# # The Necessary Year - Day 10: Why?

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

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The Necessary Year – Day 10: Why?


(this post is part of an aborted 1 year experiment in material abstinence I called The Necessary Year)


I thought I was pretty clear in my opening post and in the “About Me” portion of this blog, but obviously I wasn’t; too many people keep asking me the same question.

“Why are you doing this?”

Initially I was kind of amused and even a little annoyed by the question but, having to return again and again to that particular aspect of the subject has forced me to realize that I have myriad reasons for doing this, many of which I hadn’t thought of when I began – and I’m sure I’ll discover even more as I go along. I even find myself wandering off the track occasionally when explaining the purpose of The Necessary Year.

It is not, for example, a virtual hair-shirt that I am donning as a kind of penance for past sins as an over-consumer.

Here are a few of the reasons I can think of right now:

I want to learn to be better with my money. I’m not very good with money. As a kid I simply didn’t have any so, as an adult, I think I’ve tried to make up for that by blowing every last red cent I’ve received. I’ve always paid my bills on time but, thereafter, out the window went the beans. In recent years I’ve gotten better but …

I want to learn to appreciate the things I have – or get rid of them. I’m up to here in books, toys, music, movies, electronics, and other fun but, at its’ present quantity, very silly crap. I’ve gotten into such a buying habit that … it’s all about the hunt. I’m so busy being eager for other, newer things to arrive that I usually cannot find the time to enjoy the stuff I just got.

I want to get back to trying all the creative things that used to be my entertainment. I don’t create half as much as I used to because I’m too busy consuming the things others have created.

I’m a curious person who enjoys a challenge. I’m curious as to where my mind and habits will go if not consumed with the latest movie, music, book, etc. Will I just quit paying attention or will I find ways to get what I want without paying for it. Can you barter your way into a movie theater? I also see this as a bit of a social experiment – it is and will continue to be interesting to watch other’s reactions to my “bizarre” behavior.

I am aware of the poverty around the world and it sometimes makes me ill to be so damned spoiled. To think this experiment in any way expiates the potential guilt I speak of is an insult to the millions who suffer from the exact opposite of my little problem – but it makes me feel better about myself to cut back a little, you know? (hey – I thought I said this wasn’t about wearing a hair-shirt? – hmmm … )

It wouldn’t be terrible if I could turn this into a book of some kind. I’ve always liked writing yet I don’t always have many good ideas – could this be one?

Also, some folks have indicated that they feel personally challenged by what I am doing here – please do not feel this way. It is not my intent to cast a light of inquiry upon anyone’s behavior but my own. While I will occasionally hold certain of my culture’s practices up for ridicule, practices which you may find yourself happily engaged in, rest assured that I am but one man with one opinion and that my opinion, while perhaps strongly held, is but my own. I hold no other to it and openly admit that my perception may be faulty and/or fit only for myself.

Finally, The Necessary Year is only a year, not a life. This is, for the most part, but an experiment. While I do hope to come away from it with habits that I presently question changed for what I consider the better, I am certain that I will go back to some of the behavior I am presently curtailing – and happily so! And it’s not like I’m depriving myself of any (or at least many) of the pleasures I presently enjoy – I’m just not allowing myself to add to the pile.

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5 Responses to “The Necessary Year – Day 10: Why?”

  1. bacon ace says:

    I was speaking to my girlfriend about this blog two days ago and mentioned that I’d be surprised if this wasn’t published as a book after the year is complete.

  2. diablomonkey says:

    Hair shirt… thats an amazingly accurate analogy, heh. Wish I had the choice for a necessary year instead of a Mandatory one. Carry on Oh Hirstute One.

  3. cae says:

    Bacon Ace: here’s to hoping I can make the year interesting and relevant enough to qualify – thanks for the vote of confidence!

    diablomonkey: howzabout hairpants? Yikes! As to my choice to have a necessary year versus your sense of being caught in a mandatory one, I feel for you but remember that, while the sentence may be mandatory, the pity-party aint. Take a good look at what you can do to make the best of the situation and buck-up. I’ll see you on Saturday, bud.

  4. Ren says:

    I was thinkng the same about the book possibility. I look forward to the NPR interview.

    PS: No offense, but may I suggest ‘hair coveralls’?

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