Saturday, March 22, 2008

Keys Disease - redefined

OK, so I've been thinking a lot lately about Keys Disease. I mean all this time I thought I knew what it was, but I've been wrong - or at least I've found another definition of it.

Living down here means living where other people come every day to vacation, to get away from their reality, to lose their inhibitions. That sounds great - until you realize that as a resident, you have to put that mentality aside and try to earn a living. Every day, every night, temptations are everywhere. Somewhere between work and home you will drive past a tiki bar or a beach - or both. If you allow yourself to be seduced by the music or drinks or bikinis, you can quickly find yourself out of work.

Around every corner, under every bridge, there is a homeless person - a human testimony, reminding you of what can happen if you don't keep your blinders on. So, I assumed that Keys Disease was the affliction that one succumbs to when one is unable to resist the endless temptations. The resulting condition that you see in the man pictured at the top of this post, a man who calls himself Josey Wales. No home, no job, and drunk. Keys Disease.

However, I'm coming to terms with a deeper version, or perhaps just a missing link between John Doe and Josey Wales. Lately I find myself thinking about every single decision I make as though my entire future depends on it. I find myself looking at every one of my possessions, wondering if I really need it or not. Since the answer more often than not is 'no', I feel that I'm getting one step closer to freedom.

Is this thing a necessity, or a burden?

To be wealthy is not to have more, it is to need less. Freedom is having less stuff.

Not very long ago, I was living in a big house on a golf course, had a great job with excellent pay and security, and I considered myself wealthy. I made the decision to walk away, leaving all that behind to be where I've always wanted to be. Today, I'm making a lot less money and have a lot less stuff. And I'm preparing to make even less money, and have even less stuff. And I've never felt wealthier.

I'm not the first person to make that leap. Not nearly - the Keys are full of people that did/are doing the same thing.

Keys Disease. It's scary powerful. Josey Wales has it. So do I.

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