My Dad

by hailtothenihilist

An annual household income of $250k isn’t much . Well, if you are MP Joel Fitzgibbon you may believe that. Apparently some households that earn this much are “struggling”. As Mike Doroshenko rightly tweeted, it’s time to appoint the administrator…

My father, a retired welder turned volunteer maintenance worker, gets by on less than $20k a year. He couldn’t want for a thing in the world. Sure, it’s just him and he doesn’t live in any way extravagantly, but that’s the point. Ought we live like kings?

My father is a great example, I think. His transport, a 1997 Mitsubishi Express van: freehold. His house, a caravan and annex in a quiet and picturesque regional caravan park: owned, but he still pays a $75/week site fee. Food: simple, nutritious and home-cooked. Utilities: used sparingly and of little cost*. Fuel: enough to get him from A to B. Dad lives well within his means and as such he has built himself a nice little savings account.

I think we can all learn something from people like my dad. His priorities in life are freedom and happiness. He is free and happy because he doesn’t have to slave away for 40 hours a week to service things that he thinks will make him happy and certainly won’t provide him freedom. He finds his happiness in things that don’t cost much: reading, striking up conversations with strangers, building things and writing in his journal. Not to mention dreaming about visiting the English countryside again–which is a little more indulgent but heck, he has been disciplined and can afford it. He isn’t caught up on the material trappings of life yet doesn’t go without.

I’ve read widely about voluntary simplicity and minimalism and I think it’s going to be more than a trend in times to come–we’re going to have to make sacrifices and in doing so we’ll realise there is green grass elsewhere. We will change: for the good of the planet and for the good of our happiness.

* Dad showed me the extent of the gear that draws power at his place. It was all plugged into a single 4-socket power board. I wouldn’t even know where to start in my house. There must be dozens of appliances plugged in, drawing unknown amounts of energy constantly.