Sunday, September 7, 2008

Affluence attacks suburbia!

An alien has landed! It's taking taking root across our society! I used to think I was the only one who thought living lighter was affluent. But, I see the aliens. They walk among us. There are APLS everywhere and I bet their world looks a little like mine...

photo: ****b/c**** on Flickr

My grass is brown. We don't water it or even have a sprinkler system.

My laundry hangs outside, draped willy-nilly on racks, thrown over patio furniture and hangs from umbrella frames

My children wear thrift store duds, often found with tags still attached and quite often brand name.

We host garage sales, sell and buy used items on craigslist and have been known to Freecycle.

We don't buy juice boxes, Gatorades, ice cream bars, Popsicles, cookies, waffles or pancakes.
We don't drive big, fancy cars or SUVs.

I don't have a housekeeper, landscaper or dog-walker.

I can't remember the last time I had a Starbucks, went to the mall or ordered fast food.

And the list goes on... We walk to the corner store. We turn the tap off when we brush our teeth. We pour leftover boiling canning water over the weeds in our driveway. We are an affluent family.

To many in suburbia, this is truly a strange and unusual concept. I must be an alien to consider myself affluent. Isn't going without all the conveniences and comforts available today a signal of hardship, low-income or thrift? So, in the midst of all of the suburban drones, how does one alien living lighter, when she could afford more, still define herself as affluent when others describe her lifestyle as just the opposite?

Why? I have the luxury to choose my lifestyle. It's as simple as that. I am privileged to have education, an income and career. I am blessed to have options. I am lucky to have multiple sources for food I deem healthy and nutritious to feed my family. I have electricity, running water, comfortable clothing, top-notch doctors and hospitals, an excellent school system and most of all - four healthy children. I am most certainly not going without and isn't it my responsibility to spread my affluence around?

I choose to continue to educate myself and my family. I choose to conserve the resources that we have so others may have a little more. I choose to go the extra mile to support my local farmer and buy his eggs, produce and meat so that not only I can feed my family a healthy meal, but he can feed his family a healthy meal. I choose to educate others, volunteering to share my knowledge with schools, our government and my family. I am an affluent alien walking this planet, attempting to infect the world with my thoughts on lighter living.

As an APLS who once thought she was the only affluent alien living lighter, I welcome all of the APLS to suburbia. I see more of you aliens every day. Hanging out laundry, walking to the store, buying farmer's market produce and most importantly - influencing others. Affluence is catching! It's attacking suburbia! It's not long until affluent aliens take over the planet. Welcome to earth, APLS, we're thankful you're here.
Have you been infected by the lighter living affluents? If you have, join us in the APLS bushel basket. You'll find many of your kind, and like me, you'll find some right in your own neighborhood!

This is my post submitted to the September APLS Carnival. If you want to submit your thoughts, however alien and strange they may be, to the APLS Carnival, please hurry! The mother ship departs on September 10th, so get on over to the APLS blog for more info.


Alana said...

I love it!
It's a great idea that living simpler and "without" is a token of our affluence. Although some think that out ability to buy green is proof of affluence.
Great post!

Green Bean said...

What! And not one reference to E.T. He had Eliot ride a bicycle into the sky - remember?

Love it! "The luxury to choose our lifestyle" - that's a big one. And we are all lucky to have it.

Bobbi said...

Influence...role model. I love it. Spread the word. Be fearless.

Rjs said...

Great post. I completely agree that part of the responsibilities of being "affluent"/able to support oneself is that you have to help lift others up when you can. That may be as simple as a food pantry donation, helping support a local farmer or business or simply taking care of resources for the next generation.

MamaBird said...

Ah, lovable alien. Great post and I love that you choose to educate/help out others. What else could true affluence be? You know, my mom's cousin this summer commented that this (being green, living simply, in affluence) was our (my and her daughter's) religion. Not so far off...

greeen sheeep said...

Love the alien reference! My family often thinks I am an alien when I come up with some new idea on how to live lighter.

"Who are you and where did you come from?"

Anonymous said...

"I have the luxury to choose my lifestyle."

Yep. Green Bean already quoted it, but I have to do it again. That's it, totally, in one sentence.