The Good Life Is Coming Soon

Did you know that in our town you can buy the good life if you just fork out $155,000 for land, and a lot more for a home built on it?

If you believe the billboard on the wall of our local shopping centre, then the good life is as simple as a massive mortgage and a nuclear family, and is always coming soon.  It makes me laugh.  This to me subtlety implies that you will not achieve this ‘nirvana state’ without buying their product.

It sounds a bit delusional of them to me, because I believe that I live the good life, and it is not coming soon nor as expensive as they claim.  It is here and it is now.  You don’t need to buy much at all to have a good life.

The good life, in my mind, has two meanings, depending on your point of view.  It could be one that our peer pressure consumer society expects you to conform with, which is one where you buy everything you need from others.  I don’t think that having lots of debt does not give one a good life.  I know that it made me miserable in the past.

Or it could be the meaning that I now subscribe to, which is one of the producer/consumer, whereby we try to grow a fair bit of our own food, cook it, and store it for later on in the year.  Our good life includes making things myself, which gives me immense satisfaction and a sense of pride in a job well done.

So don’t believe every billboard you see, because you can have the good life where you are living right now!  You don’t need a big block of land to make a go of a sustainable lifestyle.  I have found that by using space wisely, you can fit in a lot of great things without making it look like a disaster zone.

How have you tried to live the good life where you live now?

Comments

  1. says

    I have the very best of lives (and I remember to be grateful for it every day!) We live in a homebuilt house originally constructed in the late 80’s, to move-in stage (with 2 little kids) for $5000, on land in a community bought in the early 80’s for $5000. Of course back then, $5000 was a lot of money, but not so much we needed a mortgage. We lived in a caravan for a few years and built as we could afford it. And of course “move in stage” was a long way short of completed! In fact the bathroom is still a work in progress. The house is small – 64 square metres plus verandahs, stud frame with sand-cement-sawdust in-fill providing cladding, lining and insulation in one, insulated iron roof, seconds hardwood floors. It’s not flash but I love it, and never having a mortgage has been a massive freedom.

    • says

      But it is yours Linda, that is what counts. Our home is small as well, but it does us, and is not a strain on the budget. I only have 3 more years before our mortgage is cleared, and then I will be free!

      Gav x

  2. says

    I think we do live the good life, but I think when I was younger I was probably drawn in by ads like this.I sometimes wish I could go back and build a simpler home..ads are bad for the brain.
    My thinking was better shaped as I got older and started reading books by Linda Woodrow and Jackie French .They helped me understand what the good life really was.
    Your post actually made me think about ads in general .I worry about the people who look at ads that say things like ‘permeate free milk ‘ and think that is a new thing and buy packaged food because it has a happy chicken or a beautiful farm on the packet, when in reality it is coming out of a factory farm/ or just a plain old factory.But…I guess that is a whole other topic.

    • says

      I too wish that I had have woken up from the consumer dream a lot earlier in life. It would have been a lot less heartache, and I would be totally debt free now.

      Anyone who has watched Food Inc will totally agree with the way our food is advertised to deceive the consumer. Milk comes from cartons, doesn’t it? ;D

      Gav

  3. Anonymous says

    We live in a small’ish’ house with 3 kids. With the kids growing there is the odd arguments between the kids for their own space. We have converted part of the garage for t.v./ craft etc. We are so lucky to be on 1200sqm. I walk outside amongst the ‘weeds’, chooks, lemon tree and I think I could never leave here. As I look outside the window, I can see 3 (huge)houses presently being built with no outside yard. It scares me to think these are death traps. Unless you are an Olympic highjumper over Colourbond, the residents in these homes may easily become trapped in a house fire.
    I have very dear friends on 20 acres, with housing developments sprouting up around their boundaries. They have been offered $$$ for their land….but this is their lives! Their local council has also showed them plans where a new road will be going right through their bedroom!! My heart breaks
    Sorry off topic

    • says

      Hi Anon, rant away. I agree that modern homes are not sustainable, and that people feel trapped both financially and literally do to a perceived lack of options.

      Gav

  4. says

    My first thought when I read this was that they were remaking the old British sitcom “The God Life” which both my husband Martin and I absolutely love. I’ll be devastated if they remake it (sacrilege!). Then when I read a bit more into it I smiled, as we have just bought our new home at auction today! YIPPEE! It’s not even close to being flash and does need some work to be comfortably habitable (it still won’t look anything like a magazine ad) and it’s around 12 squares so it is a small house and a big downsize from our current house. BUT… It is on 1/2 acre which is going to be put to good use for my family, growing food, raising our chickens and providing as much of our organic life as we can in our own wonderful little haven, our own Good Life, just like Tom and Barbara Good. :oD

  5. says

    Hi Gavin

    Those ads make me laugh too and my boyfriend and I are always teasing the people on those billboards when we drive past.
    The sad thing with those new house and “land” packages is that you hardly get any land! 400sqm sometimes and the house takes up 300sqm! No room for growing anything, but I suppose for some people thats the appeal. A bigger rumpus room for watching tele is what some people prefer, but i think it is really sad.
    It is the governments fault though for encouraging people with grants/bonuses etc to buy in these areas far away from public transport, the shops etc.

    I just bought in Bacchus Marsh. 5 min walk to Main St, 5 min bike ride to the train station. The best bit is that I have 800sqm and only a very small house on it. I will be spending A LOT of time outdoors with my chooks and veges.

    P.s. LOVE the blog, keep up the good work and I will see you on Sustainable House Day (am bringing my brother who has built a crazy-good vege patch in my parents garden in Melton)

  6. says

    I love that old show – in North America it was retitled “Good Neighbours” – no idea why.

    I think it was in Bill McKibben’s “Deep Economy” where I first read statistics from research about what makes people happy. While deep poverty is obviously not a happy place for anyone, after basics are covered, globally, happiness ratings are not hugely affected by financial wealth – and in fact, the very wealthy often score quite poorly for happiness. Which is all to say that it’s been proven that in fact you can’t buy happiness.

    In fact Deep Economy is a great read if you’re concerned about consumerism. He really delves into how we ever came to buy into the idea that we could buy our way to happiness, and he shows the environmental expense involved. Bill McKibben has another great little book “Hundred Dollar Holiday” which explores how to decommercialize this huge consumer extravaganza.

    And yes, I think you DO live the good life, Gavin!

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