Attitudes toward money, work, things, schedules, time, focus, fears, goals, relationships, needs, wants and even government all change….just to name a few.
Money, of course, is money…..uber important stuff. But, out here it morphs into something less important. It changes in your head. Money is no longer the reason for all things. Money becomes an ancillary issue at best. Money is no longer #1 on your mental hit parade. People do not talk about real estate values, for instance. Ever.
Hell, they do not even talk about the price of fuel which you would think would be on their minds. It’s not. “It is what it is.”
The main reason for all that is simple: you are no longer – for the most part – engaged in the workforce. And the language of the workforce is money. Of course, we are all still somewhat engaged in it but even the most entrepreneurial OTG’er can’t put in a full day chasing the almighty buck. Just ain’t enough customers, bucks or interest to make that happen out here on a daily basis. Slowly your mind shifts from money-hunting and saving and spending to other things – issues requiring filthy lucre looming up maybe only once every two weeks at most. Most of the time you are thinking about employing some ingenuity to a weird OTG problem that money just can’t solve.
Seriously, when the main topic of your old modern life fails to come up in thinking or discussion for at least two weeks, it diminishes as a topic in your own consciousness. Most people out here not only don’t wear a watch, they don’t carry a wallet! You are no longer thinking every half hour, “Geez, parking just went up!” Or, “Sheesh, I gotta get a raise or something…I can’t make ends meet” Or, “Jeez, I could go for a Starbuck’s coffee!” All those constant ‘consumer’ reminders keep money at the forefront of your consciousness. When they go, the topic fades.
There are many other reasons, too. No stores helps keeps the issue at bay. Fewer wants. No peer group pressure. Advertising non existent. Slowly but surely, the cost of things becomes a non-topic. When that happens, money becomes less of a focus.
It’s conventional attitudinal determinism, actually. Researchers find that drug addicts are more addicted when hanging out with other addicts. Surround them with people who do NOT talk, think and pursue drugs and the addict spends less time on their cravings. And the cravings diminish. In that sense, the modern state of consciousness regarding money is an addiction. And, with time, it an addiction/fixation/topic-of-concern we eventually have less than our urban cousins.
Work is another thing. Maybe because there is no competition out here, any workers for hire do not negotiate. Nor will they quote. And, if they do, it means little. “Well, things changed, eh? I had to go up north for a week and that meant my neighbour’s wood supply dried up and so I had to go down the road to another guy and that meant hiring a truck and the other guy charged more for the wood so the price I quoted changed from $1000.00 to $1100.”
But it is more than just that. People who might seem to need the work (they are poor) and have a mill and have some logs most often don’t want to make lumber. “Well, it’s kinda wet out and I have mostly fir in the yard. You can use Hemlock for studs. Plus I need a part for the machine so I may not get to milling til next summer.”
There are maybe ten small mills out here and it takes a while to find one that is even thinking about working. And that’s because ‘work’ is no longer customer or schedule-driven. Work is not 9 to 5. Work is now driven by immediate needs or boredom. “Well, can’t do any milling right now. Gotta fix the roof on the chicken coop and put in the garden. But, later, I can maybe fire it up. I get kinda bored if I don’t do some millin’, ya know. Just don’t know when.”
I still have the remnants of city work habits. If someone comes for something, I get it done within a day or so. Often they are surprised. “Wow, Dave, you wrote that contract up in a day? Man, that’s great. Sheesh, I don’t need it for a month or so. Can I leave it with you for a bit. Wife and I going to Saskatchewan for a wedding.”
“No problem. But I thought you needed it right away?”
“I do. Right after the wedding. And, after I put in the garden.”