Saturday, July 22, 2006

Article Response

Money Magazine Article
Well, it seems that there has been quite a response from both sides of the simple living camp. Some people seem to think that we are extreme. Some people think that we are average. Some think that we are unhappy....

Honestly, the first couple of years of our relationship were very tough. Money was a big issue in our relationship. I think that every relationship is tough at the start, and every relationship has its own issues to work through. Some people argue about money, while others argue about family, time, work, kids, etc. It does take years for a relationship to come together. Jonathan still wants to remain debt free, and I don't want to participate in consumer culture. Money is not an issue in our lives. Although it did at one time, it does not control us.

Some people seem to think that the photos show us as a very unhappy family. We posed for 5 hours and told to smile, not to smile, to look this way or that.... The "American Gothic" stance is the one that made its way into the magazine. As I understand, there were some great pictures of us, however, the editors got to choose. I think the little black and white photo in the table of contents is a much better representation of us. We have a lot of fun together. Today we spent the morning working on projects and playing soccer with the kids. Zach came in excited that our tomatoes are turning red. What we don't have are children who sit as zombies in front of the television or computer. Our children don't nag about wanting this toy or that. We try to make life about experiences not things. Life is happier because it is about experiences.

Notice that Zach is taking pictures in the photo below. My father gave him an old 35mm camera (broken). Zach is always runing around taking "pictures".

I try to remember that every writer and magazine comes to the story with their own perspective on things. We simply don't feel a compulsive need to accumulate and own. It may be obvious in the article to some readers and not to others. Because we are free of this we can really enjoy each other as a couple and as a family. Actually, the writer was very impressed with our way of life and told me that we were inspiring to her. She has aready made a few changes in her own life!

We also could have a lot more in savings (and invested) if we didn't have to spend 10s of thousands on legal issues for the children (last year). There were a number of things that could not be written about in the article, due to liability issues (and ex). That is one of the reasons we want to have more money available to us. We don't know when another ball will drop. We will invest - however safely.

Jonathan hopes to be moonlighting next year, which will siginicantly increase our income. If he does, then we hope to save his income and live off of mine. This is about choices - not necessities. The article mentioned that J's mom was a single mother. What is not mentioned is that she was suddenly widowed when she was 19 and Jonathan was 3 months old. She struggled as a single mother (and made it work) until she remarried when J was 8. I think that seriously affected him. On that note, the finncial advisors were pleased with the life insurance that each of us has, although we could increase it slightly....

I do think that we have found a happy medium - we are not attempting to live based on sales, and we are not living as if we are depriving ourselves. We have all that we need (and I think sometimes too much stuff). If there is something that is needed, then we may get it. See, now I choose what I want and need. A corporation is not telling me what I want or need. It is funny that inspite of being a graphic designer and being trained to advertise to people, I never saw it. I have read the books, but never realized how deeply ingrained the messages are.

Overall, there has been a lot of support for us. Our families think it is wonderful. There have been a number of people who have joined the Compact because of the article, and I have also found that many people are starting to read this blog! This is all about a journey towards a lifestyle that is healthy. I really hope that we can help be an inspiration to others. This is a learning experience for all of us.

Oh, Jonathan and Madison are playing "mad libs" I am being asked for a type of liquid... I better get my brain into adjectives.


~Dawn said...

Well, I think it is wonderful what you are doing and Thumbs up to your ideas and putting those in practice.

Have a great day!

In Recovery said...

Those accusing your family of being 'extreme' are likely feeling threatened by your choices and financial security!