Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Media Diet

Over the course of the last several months my wife and I have been on a personal quest to pare down our possessions, including our relatively extensive media collections of books, music, movies and magazines. We started by getting rid of our back issues of all the magazines we had subscribed to through the years and unsubscribed from the one print magazine we still got mailed to our home.

Maybe even more radically, we quit reading print newspapers in favor of electronic ones, quit buying print books in favor of electronic ones and quit buying music albums in favor of electronic ones. Besides digital media being cheaper to own, between my Kindle and iTouch I can carry my book and music libraries with me wherever I go, and my local library is a convenient resource for much free media, including books, music and movies.

Each year I chronicle what I call my Media Menu and halfway through this year I have read 16 books, attended two concerts, listened to four new albums, watched two movies at the theatre and viewed 12 videos online or via disc, all of which only cost me about $70 given my frequent visits to the public library. And about half that total is due to the couple of matinees my wife and I saw together.

Our efforts at simplifying our media lives extend to our use of social media as well. For example, we favor emailing to chatting, instant messaging or texting, we don’t activate comments on our blogs, and while we are professional members of LinkedIn we are not on any other social media sites, preferring instead to interact with real friends in real life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Lease on Life

By virtue of selling our home and the resulting debt-free lifestyle it has afforded us, my wife and I feel as if we have a new lease on life itself. Now that we have gotten untethered from a long-term mortgage we are now free to “move about the country,” as one airline’s commercial says. And it is not just leasing that allows us that luxury but also the downsizing we have done in anticipation of us getting to this point in our lives.

As I reflect upon the many changes we have experienced during the last several months perhaps none is greater than the fact that we have whittled our rather large library of books from more than 1,500 volumes to just 150! And for a couple that has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade, that is no small feat. As a professional editor, it was not uncommon for me to receive hundreds of books a year for several years.

Besides taming our book collection, we have limited ourselves to our favorite dozen or so DVD’s and are winnowing our CD collection down to a manageable size by ripping copies digitally. With our lease of a friend’s place we opted to cut the cable television completely as well as the landline telephone. Our prepaid cell phones continue to suffice and we enjoy simply watching videos on our friend’s flat screen television.

High-speed Internet connectivity is a necessity since I work from home and the service here is lightening fast so I am loving it. But once the day is done I have no trouble shutting it off to walk around the neighborhood lake with my wife or to take a spin together on our scooter. As a result of our healthier lifestyle, I am happy to report that both my wife and I have lost weight since moving here, and we don’t miss the television whatsoever!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our Unframed Journey

As I alluded to in my last post, about a month ago my wife and I cashed in one version of the American dream and traded it for another, one more closely aligned with our renewed vision for simplicity, liquidity and mobility. I am happy to report that the transition has gone very smoothly and we are blissfully ensconced in our new digs at the master planned community of Celebration, originally created by the Walt Disney Company.

While the unincorporated town was originally a tad too “Mickey Mouse” for our liking when we first visited it at its founding almost 15 years ago, it has since grown up and thus grown on us. We ended up here via the good graces of a friend who heads north for the latter half of the year and needed someone to house sit in his absence, thus resulting in a win-win all around.

Our move has allowed us to continue enjoying the Florida lifestyle with our convertible and scooter while getting us closer to such signs of civilization as the mall and the airport. On our very first night in town we ate at a local restaurant that featured a map on its menu of an “unframed journey,” which I thought perfectly captured the essence of what we’ve embarked upon.