Also, I wrote a blog post (flocked on my LJ) about some of the changes I'm dealing with as the U.S. economy slides downhill, and the realities that the lifestyle I grew up with may not be the one that I face in the future.
I've been thinking lately about the cost of gas. While we're doing pretty well financially, especially now that we're getting decent hours from our telecommuting gigs, we've still got to tighten the belt. This means fewer trips by car. We got a bus pass to share for when one or the other of us needs to go somewhere alone, which means that some trips will take longer. And today I walked to Fred Meyer, which including the shopping took me about an hour, whereas it would have been not even half that if I drove. I still drive if I have to get something too heavy to carry for a half a mile, but I'm trying to walk more.
This got me thinking about how my life is changing in general, both to be more economical and to be more green. I'm so used to living a fast-paced life, where I try to cram as much stuff into one day as possible; as I've mentioned at various times, I am a recovering workaholic. Today, walking to the store, it made me think about my time, and how before we became so reliant on cars more time was invested in trips, and each trip meant a hell of a lot more. A place that takes us maybe a half an hour to drive to would be a day's walk for a lot of people, assuming they were mobile.
And I was thinking this about money, too, especially with the conversation in response to my Witchvox article. We're so spoiled by Hell-mart and mass production. We want things cheap, and we want lots of them (as a society). We also support some really awful social and business practices when we financially support the big corporations. I've been trying to shift my purchasing habits more to small businesses and so forth, especially now that I'm in a place that has easy access to many small businesses. However, this usually means that things cost more.
Same thing goes for trying to buy better quality/handmade/etc. It's really making me realize what a stuff-centered reality we live in. For example, I've been boycotting Amazon for my book purchases, taking my business either to Powell's or directly to the publishers. This means that even the used books are more expensive, so I get fewer books for my money. While it's not necessary for me to do this, it is a good way for me to get an idea of what things are worth.
I think I've been taking time and money for granted. No, scratch that--I know I have. I think it's good for me, though. Especially with the way the economy is going, as well as environmental changes, it wouldn't be a bad idea for me to get used to less stuff--or at least stuff at a slower pace. Hell, *life* at a slower pace.
Growing my own food has made me more patient. Washing my car by hand has done the same. Walking to the store, taking public transit, limiting my fun money to $100 a month instead of whatever I feel like spending--all these have contributed to a slow but significant shift in my perception.
It may not just be a good idea after a while--I may not have any other choice, depending on how things go. I'm not panicked about the way things are going, but I'm digging in my dewclaws, so to speak, and readying myself for some big changes.