Bad choices make good stories. I’ve got great stories.
I’ve sold the mud hut. True to my longtime buy-high, sell-low strategy, the monetary return was about ten cents for every dollar spent on the place.
Despite the low return on the enormous investment, I received more money for the property than I believed I would. Off-grid means unusual, which terrifies prospective buyers in a society based on conformity. And real-estate scammers abound, willing to do anything for a buck, even as human extinction looms.
As I learned long ago, my voluntary use of a gift economy is financially disastrous. In the current case, employing a gift economy unintentionally produced a similar, albeit expected, result.
Money isn’t everything. I lost the ability to be paid for my work, and a lot of relationships, too. My pursuit of radicalism proved costly and lonely. Living beyond the dominant paradigm is unusual, which terrifies colleagues and friends in a society based on conformity.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, long before the likely consequences of global dimming and abrupt climate change were understood. Whether or not it was “worth it” no longer matters.
Most of the homesteading tools, including wheelbarrows, a cider press, and a multitude of hand tools disappeared during my 21-month absence from the property. I left the remaining tools to the new owner. As part of the mud hut’s legacy, the tools belong on the property. “Takers” (sensu Daniel Quinn) will never understand such a concept.
After years of living well below the official definition of monetary poverty, I now have access to more money than I’ve spent on entertainment in the last decade (creating the relationship-destroying homestead in New Mexico might have been entertaining to you, but it wasn’t to me). Indeed, the payoff exceeds my annual salary when I worked less and partied more as an academician. It’s not as if this makes me wealthy, although I’ll need to change my lifestyle during my final 6-18 months to spend all the money in my bank account.
I still face a difficult decision. Now that selling the property has allowed me to pay my legal bills, I can continue to pursue justice against defamatory assholes or I can pursue pleasure during my final days. I’ve lived on so little, for so long, that my penultimate remaining days could be relatively luxurious, should I choose that route.
In any case, I’ll continue my life of leisure, pursuing work I enjoy in a place I love. I will continue to learn alongside intellectually curious guests who’ve not fallen prey to the dominant paradigm. That I’m gleefully surrounded by loving people is quite a welcome change from life in the American workplace.
Perhaps increased hedonism awaits me. Personal pleasure seems a reasonable pursuit compared to educating the disinterested masses or pursuing justice in an unjust society.
I’ve had a great and privileged run, despite my many errors. As a result, I’ve no serious complaints about my life (and many complaints, as you know, about the society of which I’m part). I’ve found my home, my tribe, and therefore my joy.