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Boomers vs. Millenials

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boomer

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 13:18:10

I thought I would give me two cents to those young millenials and the emerging generations that will be wading through the detritus of what we have done.

I am 56 years old. I have sown my wild oats and am resting now up on top of a mountain. My youthful days of vigor and adventure are mostly behind me. Knowing what I know here is what I would do if I was 25 years old.

I would not have children. I would not bother to follow a professional carreer path. I would live in the cracks, in that delicious open road space, moving from whatever work I could find to volunteering on farms, hiking wilderness trails, being a witness to the decline of industrial civilization, combining this open space migratory journey with seasonal visits to a few settled farms and communities that would have me stay for room and board in exchange for work.

I would be a 21st century wanderer, moving in the cracks of the crumbling paradigm, free and unencumbered by the machine, jobs, wives, husbands, offspring.

It is a warrior path of sorts, partially a sage, sleeping under trees in the mediums of crumbling highways, sharing with those who cross my path the truth of our times.

Single and agile with no relationships and strings attached, greeting the Overshoot Predator and all his wrath when he awakens from his slumber, being ready at any moment to accept death with only my own life on the line and no sorrow or worry about off spring and loved ones who will undulely suffer a fate most likely worst than my own in these early decades ahead.

This is the advice I would give any young person courageous enough to abandon the sinking ship. There will be a generation coming much later on in the 21st century or thereafter, who will construct and pick up the pieces. But for current millenials who will have to pass through the horrible hiccups of a society confronting denial, we are going to have a real roller coaster of instability for several decades. Why even try to integrate into a machine that is doomed.

Why not witness it unencumbered?
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 13:26:31

Sounds like you are talking to aimless comfortable self-satisfied middle-class white kids from a 1st-world country who want no part of the future and challenges of the coming difficulties? To those same I recommend an apprenticeship in one of the trades; electrical plumbing ironwork carpentry. Stuff that is employable and may contribute to the redesign of our industrial world.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 17:13:41

pstarr wrote:Sounds like you are talking to aimless comfortable self-satisfied middle-class white kids from a 1st-world country who want no part of the future and challenges of the coming difficulties?


Yes this is advice to the new generations in the industrialized world, the 1st world offspring of baby boomers. Most of the readers of this site for example. That has to pay witness to their society that will have to go through some serious disruptions and has furthest to fall.

To my family in the Philippines and to my employees here in Panama, who do not log onto peakoil.com, the advice would indeed be different. It would be to keep the agricultural and handyman skills that you have and not go chasing for the consumption culture in the big cities. I see here in Panama for example the dying of a frontier generation that still has all those skills you mention but whose children are all wanting to migrate to urban areass, save very very few whose values are carrying on in their parents footsteps.

To those same I recommend an apprenticeship in one of the trades; electrical plumbing ironwork carpentry. Stuff that is employable and may contribute to the redesign of our industrial world.


Where there is the opportunities to rebuild our industrial world your advice compliments very well side by side with the advice I mentioned above; a philosophy of keeping yourself footloose and unencumbered by consumption culture. Learning a trade and being an apprentice is great and can be a way of building resilience against hard times but a trade alone will not insulate you from the expectation you might still be carrying of having of a high consumption lifestyle. That is where my advice comes in; do whatever it takes to break those expectations, and the best way I know is to spend a part of your youth celebrating a sense of unencumbered freedom that goes deep enough to stay with you as an insulation to the overwelming shizophrenic messages you here coming from that status quo.

Perhaps a small confession is in order. What I described was somewhat my youth until I was in my 30's. The street smarts, survival skills and 1000's of miles of wilderness trails traveled did harden and wisen me in many ways to life and ingrained a work ethic of sorts that I definately attribute to the success I had later in life. For a very young person today I would guide them to gain that personal strength before negotiating the declining civilization. Don't chase the collapsing status quo. Be free as you can of all the trappings that will make you chase it.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 17:41:12

The problem with this idea as I see it is the differences between non-breeders and breeders run as deep or maybe deeper than the differences between Timbuktu and Stockholm. There are always going to be both. A look at the most difficult places to sustain life finds that very often it's those least able to provide who are having the most children- partly through lack of birth control, partly through a 'bet' or insurance for the uninsurable. Wealthy people have less kids, poor people have more. Wealthy people use far more resources per capita, so one first world kid of moderate means may use the resources of 10 or more kids in a remote tribal setting.

Without exception, every person I know who has opted to remain childless- is at the upper end of middle class, very well educated, intelligent and considerate of environmental concerns to do with overpopulation. So what happens when/if more and more join their ranks? We continue to see out of control breeding in the poorest and least educated populations and sectors of populations.
Human nature trumps philosophy. It has been said that through such mechanics humanity is already breeding itself stupid. Meanwhile the creeping growth in consumption by the billions at the lowest socio-economic portion easily overwhelms and multiplies any offset by the few million at the higher end who take this noble option of non-breeding.

A person who opts to have no children is opting out of the main game of the society, alienating themselves from the mainstream. If this person is making this choice in the hope of influencing others away from mainstream consumer family models of life, chances are this alienating factor will undo social leverage. On the other hand if it's a purely personal choice about how one wants to live life regardless of influence, such a choice could lead to either a much more creative life or a very lonely one.

Another factor is how often childless people team up and become serious consumers regardless of the lack of children. Look at the 'pink dollar' for an obvious example. What is the use in circumventing the next generation from one's own loins simply to live in such a way as to hasten the demise of the world for those who did breed?

Personally I would find counselling youth in this direction confounding of at least one of my core beliefs- that the urge to breed is innate for the vast majority of not just people, but life forms. Without control studies taking decades (I am not aware of any work done on this)- I would find it difficult to believe that anyone can strongly influence breeding choices to the extent suggested in the OP. I don't doubt that education can influence people towards having less children- obviously a good thing- but influencing the most capable people to have no children whilst the least capable breed like yeast in a petri-dish- I'm less sure of.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 18:12:03

An impossible move due mainly to religious fanaticism would be to make all forms of contraception freely available worldwide. Free sterilization, condoms, b/c pills, IUD's etc, first trimester abortion. Efforts in this direction have to my knowledge been patchy and short lived. Only a sustained application over decades and entire continents is going to make a difference. Meanwhile we have capitalism's need for growth based substantially on demographics- thus capitalism runs in conjunction with religion and primal urges towards the ultimate die-off (see Overshoor Predator).

3 of the strongest motivators of behavior. To be countered by well meaning ethical and intellectually justifiable individual action.

We know the maxim about doing the same thing expecting different results. To get different results we need to do different things. All well and good so far; then it comes to implementing our well thought out ideas- what are the obstacles? What is the purpose/ goal of the new behavior? Can the purpose over-ride the obstacle?

The older I get the more I see human behavior as largely primitive. We think ourselves to be advanced and we congratulate ourselves and get on with the business- the primitive business of being human. Nothing we are so far thinking or doing is coming anywhere near what might be a direct confrontation of overshoot.

When you (Ibon) coined the phrase: "Worshipping the Overshoot Predator"; I think you nailed the scale of the problem. It really is that big- on the scale of 'God'. I'm of the view that there is almost nothing we can do about the scale of the problems which will be effective. The best we can do is still to 'think global- act local'. The yeast, the sugar, the petri-dish, the peaking and waning, what can we really do about it? Just try to preserve some islands and sanctuaries in the hope that tipping point comes soon enough and some of nature gets to live on and seed the new- post anthropogenic ecology.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 18:38:40

Sea Gypsy, complex indeed and you bring up some very good points. My OP was not intended to be a global strategy on the merits or demerits of having children but rather advice for young people getting through what I consider to be a highly volatile and disruptive time that probably will last a couple of decades. Of course, it may not and if so there is a lot to gain and nothing to lose from spending a few years following it. If you are young and you step outside of the status quo and build resilience in following an unattached life free of status quo obligations you may also gain the personal strength to achieve an orientation I can best describe as being "in it but not of it". To first gain an unnattachment to the dyfunctional culture so that the wisdom this teaches you allows you "to be in it but not of it" if you get my meaning. There is no escape from being part of your culture but you can gain immensely from stepping outside of it for awhile. This I see as a major preparation psychologically to the coming times. It is a life philosophy of sorts.

I do see a lot of older baby boomers who never have had children. Some handle it well, most feel a hole and an absence over never having procreated. It is a personal choice that is not for everyone.

Perhaps this thread or another can explore how one raises children in disruptive times. There again, spending a few years unattached from the status quo would be worthwhile in preparation for that.

I foresee a highly volatile punctuated time coming up soon and again, my advice is dealing specifically with getting through this.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Loki » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 18:53:04

Ibon wrote:Perhaps a small confession is in order. What I described was somewhat my youth until I was in my 30's. The street smarts, survival skills and 1000's of miles of wilderness trails traveled did harden and wisen me in many ways to life and ingrained a work ethic of sorts that I definately attribute to the success I had later in life. For a very young person today I would guide them to gain that personal strength before negotiating the declining civilization. Don't chase the collapsing status quo. Be free as you can of all the trappings that will make you chase it.

The life of the “traveler” is also one of consumption, just in a different way.

I'm personally a homebody, I did a lot of traveling in my 20s, glad I did it, but I now have zero urge to travel. I personally would find the gypsy's life hell. Much rather stay at home and farm, build stuff, experiment with off grid power, brew beer, etc.

If I was giving advice to an 18 year old, I'd tell them to avoid college for at least a few years until you learn more about the world. Learn a trade, farming, carpentry, electrician, whatever. If college still calls when you're 25, do something practical and keep your trade skills up to speed, and fer gawd's sake DO NOT TAKE A SINGLE PENNY OF STUDENT LOAN DEBT.

I'd also suggest reducing their material expectations. While it's possible their generation may have access to the “American dream” of McMansions and a new SUV every year, I wouldn't count on it. Retirement will also likely be the privilege of past generations. I'm Gen X and don't expect to ever retire.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Loki » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 19:04:06

SeaGypsy wrote:Without exception, every person I know who has opted to remain childless- is at the upper end of middle class, very well educated, intelligent and considerate of environmental concerns to do with overpopulation. So what happens when/if more and more join their ranks? We continue to see out of control breeding in the poorest and least educated populations and sectors of populations.

Well you kind of "know" me. I'm childless and nowhere near upper middle class. It would be a stretch to call me middle class. I consider myself part of the peasant class. I am overeducated, though, and occasionally pass for intelligent :wink:

As for your latter point, this is an issue of lifeboat ethics. How hungry am I willing to go so folks who bred recklessly on the other side of the planet can have a bite to eat? My answer: I'm not willing to forgo a single meal. When I hear of someone who has 8 kids and can't feed them, I shake my head and think "you made your bed, now lie in it."

I'm far more willing to make sacrifices on behalf of environmental concerns.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 19:20:08

Ok Ibon, to narrow the focus-
I believe in the process of self actualization tempered with the benefits of broad education. If one can't be happy doing something, there is little point in doing it. If advising those you want to be happy- my suggestion would be more focused on inward processes of self assessment, control, deep personal insight and choices made in the state of calm self awareness. As simple as this seems, it is still a radical thing- despite being widely recognized as the pinnacle of human needs- as per Maslow. Can anyone outside the person correctly direct the person? Or is the best outcome for the individual psychologically always going to reflect something original in the person? Is happiness through self actualization socially and ecologically responsible? Does such responsibility matter to the individual or to those advising the youth? Does such counsel make a difference anyway? To the individual or to the greater good?

We have all seen 'hippie kids' grow up to jump into the mainstream asap. We have all seen middle class third generation comfortable kids jump out of the mainstream while a generation behind them struggles to ensure a lift out of the poverty experienced by their parents. All that goes on in the formation of the person in their youth has an impact. Simply having some 'ideal path' laid out for those one might have the opportunity to mentor, whilst making us feel that we have some big answers- may in fact be just a delusion. Just as teaching someone to fish, it is better to teach someone to think.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 19:29:13

Loki, we are probably using a different set of parameters. I prefer to use a global set of scales and define 'middle class' as those raised with choices in life by parents who were raised with choices in life- in other words- the vast majority of first worlder's and the tiny minority of third.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 19:45:32

The human condition, even in the best of times is an existential crisis of sorts with this sentient brain aware of its own mortality. Ones journey of self actualization is involved with wrestling with this demon.

Our collective cultures denial around confronting overshoot, resource constraints and climate change is not only about addiction to consumption culture, if one probes deep enough there is this huge spiritual deficiency in not dealing with oneself.

Unfortunately the baby boomers esoteric excesses and forays into new age flakey self indulgencies have given this topic a bad rap but I do bring it up because it remains one of the most important tools in your tool kit for adapting to upcoming disruptions.

By coincidence of sorts somebody sent me a link on FB that I will pass on here. An article about dealing with solitude and societal judgement of those chosing this path. It is a bit off topic on this thread but does contribute something.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/j ... eing-alone

But there is a problem, a serious cultural problem, about solitude. Being alone in our present society raises an important question about identity and wellbeing. In the first place, and rather urgently, the question needs to be asked. And then – possibly, tentatively, over a longer period of time – we need to try to answer it.

The question itself is a little slippery but it looks something like this: how have we arrived, in the relatively prosperous developed world at least, at a cultural moment that values autonomy, personal freedom, fulfilment and human rights, and, above all, individualism, more highly than ever before, while at the same time those who are autonomous, free and self-fulfilling are terrified of being alone with themselves?
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 19:57:15

SeaGypsy wrote:Ok Ibon, to narrow the focus-
I believe in the process of self actualization tempered with the benefits of broad education. If one can't be happy doing something, there is little point in doing it. If advising those you want to be happy- my suggestion would be more focused on inward processes of self assessment, control, deep personal insight and choices made in the state of calm self awareness.


That is kind of where I was going actually. The whole purpose of choosing a chapter of ones life where one is unattached and wanders has a bit of the monastic quality to it. It certainly helped me develop an inner strength when spending extended periods of time alone in the wilderness. I am not tooting my own horn but had I not developed that inner space in solitude I would never have been able to do what I am doing now.

This stuff is important in any age, but particularly important where we are heading where many solid assumptions are going to start to swerve and dissolve in tremors that will shake us. It wasn't that long ago that things felt solid enough that one could be duped into believing in a sense of permanence and security. That is quickly fading and there are personal skills required in dealing with this.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Sat 11 Jan 2014, 22:38:13

Karma is the most often used and misused word in the Vedic vocabulary. Used as a kind of easier way to put a belief in a 'just world' or 'just universe'. There is scant justice in the here and now, why should there be more in a supposed afterlife? The real meaning of the word 'Karma' is to do with the result of 'attachment to the result of fruitive work'. To be free of karma, one has to be free of the attachment to the rewards of one's effort. This leads on to the whole material attachment cycle, where instead of action to escape karma, we continually perform in order to achieve a result- specifically a material result. The thrust of the teachings about karma is about alleviating the suffering caused through material attachment. Much easier to focus on the simplistic- (and wrong) common western use meaning of the word.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 12 Jan 2014, 07:31:19

Loki wrote:The life of the “traveler” is also one of consumption, just in a different way.



It does take fossil fuels to get to the trail head. Acknowledged.

Then again one of my best friend's son just attached two home depot 5 gallon buckets to the back of his bicycle rack and left Fort Lauderdale and is heading toward southern Georgia. He will be there until spring at a meditation center and then will ride his bike to a farm community in Missouri where he already spent last year helping out.

I didn't mention this on the OP but his story is what inspired me to start this thread. He is 31 years old and many of his family and friends have freaking out about his life choices and are worried about him.

I showed him and his mother End of Suburbia video back in 2005.

I am a mentor to him. I wish him all the best on his journey.

I'm personally a homebody, I did a lot of traveling in my 20s, glad I did it, but I now have zero urge to travel. I personally would find the gypsy's life hell. Much rather stay at home and farm, build stuff, experiment with off grid power, brew beer, etc.


Part of what makes you deeply content to be a homebody might be that traveling you did years ago.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Paulo1 » Sun 12 Jan 2014, 12:45:52

Ibon,

I respectfully disagree with your post and find the idea of simply living a David Caradine Kung Fu lifestyle pretty self indulgent and lacking in motivation and contribution. Where would we be and what would become of us all if we all gave up and gave in?

My Father said to me, when I was a teenager, that if a person accomplished the following his/her life would not be wasted. (And I agree with him). "If the world is better for you having lived, then your life was worthwhile". Of course, defining 'better' is the key thing to do. I see your solution as 'doing no more harm' (intentionally), but not adding to solution or positive change. You have assumed that our mere presence is poison, and that I cannot agree with.

My daughter teaches music, has a husband, a small affordable house, and one child. They both work, garden, and pursue modest goals and pastimes including gardening, bike riding, camping, and remained focused on friends and family. They don't buy a lot of stuff. My son is an electrician, very well paid in the oil patch, and is currently rebuilding a home on 3 acres...200 metres just upstream from me on the same river I live on. He works hard, has a plan and ideals. He is not planning on having children, which makes me sad in a way, but I tell both my kids (when they ask for my opinion...which isn't often) that there are lots of people in the world and that having more kids is not a requirement for sucess or meaning.

I believe that my children have the potential to improve their world around them, and that their presence and life has value.

Also, having worked with high school kids for the last 17 years I need to point out that how they view themselves and approach their life is key in whether they are positive contributors or hedonistic takers. An extreme lack of self worth may lead to actual suicide or slightly less destructive behaviours. Young people need a realistic view of their abilities and opportunities, but they need a sense of hope and possibility. In other words, there are no ribbons for just being you. Yes, you have to show up (as Woody Allen mentioned), but there isn't a trophy for it. Be prepared to work hard and stay out of debt. Encouragement is the key, imho. Lack of hope and lack of any sense of control leads to followers and destructive behaviour. An extreme example of this is the development of 'child soldiers'. Simply encouraging them to drop out and wander (to save the planet) has the underlying message that the world is worse off for their being born, and that, I fear, has the potential of becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

My message to the young, in addition to the above, is that you have value and potential. The world needs positive change and people with the skills, values, and leadership to make this happen. How can I help you achive this?

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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 12 Jan 2014, 15:54:32

Paulo1 wrote:Ibon,

I respectfully disagree with your post and find the idea of simply living a David Caradine Kung Fu lifestyle pretty self indulgent and lacking in motivation and contribution.


That's fine. I actually agree with most of your post. Where we differ I think is that what defines a life accomplished or one wasted depends on a set of values that are perhaps not universally agreed upon.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby farmlad » Sun 12 Jan 2014, 20:12:36

I just came across an interesting article in BBC Magazine "A Point of View, See no Evil". I`m wondering what others make of this article.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby careinke » Sun 12 Jan 2014, 20:18:55

farmlad wrote:I just came across an interesting article in BBC Magazine "A Point of View, See no Evil". I`m wondering what others make of this article.


Welcome farmlad.

Normally one posts a link to the article so people have a chance to read it before commenting. If you read it from hard copy, the Issue of the magazine would be helpful.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Loki » Sun 12 Jan 2014, 22:22:02

Paulo1 wrote:I respectfully disagree with your post and find the idea of simply living a David Caradine Kung Fu lifestyle pretty self indulgent and lacking in motivation and contribution.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with living a Kwai Chang Caine lifestyle, as long as you're doing useful work on the way and not just consuming without giving back in any way. Kwai Chang worked on the railroad, worked on farms, etc., did all sorts of useful work when he wasn't kicking ass, saving fair maidens, and having flashbacks.

Far more problematic are those who thirst for “success,” which usually means material success. Big new house, big new truck, lots of energy consumed as conspicuously as possible, etc. This is the problem, not the solution.
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Re: Advice to Millenials and those to come from a baby boome

Unread postby Pops » Mon 13 Jan 2014, 07:14:22

Kind of bouncing back and forth between here and the "lonely" thread, I'm going to say that the advice to live less encumbered by the expectations of society or at least the way we think society expects, can pertain to folks of any age.

A long time ago I read "The Three Boxes of Life" which basically argued that school-job-retire shouldn't be compartmentalized and taken for granted as the only right progression in life; that instead we should do all three, continuously, all our lives. My favorite saying is:
"The difference between a rut and a grave is how long you spin your wheels."


I did a little running around as a kid, basically as a "construction" bum really, working in CA, UT, ID, AZ and a few other places before I was 21. I also liked walking into the mountains, Sierras, Uintas, Bitterroots and the Rubies out in the middle of Nevada.

But I settled down about then and needed to make a living; it happens. As to your original point Ibon, yes, definitely do not have kids if you don't want to be encumbered. At least for me, I became the nest builder after the chicks arrived, LOL. Unfortunately, acquisition became routine for me, so that now that our kids are long moved away, I'm encumbered by stuff.

We have a lot of stuff that at one time (and still to a great extent) makes me feel rooted and secure. Not empty tuna cans type of stuff, both of us are doers rather than "experiencers" so we collect all manner of actually useful tools from kitchen to woodworking to computer to gardening plumbing, electrical . . . one dollar items to thousand dollar items.

Which isn't to give the impression we don't also have a great deal of just plain old stuff: we do. Knick-knacks, semi-to-not-at-all sentimental gifts received for a long forgotten occasion, mementos of something or other, and lots of potentially usable-someday stuff - hurricane lamps, corn shellers, pistolas. When we moved here from a 1,000SF house to a 2,200sf house + 30x40 shed, + 40x40 shop + greenhouse + summer kitchen + hay barn - I thought 'what will we do with all this space?"

then we proceeded to fill it all up with stuff, LOL.


Here at 56 the actuaries would say I have maybe 20 productive years so I'm thinking it is time I finally unencumbered myself of stuff. I am in the somewhat unique position of being able to work from anywhere I can get a cell signal or McDonalds' WiFi, so why not do a little wandering around - albeit fossil fueled wandering? Learn/work/play.

This of course relates to my post in the "lonely" thread (thanks everyone for the congratulations BTW) in that along the way we would stop occasionally to visit with this kid or that great grandkid

(hear that Mrs. Ibon? :wink: )
.
If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.
-- Abraham Lincoln
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