Secrets about Living Simple for Guys

Disclaimer: I am a guy. I am also just a human being so anything said here is not meant to offend, it’s just my own perspective on things.

1. Working in a garden makes you feel just as manly as working on a car. 

When I started a vegetable garden I was a little worried what people would think. “Seems kind of domestic” one person told me. I guess that was code for “feminine” and I wasn’t really sure how that was a bad thing. I wanted to do something that no one in my family had done for at least a generation: grow at least some percentage of my own food from seed to table.

To do this I built some raised garden beds, which meant getting and sawing lumber to measurement, using power tools, getting sweaty. I had to haul in some soil and compost, pull weeds, learn about plants and insects, temperature zones and seasons. It’s basically farming on a mini-scale. For somebody that has spent most of their adult life behind a desk, this has been life-changing. I can say with a certainty that I would rather spend any day out in the garden than doing most anything else. It’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.

I also discovered that it’s hard to find a pair of garden gloves that aren’t in some shade of pastel or have flowers on them so you’re on your own there.

2. You can stop spending so much money on clothes. No one cares.

Fancy suits, designer t-shirts, $200 shoes that will look like crap in a month. No one cares. Stop trying to impress other people with things that you bought instead of your character and quality. Choose a simple wardrobe that you’re comfortable with, that’s not going to fall apart in a week, rotate a few items, keep your stuff clean. That’s it. If someone is judging you based on what brand you’re wearing, you need to hang out with different people.

I’ve always felt comfortable in a few simple monochromatic shirts, I don’t like to be a walking billboard. So I have a few shirts in white, gray, and black. I have a couple pairs of shorts that are comfortable; in white, gray, and black. I can fit it all in a suitcase. When I get up in the morning I don’t spend time trying to decide what would impress people, I just grab a shirt. That’s as much energy as you should be putting into wardrobe choices in the morning. Every decision you can remove from your daily routine will improve your focus and happiness.

I used to have several types of socks from different phases of buying new ones which increased laundry time by double from all the sock pair matching I was doing. I threw them all out and spent $20 on one kind of sock that I liked. Same thing with underwear. If some well-meaning relative gives me socks for a gift, I thank them honestly because some less fortunate person is about to get brand new socks because I’ll be donating them in a day.

3. You will never be rich and that’s okay

John Steinbeck said this about America, “The poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”  Tweet that!

This is the secret truth underneath so many of the decisions we make throughout our lives. We choose careers to buy houses, not to learn. We buy overpriced cheap Swedish furniture to “make do” for right now, until we can afford something bigger and better and brand name. Because one day we’ll be rich, right? We’re gonna hit it big. We’re going to write a bestseller or get promoted to VP or win the lottery and then we won’t have to worry about anything. Magic.

Except that the statistics say that you’re probably going to die within the same socioeconomic class into which you were born into. If anything, these days, you may drop a peg or two in income-earning status because all the money is flowing in one direction and unless you own your own personal helicopter, it’s not flowing in your direction.

Money will not buy you freedom and that’s what we all really want. Freedom is the result of options. You’re direction in life should be to increase your options, not your bank account.

You have options if:

  • you can quit your job at a moment’s notice and work for yourself.
  • you have increased your skills and knowledge on your own time and can find a new job relatively easily.
  • you are not tied to given place through a 30 year mortgage.
  • you do not have unbankruptable debt to the federal government for student loans.
  • you have whittled your possessions down to an easily-transportable amount.
  • you can earn income based on your unique value rather than your ability to perform a repetitious function. Get a job as a robot and they’ll replace you with an actual robot.
Increase your options in life and you will never need to have millions in the bank. 

4. Stop eating out and learn to cook. People like that.

Girls/guys, whatever your persuasion is, people dig people who can cook. Basically, if you’re single, cook a date a meal, you won’t be single long.

Cooking your own food is also healthier, cheaper, and tastier too. Even the fanciest restaurant you’ve been to in the past six months microwaves frozen appetizers and gets their “fresh” sauces from a can. It teaches you to be more aware of the stuff you put into your body and we’ve all eaten enough preservatives in our lifetimes to keep a can of spam good until the sun burns out. Food is meant to be eaten, not put in a museum.

So cook real food. But cook.

5. Failure is an option.

Stop being petrified of failure, you don’t have to be anymore. Failure is the only way we learn, success teaches nothing.

Recognizing and walking away bad situations are the best decisions you’ll ever make in your life.

  • Are you two years into a college degree program you no longer have any interest in? Drop out, save thousands. I didn’t and have been stuck paying off for a Bachelor’s degree what some people paid for Master’s degree. I should have just went to the library. 
  • Been working in a field that doesn’t do anything for you other than give you a place to go in the morning? Find another job. NOW. Before you spend the next 10 years doing it. When I moved to Nashville I took the first job that was offered. It was working for a prestigious technology company, I hated it, quit after 5 long months with nothing to transition to. I found a better job in a month.  
  • Started a project you were excited about only to realize you only enjoyed the planning and not the actual work? Stop being ashamed of your change of heart and wipe the whole thing out and start on something else that interests you and can hold your attention.

Once you realize that you are not put on this planet to be a superstar at everything you touch, you’ll take away a lifetime of pressure. Stop holding yourself to the imaginary standards of the rest of the world. Most people should be happy if they can dress themselves and you do not exist to impress everyone, despite what Facebook says.

4 Responses to “Secrets about Living Simple for Guys

  • I'm not a guy, but I love this post. Lol! Great thoughts! Why did it take me so long to learn some of these things?

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    Just found your blog this morning and spent a few hours catching up on your posts. Inspiring!- had similar feelings, thoughts myself– been working on a few actions– no credit cards, just a house payment (we downsized!) and a car payment. We are a family of 4 and I'm in a Fortune 500 job that's so not where I'd really like to be. I'd rather be in the woodshop, garden or my own little version of Walden woods. I'll get there one day. Keep posting and keeping pursuing your dream of a simple life…. now I'm off to build a worm composter to add to my little backyard garden! Mel Bass

    • Thanks Mel! Sounds like you are a really great path. Woodshop? You and me both! Thanks for reading and keep me updated on your garden, it sounds great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *