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Thread: Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed page

  1. #1
    quikky's Avatar
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    Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

    Primal Fuel
    I recently came across an interesting article regarding the modern American lifestyle:

    Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

    Curious what people's thoughts are.

  2. #2
    LauraSB's Avatar
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    That's really depressing. And probably true.
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    This is a big deal for me. I am unemployed and can't find anything better than $8.00 per hour part-time in my area. (I have a B.S. in chem and bio). I have done the two part-time job thing, with irregular hours. I have three kids in school, and my weekends are precious to me. Worth way more than 8.00 per hour.

    It's a huge struggle, but worth it for now. I hike, bike and kayak when I want to. I take time to make good food for myself and my family. I think very carefully about what I buy. I gave up homeowner's insurance. I pay out of pocket for medical care.
    Back in the day when I was married and my husband made good money, our kids attended private schools, we took occasional vacations, had good health insurance, etc. But right now I am happier and healthier than I have ever been.

    I would love to work at a rewarding job, and that is my goal. I don't even need to make very much money doing it. But it has to be satisfying on some level (not boring). I interviewed recently for a full-time office job. It was in a nice family-run business with lots of work but a casual atmosphere (the owner brought her two dogs to the office every day). The only catch was that they wanted you to work ten hours per day, and eat lunch at your desk (they provided lunch daily). I never found out what the pay was, and I wasn't offered the job. I won't be slave until I'm truly desperate.
    As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.

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    I read that a while ago. He has a good blog.

    The only disagreement I have is that when I work 40 hours a week I don't have much time for spending money, so I'm not contributing all that much to the economy. It's my hope I can buy my way out of the rat race someday so I mostly just save my money.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Heaviest squat: 180 x 2. Heaviest Deadlift: 230 x 2

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    AMonkey's Avatar
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    Yeah, I find it depressing. As a teenager I was very much; "I'll never be a corporate drone, working long hours in a career I hate!". While I'm not exactly working in a job I hate, I am working long hours. Singapore work hours are 8:30 am to 6 pm. This typically means when I leave the house the sun is rising, I work inside all day, and leave when the sun is setting. The only time I can hang out with friends, family and my partner during the day is on weekends. Sometimes I'll go to the park and read a book during my lunch break, but I almost feel like I'm breaking an implicit rule; "What, you mean you aren't in the office working all day?!". Of course colleagues regularly take breaks to talk to each other, but going outside to read seems to be breaking corporate culture.

    I really have no idea what the solution is. Is there any industry when you don't have to work 5 days a week, from morning till evening?

    Money/spending wise I'm okay though. I'm earning around $1000 USD a month as an intern, though I don't pay rent and my grandma supplies most of the food. Most of my money goes to food and entertainment which I'm happy with and my largest single spending is on martial arts (around 1/6th). My lifestyle is great, and I rarely spend carelessly, for instance most of my clothes are 6 months or older. So at the very least I'm not living to spend.
    Last edited by AMonkey; 11-05-2013 at 09:20 PM.
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    Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

    Doesn't have to be depressing if you love your job. I switched from science/engineering to fashion to patent law because I wanted something that sustains me internally, not just pay the bills. Now I am in law school and doing fashion on the side and I look forward to doing law & fashion concurrently when I graduate. I will be working weekends too because I will be doing a demanding career (wayyy more than 40hrs/week) and a side job at the time but I want that!! I only need a tiny bit of time to lift weights 2-3x a week... And sleep time. I can tell I will love the people at my law firm already, and I love my fashion people for when I am sick of talking law.


    Ps. I spend my money on more classes (dance, sewing, art, cooking...) and traveling.



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  7. #7
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    His post makes some very valid points. The designing of the over consumerism society we have in the West is not by accident, it was carefully designed.

    Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
    When you step outside of your culture, the USA in my case, you realize just how well designed the system is. If you read the "Story of Stuff", it goes into pretty good detail about how we have gone from a culture of buying high-quality goods to disposable junk that breaks in 6 months.

    Just as an example, when I was growing up my mom had a blender that, I think, she still has. It easily lasted and worked for 20 years. What the blender companies figured out was that if you made a blender that lasted 20 years you sold one blender per family every 20 years. If your blender only lasted 2 years, you, in theory, would increase your sales 10 fold. Planned obsolescence.

    Then you have perceived obsolescence most commonly seen in the fashion industry who convinces people to buy the latest, greatest fashion every few months.

    Technological obsolescence is remarkable. Take Microsoft Windows as an example. You make a flawed product, people buy your flawed product and then next year, you come up with a new version of your product that fixes (some) of the flaws in the previous version and people buy it again.

    We have gone from old, heavy phones that lasted forever to cell phones that are obsolete almost as soon as you figure out how to use them.

    But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public.
    There is no such thing as an 8 hour workday unless you work from home and walk to your office at 8 am and leave your office at 4 pm. Most people lose an hour getting ready to go to work, in Houston as much as 1.5 hours to get to work and an additional 1.5 hours to get home. Add in an hour lunch break and you are talking as much as 13 hours all total, dedicated to the 8 hours you actually spend in the office. No wonder people go through the drive-through for dinner instead of fixing a healthy meal from scratch.

    By the time you reach your weekend, as much as 65 hours out of the previous 5 days has been getting ready, getting to and actually working at an "8 hour" job.

    No sleep, crappy food, sitting on their asses all day long, stressing out over their job, family and finances, etc. and then they wonder why they are sick!

    Our culture spends too much time working and consuming and not enough time actually enjoying life. By design or by accident, the end results has been the same.
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    Brian Eno put it best -- "stuff is a way to turn money into problems".

    You can work, make money, but buy nothing. On developed world salaries you can retire by 40 easy, and then work whenever you feel like it. On the other hand if you follow the rules (plasma tv, car, diamond ring, 2.5 kids) you're enslaved for life.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMonkey View Post
    I really have no idea what the solution is. Is there any industry when you don't have to work 5 days a week, from morning till evening?
    As intern you're going to have to work like a dog, that's the nature of it, but it can get easier. If you've picked a profession you are truly good at, acquire 10yrs experience in that profession, and in addition acquire the leverage of no longer requiring money -- then you can do just about whatever you want. It's just that most people don't actually exercise that freedom.

    Now in my experience there's a huge nuts factor involved here! There are actually no physical bonds forcing people to behave in a robotic manner. Hell, I go into the office no more than once or twice a week, twice only if I feel like it. If it gets lame, I'm out for the day dammit. This morning 6x6 squats, hit the office for a few meetings, split by noon to go cook a salmon steak w/ grass fed butter at my home office, just sat around doing nothing the rest the day.

    My philosophy -- anyone who has a problem with the way I do things ought to go take a meditation break and stop trying to control people. There is a moment of shock people go thru when they realize you won't follow "the rules". At that point they either 1) give up, or more likely 2) attempt to use social pressure to get you to follow the rules. When that fails they either 3) give up for real, or 4) fire you. If you're good at what you do they usually give up.

    The battle of wills only happens once in my experience, once they submit, you've won.

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    What I found really interesting about the article is the connection between lack of relaxation and free time. I myself notice that when it is the typical evening/weekday, it is sometimes harder to just relax and do whatever because you feel like there's some pressure to do more than that due to the limited free time.

    "Oh, it's the weekend, I have to do stuff!"

    I never realized that it is precisely because free time is so limited that when you do get it, you feel some pressure to make the most of it.

    Money-wise, I am on the same page as some of you, especially KimchiNinja. If you have a decent salary, you can eventually buy your freedom. The hardest part for most people is delayed gratification, i.e. not spending for tomorrow, and the inability to understand compound interest. Luckily, I've realized this soon after getting my first "real" job, and have been saving and investing very aggressively. It also helps that I am the type of person that doesn't spend much at all, but when I do, I prefer to get high quality items.

    Speaking of investing, the paleo/MDA equivalent for me has been the Bogleheads.org forum. It's like the the gluten-free version of investing. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in that kind of stuff.

    The other interesting thing is frequently people think that saving a lot means you're depriving yourself. To me, I feel the opposite. The more I save, the more free I feel. The fewer things I buy, the less they own me. It's like with houses/mortgages, do you own the house, or does it own you? The more you spend and own, the more you have to keep spending/earning. The sad part, it never really makes anyone content.

    In any case, keep the responses coming!

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