleep well and have a great weekend in Cape Town.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      This is a hub that really speaks to me. You are so right to say that we live in a consumerism society. Now off to bed. Its midnight in Cape Town

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, I absolutely love that saying of your mother's. Never heard it before but you better believe I'll be using it in the future. LOL Thank you for the visit my friend and have a wonderful weekend.

      bill

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello Billy,

      My mother had this great saying 'I can live off the smell of an oil rag' she would say.

      Being her daughter, I learned the lessons which she taught us so well. If you can't afford it she would say, - better not to have it.

      She was one amazing lady, my Mother!

      It sure gives one a good feeling, to be self sufficient and not owe anyone anything.

      I applaud yours and your wife's efforts to be self sufficient.

      Have a great week-end Billy

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, in theory it is so easy...in reality, most find it hard to break bad habits of over-spending. I don't have all the answers my friend; I just know what works for me.

      Enjoy the heck out of your weekend; you've earned some relaxation.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I'm sure a lot of people see that it is common sense, but many are so invested in consumerism now that they can't find their way out...well, I'm leading the way in hopes they will see my beacon. :) Have a great weekend my friend.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, I'm right there with you in spirit, I'm working my way there, just a few bills to pay off first. :) There is so much common sense in your words, it's hard to understand how we got to this. We seemed to have sleep-walked into this life of voluntary wage slavery and consumerism, there just have to be a better way. You my friend are leading by example and I wish you all the best..

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      That is so awesome you owe nothing for you are now no longer slaves to the lender!!! Paying down one's debt should be first and foremost in getting back to those simpler times. In addition, the next time you think you need something and will have to go in debt to get it, think twice and if it is truly just something you want forget about it until you have saved enough to pay cash. Great article dear Bill. Keep on enjoying that simpler life without being enslaved! Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it Audrey...and how in the world were we not following each other? LOL Well thanks for being here now.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, I know you get it...you are aware and you worked hard for it all and bless you for sure get out and travel. I'm concerned with those who work constantly to pay for more meaningless shit and have no quality time to just live.....people who live in debt and then complain about it really chafe my ass if you know what I mean. LOL Thanks my friend and have a great weekend.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Such a great commentary on the issue of consumption Bill--We live in an old farm house--about 1100 sq feet--it was tight when the kids were still here but perfect for the 2 of us

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, it does my heart good to know that there are others singing this song. Keep on my friend and I'll do the same.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I'm right there on that bandwagon with you, Bill and trying to teach others so we don't forget how to take care of ourselves!

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      Larry Kitzmann 3 years ago

      OK, so I feel a little guilty on this one Bill. Having just spent 2 weeks in Cancun I can hardly claim that I live the simple life or the life style as presented here. We do though have roots in that life style and pay cash for everything we can when we can. We live as debt free as possible. Both being retired teachers my wife and I believe in travelling and seeing other peoples and cultures. It is how we raised our kids to consider themselves as citizens of the world and not just one small country. Having spent much time on the farm of late we know and appreciated all which that life has to offer especially when it comes to a sense of community and being there for each other whenever needed. I guess my wife and I just live with one foot in each world trying to make the best we can out of that world. As always take care my friend and keep the blogs coming.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I love it. You and I really do have a great deal in common, from the previous lavish lifestyles to being homeless to finally waking up and smelling the proverbial roses. I love it, and I'm happy to be your friend.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      When my husband and I were working for the man, we each earned our respective six figure incomes. And, we struggled to keep our heads above water. Getting terminated from our jobs at the same time was a blessing in disguise because, had only one of us been terminated, the other would have continued to try to find employment to sustain our "lavish" lifestyle. As much as we owned, we felt like we lived a meager lifestyle. Now, putting our life view in perspective, although we own very little, we are happier than we have ever been in our lives. Doing things ourselves instead of calling a professional, growing our own food, spending less on everything - it's all so appealing to us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, what an incredibly sad example, but one that perfectly defines the insanity of consumerism. Thanks for sharing it my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill this makes me laugh and remember a straw bail house I worked on. They started out all natural with a plan for 600 square feet. But during the planning they started making much more money. So it grew to near 2,000 square feet and lost all notions of a "green" building. They just kept wanting more.

      By the time they were ready to move in -- arguing over the "more" had destroyed their marriage. They never did move in as a family. If it weren't for the reasons it would be sad and not funny.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE! I share so others might learn...otherwise, what good is knowledge and experience?

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great feeling to know more about your roots along the way live the way you find is most simple.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dramatic for sure, DJ, and to hell with the language rules. LOL Thank you kind friend. I'm just a guy trying to get it right while I'm still breathing. Some lessons seem to clear to me now; not sure why I couldn't see them when I was younger. :)

      Have a wonderful weekend DJ!

      bill

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Brilliant article, Bill.

      I say this next statement with all sincerity, "Your present life would

      make a most beneficial real life TV program." I love to hear of your

      ingenious, no cost projects with wooden crates and other freebies.

      You are determined and inventive and there is no end to your creativity.

      I learn something from you everyday. It is a privilege to watch you grow

      in wealth of spirit and prosperity of accomplishments.

      There once was a wise man, and his name is Bill.

      (I know....past & present in same sentence) but, it does sound rather dramatic, don't you think?

      Thanks, Bill.

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John, as are you. Have a great weekend my friend.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Beautiful hub Bill, you set a great example.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Will do, my friend. :) You do the same.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      Thanks billy, enjoy your week-end!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      breakfastpop, with that philosophy you are light years ahead of many citizens....just spend responsibly for goodness sake. Like you said, if you don't have the cash then don't buy it...such a simple thought.

      Have a great weekend my rabble-rousing friend.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I totally respect your desire to live simply and be more self sufficient. I am somewhere in between on the spectrum. I do love conveniences and luxury, but I never indulge at the expense of common sense or my bank account. If I don't have the cash, I don't buy it, period!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, I'm a big believer in hard work....as long as eventually we all learn to stop and smell the roses along the way. :) My dad never took the time to do that.

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is very cool my friend, and I see no reason to change at all. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, right about now that sunshine on the skin sounds wonderful. We are all wondering if we need to invest in jet skis to get to and fro. LOL

      More time....slower pace....why this is such a hard concept for some to grasp I do not know. Hopefully they will figure it out while they still have time to enjoy work.

      Enjoy that garden my friend and I hope your weekend is wondrous. I will talk to you again on Monday.

      bill

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Bill, this is amazing. I am so happy that you found the courage to get rid of the fluff.

      I can sure relate to some of this, the grandparents I my siblings lived went through the 3rd grade in school, they never got hooked on "keeping up with the Jones" so we (all 6 kids, this includes 3 cousins ) worked hard.

      This is a wonderful Idea.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, it is not easy. I never want to appear like I think it is....best wishes to you always and thanks...have a great weekend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, you've come full circle to reclaiming your parents roots. It's really pretty cool when you think about it. You are now where they began. The difference is, there's no reason to change from the way life was lived a generation or two ago.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Not only is it better for us all and for the environment, it lessens financial worry and the guilt of not being around for one's children.

      My father worked his way up to being a self-employed optician and worked from home and my mother didn't work until I'd finished secondary school. I therefore benefited from having my parents around me and I appreciated that.

      Turning back the hands of time is fine by me (shame it doesn't work on the body!) and slowing the pace comes with it, to everyone's benefit.

      My life is all the richer for looking at the important things in life, living it and cherishing it. It's so much simpler, why can't everyone see that?!

      The weekend beckons once more and we have sunshine - hooray! Out in the garden, sun rays on my skin, for the first time since last summer.

      I love the Spring - everything crawls out of hibernation, including me!

      Another wise hub from you. Please don't ever give up putting out your messages. Have a great weekend, bill. Ann

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, as you know I am struggling with saving a bit from my article last night, but my hat is always off to you on this and you really set such a great example for all of us. I am trying my friend (slowly but surly I am). Thanks and have a wonderful weekend now!