Thoughts on Unplugging from the System

DSCN3055Many believe that living a “Simpler Life” means unplugging from this crazy web of madness we call modern life. In many ways it does, but not to the degree of total disconnection. Going completely off grid in some remote location of the world can be liberating, but is also a hard life to live. The responsibility of self reliance on things like energy, clean water and food production can become not only a challenge but yet another source of stress.

The current system we live in is a system of conveniences that allow us to live our lives in such a way that we rarely think about things like how we must deal with things like getting rid of human waste, finding fresh water or providing warmth to our homes. When was the last time you had to chop firewood? I know that at 55 years old I don’t even want to think about the task anymore.

While making the decision to make our lives a little simpler it is easy to buy into certain idea’s that are a bit extreme as they carry a certain romantic theme of a life of living off the land like those of the Little House on the Prairie. The key is in balance between both the modern day world and world of the past. I don’t believe that anyone sitting in an outhouse in a Montana winter wouldn’t agree with obtaining a flush toilet system that works right in the warmth of their homes back in the 1850’s.

I do agree that living the modern life of dealing each day with many of the stresses that we have to deal with to find our place in this world can certainly send us to a place where all we want is to find a little peace. Feeling this way day in and day out can put us over the edge to the point where we start thinking that life was much easier back when. The truth is that the peace we seek is already inside of us and all we have to do is search for it. It’s not too difficult to find a tall tree somewhere next to a lake or river to sit at for a while to gain a different perspective of the world we live in.

So if unplugging isn’t the answer then what is? Is it possible to start making tiny changes to our own lives that would provide us with more joy and less stress? Absolutely! Sometimes the small things are really big things hidden in happy masks that surround us in the cloud of overload. Things like clutter, or simply having too much or too many things that don’t really bring us joy. Then there are social pressures or beliefs that we have to attain certain material things to make us feel that we are a part of a certain social group. With both of these there is the concept of space. Not space up in the sky, but the space we live in each day. There is nothing that can make us feel more free than being in the open spaces of nature and it only makes sense to create this same open space in our own homes.

Our very own system of belief in which we created ourselves through the help of those around us may just be the source of our unhappiness. Once we turn off the buying machine we feel we must keep active, we find that our little pot of gold slowly increases with value. Long standing debt starts getting paid off and we have less bills to deal with each month. Over time we find that we really can find a place in this modern world where we start to lose that overwhelmed feeling and find more moments of peace and joy.

Unplugging from certain parts of the system is healthy while unplugging from other parts can wind up to be simply foolish. Before making any radical decision to pull out completely it would be my advice to take baby steps and really think about what it is that keeps you overwhelmed with stress each day. I used to be stressed out driving to work each morning. Now I leave 10 minutes earlier and relax as I listen to my favorite music and arrive at work feeling calm instead of stressed. What things in your life need a little attention?

About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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21 Responses to Thoughts on Unplugging from the System

  1. What a really nice blog to read. Great advice.

  2. Yes. So agree. Nicely captured…

  3. Kim Smyth says:

    Nice post, worth passing on to the stressed out people in my life. I try to stay stress free myself, since I have certain health issues that flare up if I do get that way. I was allowed to quit my job about 13 yrs ago, that was my biggest stress causer, even though I loved it as well. It was more the co-workers than the job and the traffic while getting there that stressed me out..
    Writing is Theraputic for me and being allowed to do things at my own pace, helps me stay relaxed.

  4. webbermd says:

    SimpleLivingOver50, We are trying to achieve that balance between off grid and the modern day lifestyle. When my parents come to visit, they can’t tell the difference that we are off grid. We watch Youtube on our smart LED TV, take showers indoors, flush our toilet, run our sinks, refrigerate our food, use an electric log splitter, etc. The cool thing is we take my small paycheck and pay insurance, Internet, gas, and food. The rest of it is put into savings to build the next project on the property. Instead of giving money to a mortgage, electricity, water, garbage, and sewer, we save it. It took us about 20 years to achieve this. However, the dream of living off the grid, the research we put in, meeting each small goal is what kept us going these past twenty years. Sometimes the dream and the journey is another stress reliever. Don’t give up the dream.

    • webbermd says:

      I should revise the timeline. 22 years ago we were married. It took us 15 years to pay off all our student loans from college. It took us about 8 years to get a comfortable, off grid lifestyle with no mortgage once we decided to put our previous house up for sale.

    • That is incredible and book worthy. Where I live I see too many people jump in and end up totally stressed out, disheartened or even homeless. I know if I was ever to make a move like you did it would include a great deal of study and preparedness.

      • webbermd says:

        Reading books, watching documentaries and how to videos from the library was something we could afford while paying down our debt. It is during this time we strategized our escape from debt and planned our ever evolving off grid home. Enjoy this time; it’s where the dreams you plan here take shape and become reality when you are ready.

  5. Yes far more stressful to live off grid! Unless you are really rich, it will be a lot more debt. Also think it depends on the area you do it in. My area is somewhat friendly to it, but higher in drama, than any other area I have ever lived, so just makes things not work. I long for the old days of working 60 hours a week in NYC and the rat race. It looks so relaxing in comparison. Maybe if I had chosen another state and saved up for 25 years first…

  6. For a moment there, I thought you wanted to unplug from WP and self host your own site. But then I realized this is about things closer to earth. Nice read!

  7. We agree that “going back” would not decrease the stress! We had a conversation this morning about this. We are in sync! Just thinking about chopping wood, outhouses, hunting/searching for food that can’t be kept, etc stresses me out and we aren’t even considering anything this extreme!

    Great post!

  8. Pingback: Thoughts on Unplugging from the System | Three Things In Life

  9. New Journey says:

    Good Morning…love the post….I myself have started to turn off the cell for hours at a time…15 years ago I wasn’t attached to a phone at all times….people caught me when the could…I didn’t have an answering machine, or even a computer 15 years ago…hummmm I seemed to do just fine without being electronically attached and on all the time…in fact I believe I did better…my jobs brought the cell tether to my life…being on call brings a whole new beast to life as it is and then add a cell phone that rings at will with whining people at the end of it…..yes, a tree by a big body of water certainly sounds blissful anytime…when you spoke about being off the grid..we were in Gila Hot Springs New Mexico a few months ago….we meet quit a few people who left it all in the big city and moved tot he valley….no electricity, no running water….no phones, or cell phone towers for a hundred miles….one store that had WI FI sometimes, a payphone that was out of order more often than not…..some of the homes had running water, but there were a lot that didn’t….interesting way to live.. the people living off the grid lived in little house, self built and the passion and joy that emulated from them was palpable…I loved it….and let me tell you, they weren’t young, they were in their late fifties, they agreed it hadn’t been easy to do at first, but they all stated they would never go back to the old life..just to buy the property was a good chunk of cash and then to have to have all the materials needed to set up a place had to be spendy, so being poor and heading into this life style, I am sure would bring on way more hardships than anticipated….it was refreshing to speak with them and see the peace and calm that glowed from them….when asked about what they had left behind (jobs, homes,) they all wished they would of left years before….most of them were going there for the hot springs and never left…LOL it is a beautiful area…not sure I would want to live there but it was certainly a nice place to go let it all go….sorry I got so long winded….I have always dreamed of being an earth mother and living off the land, off the grid….but I am way to spoiled to give up some of the comforts of home….LOL Happy Fall to you my Northern friend…warm wishes to you and Sharon…kat

  10. I dig what you have to say here, especially about “us” having too too much stuff. It accumulates and we feel attached but it feels so good to purge!!

  11. I think you have it right – we can’t all be homesteaders (and not all of us want to be) but we can make simple changes which make life easier. My first step was taking a book when I know I will be in a queue for a long time. The change felt so good I kept looking for others.

  12. I had a good laugh imagining the downside of the Little House on the Prairie!

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