For many of us, it felt like from the 1980s on life became a frantic race. The advent of personal computers and cell phones changed the way we lived, but also drove us to be exposed to the "ideals" marketed to us and the race for the newest electronics, the biggest McMansion, the skinniest body, and the newest model of SUV, among other superficial goals.
But life is about patterns, and eventually we would be flung back to the 1970s. Here's how we are backing down from overstimulation to being in the moment and valuing real life versus artificial (TV/Internet/Movies).
The 1970s are back with pot-smoking hippies, protesting, China-induced recession, and living ecologically conscious lives. Emphasis on clothing is for individual expression with vintage and handcrafted items. Concerns have shifted to healthy diets and thrift store shopping, growing a garden, and focusing more on personal content than acquisitions.
We have finally turned an eye to a really serious threat, plastic. As it accummulates in our oceans and landfills, water supplies, and leaches into foods and products on shelves, we are coming to the conclusion we MUST do something fast. I put my concerns into priorities so I have been a long-term investor in Plastic2Oil (PTOI) as a company that showed the ability to convert large amounts of plastics into ultra low sulfur fuel among other fuel types.
Concerns for processed foods and overall health of the baby boomers has them rushing to grow their own gardens. Events such as COVID virus have made them even more conscious of possibly emptying store shelves and vulnerability based on dependence on outside sources for food.
Downsizing, living a minimalist life, tiny houses, digital nomads are all influences that have us ridding ourselves of the heavy burden of buying and hoarding unused items.
The concepts of solar power for off-grid and other methods of independence from utilities have had a huge jump in popularity.
Thrift store shopping and Dollar Tree and Dollar General stores have now replaced places like Target and Walmart.
As well, many people are afraid of needing others to get things fixed and are learning simple home plumbing, carpentry, and acquiring chickens as pets and sources of eggs and fertilizer.
Here's ways that people are simplifying -
Getting rid of cable TV/satellite dish. Many are realizing that without the desire to stay glued to the news and shows popping up on streaming fast, they can watch the old shows they missed on streaming channels using a Roku or smart TV and never feel they are missing out. No more paying for channels you don't want and a cable box and other fees.
Leaving mainstream media. As news isn't giving all the information any longer, but filtered and edited versions of the world and local events, people are rushing away from the influences of journalists who are now panderers of political agendas. Newspapers had died. Magazines are dying. Online info retrieval is the new norm and consumers aren't stuck having to listened to biased info, but can find channels that just report facts like the old Walter Cronkite days.
I admit, for me, I left news about 8 years ago and didn't miss it. Every day I had filled myself with who got shot, what building was raided, and political jabs. I felt as if the world had gone to hell. Without that going in between my ears each day, the world seems very kind and nice because my neighbors are generally good people and so my influences are on a local level.
Removing accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. that took up too much time in their day and too much frustration.
Growing kitchen gardens. Like WWII families, to be certain fresh produce is available during times when growing, shipping, and local stores might all have issues, it gives a sense of independence.
Stocking up on supplies. Soap, medicines, toilet paper, and such being stocked up from Dollar Tree stores, Dollar General stores, and coupon spending.
Downsizing possessions. These unnecessary items and overabundance are turning into donations or yard sales. This freedom of "stuff" feels not only liberating, but more mobile should you need to bug-out.
Simplifying bills. Bundling cell phones, getting rid of mani-pedi habits and hair dyeing appointments, washing one's own car, and finding cheaper mortgages and rents, are all part of reducing all the numerous bills and unnecessary charges. Many are no longer paying for things like Netflix of Amazon Prime to simply have a lot of little things that add up to big savings.
Buying clothing from thrift stores. Working from home has changed a lot of people's clothing needs to sweats and sporting clothing/workout clothes instead of work clothes. With less time out and about at restaurants and events, the desire to stay up to date and have new outfits changed drastically.
Going back to basics. There is a resurgence of using mason and glass jars to store kitchen items, bamboo tooth brushes, old-fashioned bar soap, coconut oil and shea butter for lotion, making homemade cleansers with white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon halves sprinkled with salt for scrubbing.
I admit that my conversion to natural homemade beauty products and glass containers, using wood complex brushes and bamboo tooth brushes, homemade skin lotion (I use coconut oil with vitamin C serum and tea tree oil), and powder (cornstarch and tea tree oil), have not only saved me a fortune on things I was told would make me shinier, prettier, cleaner, etc, I have also saved a ton of money. I find myself also purchasing only food items that come in glass instead of plastic containers so I can clean and reuse them. Items such as pickles, spaghetti sauce, and even spice jars make great reunsables.
The real take-away here is how clean my world feels. I don't have chemicals going down drains, on countertops, plastic leaching into my foods, and I never drink bottled water unless I'm on a trip and it's the only water offered. Having your water toted around in a hot truck with plastics leaching chemicals into what you drink - no thank you! It's bad enough we have to drink fluoride!
When you add up all the things I am not putting chemicals into, I have much less exposure in my body. And your biggest organ, your skin, should never had additives and chemicals rubbed into it.
It's time to consider where you can simplify?
Here's some ideas -
Reduce wardrobe to what you actually wear.
Simplify your outgoing bills - can you color your own hair? Do your own nails? Wash your own car? Mow your own lawn?
If you have a stay-at-home worker in the family, how about one less car? Or consider trading in for an economy car that you can easily bop around in cheaply.
Look into solar rules where you live and the costs. In the long run, this is independence, but also greatly reducing bills. If not, consider a good generator in case things go awry. Put solar lights outside so you aren't draining more energy. Get rid of cable boxes (they are the #2 drain on your electric bill after refrigerators).
Reduce your online craziness to just one social media site that gives you the most satisfaction. Go through your YouTube subscriptions and pare it down to the channels you actually watch.
Get books. Pick up the habit of reading, but try and make them hard copies instead of ebooks. Ebooks are just another kind of electronics and lights that wear your eyes down over time and sometimes make it hard to sleep before bed because the light in your optic nerves makes your body unable to realize it's nighttime and time to release the sleep-inducing melatonin.
Watch your electricity use. Why light up an entire house or a room you're not in? Set your water heater to go off during the night.
Get glass jars - they go super super cheap at thrift stores and Dollar Tree. Start putting things like rice, beans, oats, flour, and other items in them. Store leftovers in them. I use a small 4 oz jelly jar to put my homemade face lotion in (try Better Than Bouillon jars too - a great size for that). I use an old spice jar with its shaker top for my body powder which is cornstarch and some tea tree oil shaken up together. Sometimes, I add some essential oil to make it smell great.
Great items to have on hand for this lifestyle -
beeswax or soy wax pellets (candles. chapstick - wax, coconut oil, shea butter melted together with peppermint or lemon oil - refill old chapstick containers or put in a small pot jar)
shea butter (this is a super good protection for the skin and foot lotion)
coconut oil (toothpaste - mix with peppermint oil and a dash or two of baking soda - not too much or it will wear your enamel down. lotion - use it as is for lotion or add things like hyaluronic acid, vitamin c serum, vitamin e capsule liquid, tea tree oil.
white vinegar (I mix with tons of pine needles in a jar until it smells very pine-like and use as a counter cleaner and window cleaner)
baking soda (abrasive cleanser)
essential oils (lemon, pine, peppermint are key ones)
epsom salts (add your essential oils for the best bath ever)
castille soap (the basis of laundry soaps and soap making endeavors at home)
Fels Naptha Soap. This fantastic bar can be rubbed onto stains, grated and put into the laundry and other soap-making. Very natural and amazing smelling.
Hydrogen Peroxide. This is a super winner as it is antibacterial and safe to use around the house and cleaning. Add half cup to gallon water.
Borax. That infamous mule-team cleaner is a natural and effective cleanser.
The process of simplifying seems complicated, but it's little things over time. Once you eliminate too much time spent online for entertainment and your life is simpler, you find yourself picking up old hobbies and new passions.
I paint more and garden more, cook meals from scratch, and read books. I even do something unheard of before - take the occasional nap.