Advices and Queries No. 41

Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford. Do you keep yourself informed about the effects your style of living is having on the global economy and environment?

One of the benefits of taking a sabbatical is the opportunity to reassess certain aspects of your life. When we flew over to the UK, the weight and baggage limitations were such that we could only take six suitcases (two per person) each packed to a maximum of 50 kilos. Also, while on sabbatical, the family income has been significantly cut, and additionally affected by the current weakness of the US dollar against Sterling.

Stuff has to go!

We couldn’t carry it. Nor could we buy it. Choices had to be made.

Grocery shopping becomes a very interesting exercise in deciding which products we’re prepared to buy the cheaper versions of. Where does price make a difference to experience? If you can’t stand the taste what’s the point of buying the cheaper product?

When we decided where to live we had to choose between two options that were $100 per month apart. So we could have $100 more a month to live on or a better everyday experience in a larger space with better fixtures and fittings.

Since arriving I’ve been able to visit the cinema at least once a week. This is very important to my mental well being. However, we have been attending the matinee performances because the price difference is significant. This affects how we schedule and organise our lives.

We’re not buying books but we are borrowing from the local library system.

We’re attending professional theatre productions and live music events because what’s the point of being here if we don’t?

We’re paying for a broadband internet connection because if we’re completely cut off from our virtual lives the fallout does not bear thinking about. Eating beans on toast every night for a week is not a bad price to pay if it keeps the jack hot.

Life is about choices and we’re contemplating ours every day we spend on sabbatical.

Current temperature: here 5C/41F, there 36F/2C

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