I think if you adopt an ascetic lifestyle, you can live the best life possible, with the least amount of stress, and the maximum amount of personal freedom, joy, and artistic productivity:
Tomorrow is Never:
We often delay our personal happiness for the distant future. We think that once we have the ideal circumstances in life, then we can “finally” live.
We think about retirement, and we plan future trips. But why do we never prioritize our personal happiness for today?
The upside of growing up poor
The interesting upside of growing up poor is this:
You live more for today; you don’t really think too much for the future.
Now, this is good, because it makes you less afraid of the future, because (already, right now) you’re living in poverty, and to be frank — living poor ain’t THAT bad. Obviously it is stressful and such, but for me, growing up poor was more of a blessing. I learned that money wasn’t the secret to happiness (because I was quite happy growing up, even though I was poor! I had fun with my friends, my extracurricular activities, fixing up my car, and being social).
Don’t be too prudent
It is seen as “moral excellence” to save a lot of money for the (scary) unforeseen future. In fact, I think most of modern science and insurance is engineered to MINIMIZE risk, randomness, and chance as much as possible.
Now the downside of growing up poor is that you don’t save money. First of all, you’re living month to month. Secondly, if you do gain some extra money, you don’t delay on spending that money — because who knows, you might not have that money anymore in the future.
I think there must be a “golden mean” between being too frugal and saving money, and not just spending all your money.
A rich ascetic lifestyle
This is my thought:
Enjoy the pleasures of an ascetic life, but if you need certain tools and equipment in life for your artwork, don’t feel guilty spending money on it.
If you adopt an ascetic lifestyle, you will have a lot of money in the bank (in case you need it). You’re less stressed about finances, because you know you can live on very little. Furthermore when you actually do end up spending money, it causes you no mental or negative conscience pangs!
I know growing up poor, this sucked:
Every time you spent money (eating out, buying stuff, anything)— you felt the pain of spending money.
Now when I spend money, it doesn’t hurt me. I feel no pain when spending money. This is generally because I am a bit of a perfectionist with the stuff I like to buy.
For example, I wear the same clothes everyday (all black everything) but I demand the best quality (merino wool). For my shoes I have expensive Nike sneakers. For my laptop I have a maxed out (refurbished) MacBook Pro 13’’. For my tablet I have an iPad Pro. I like powerful tools and things, but I don’t buy stuff for the sake of it. I only buy things when I actually need them —- and when I do buy stuff, I make sure it is the best (ideally I would only own one of anything).
Don’t plan for the future
This is my idea:
Embrace an aesthetic lifestyle and live your personal life to the maximum, right now!
This is interesting because:
- You’re inevitably going to save up money in your bank account, because naturally living a more ascetic lifestyle means your expenses will be insanely low.
- You’re going to live with less fear, because you know you don’t need much to live a fulfilling life on little money.
- You won’t delay your happiness — thinking that retirement, buying stuff, or even travel will bring you eternal bliss/happiness (nothing will)
Consider we live in a society with extreme abundance.
We can eat like kings for not much money. We have access to unlimited and practically free entertainment. We have the power of photography to transform our everyday reality, by discovering more beauty in the mundane all around us. And if you really want to escape reality, there’s always virtual reality (Oculus Rift).
Even our tools, devices, cars aren’t that expensive (if you avoid purchasing expensive luxury ones).
Make art right now, today!
It seems that rather than saving up money to buy that new thing that you think will make you “happy”, better to save your money (and mental thinking space) to make great art with the tools you already got!
Make art for today, not for tomorrow.