So, a while back a friend said she could finally afford to buy that bohemian coat she wanted. The use of the word “bohemian” spurred memories. I’ve considered myself a bohemian ever since my aunt gave me a turquoise & silver ring when I was seven. My aunt lived the bohemian lifestyle and getting that ring from her, in my simple-kid mind, meant I was in the club. My contributions to the movement were growing out my long straight black hair, wearing a bandana when I mowed the lawn and, as often as possible, sit on our couch in an incorrect manner.
Before the pale blues and mauves of the ’80s made their appearance into my childhood, I was surrounded by beatnik leftovers from my parent’s first home; my mother’s early ’60s style contrasted with her sister’s ’70s experience melting together into a sweet avocado green. Of course, I had no idea what either of those lifestyles was about! Our living room was crowned by a 3-foot round metal, astrological chart wheel hanging above a black and white leopard print flop couch, adjacent to a row of mahogany stained bookshelves and dad’s tobacco pipe cady. In my room, Barbie was living clean in her shoebox and lego “Dream House”. Literature in the home included encyclopedias, LIFE Book collections, sci-fi books and poetry by Kahlil Gibran. Music was predominately 60’s jazz albums, Bill Cosby, Helen Reddy, and Carole King.
But it wasn’t my stuff, it was the life and home that my parents built for us. It was warm and happy. As an adult, how do I recreate a modern art of living? Somewhere along the way, I lost it. I need to get out of survival mode and find my faux-bohemian again.
Turn those dreams of the high retired life down a couple notches. First, be honest with yourself. Instead of a dream retirement cabin on the lake, you can be just as happy in a studio apartment that’s 30-minutes away from a lake. Just visit the lake. You don’t need the whole lake. This isn’t the 50’s. No lake for you.
The west coast of Washington and Oregon offer a high quality of life, clean air, water including water in the shape of lakes that we can all visit. In WA we have all four seasons, mild winters, besides the scratchy track of volcanoes down the middle of the Cascades, we’re doing alright…except for the cost of living. According to the site costofliving.net the cost of living in Washington is higher than the national average. They report,
“Our cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means Washington is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Washington, Washington is more expensive. Washington’s cost of living is 118.7. Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference. The median home price in Washington is $381,300.”
How do you add quality to your life on a tight budget? Of course, defining “quality” is person-specific. In this economy, in this city, I am trying to live a good life but I feel like most efforts bring me down, and I am starting to take it personally. This American Life has it out for me. I pissed it off somewhere along the line and it’s not giving me anything, no living income, no happily ever after, no satisfaction except in a sunrise, no joy but in my neighbors blooming trees, no love but when that orange cat comes by and rubs its cheek against my doorway, no peace but the ocean that tells me it’s always there—it goes out, but it will come back, it always comes back. No glory but a rainbow around the moon and my childhood friend the Big Dipper and Orion chasing each other in the sky. The world is a big and resourceful place if you are a tiny red ant working with a million other clones. It’s all about perspective.