Recently, I got a mail from my colleague, Chris, who retired a couple of years ago. Once, I met him at the grocery store and we discussed frugality. Though he didn’t open up much, he sent me an email a week later. He says:
“Quite often, I feel frugality is detaching me from the society. And every night, started this since past couple of weeks, I ask my self “Is frugality depleting my social life?” With days, I find myself not being interested in the mainstream society. I have disconnected my TV cable, so I can’t really tell if who won the American Idol, or is it still on. Daily headlines, too, is just a glance on the internet. So, I don’t know much beyond the headline. I don’t eat out much, though I have perfected cooking, I haven’t had a look at the local menus since many months. I don’t remember what they offer.
On the positive side, I have learnt to fix up many things. Not going out much and not spending hours switching TV channels saves a lot of time that I utilize to learn new things. If I don’t know how to cook a dish, I search the recipe on the internet and cook it. After a couple of tries, it’s edible.
Every night, therefore, I content myself with a calm answer – I am not depended much on the society for my needs, though there are something’s that I will have to procure from the market forever.
I do go to malls and cinema theaters, when my budget permits that is. However, I don’t really enjoy out there – the fast pace, the glimmer, the commotion; it’s better at home. Having lived simply for so many years has transformed me into a quiet man, and there is nothing much outside that appeals me.
Hence, coming at a conclusion every night, I have come to believe, detaching from the society, though not completely, is a good thing. If I am not depended much on the outside people for pleasure, entertainment, and pastime activities, I am less affected with its changes. And I am saving money too. If the economy collapses, or there is a natural calamity, I can do most of my things. If my phone line, or internet is disconnected for a while, or for few days, I am not disappointed.
Though this is definitely reducing the number of friends and acquaintance I used to have, I am finding myself being drawn by a different category of people these days – the frugal ones like me. I have started respecting and befriending people who believe in budgeting, reusing, borrowing, bartering, etc. So, I can say, I am not really being cut off by the society, I have found a ‘niche’ to be with and with whom I can share similar thoughts and actions.
I hope you will be a part of my society.”
I read his email over and over again. In the society where we all are striving to learn a few frugal-living techniques, Chris has attained perfection. Yet, he is simple. Though I haven’t created such a ‘niche’ society yet, I definitely feel he is a good (frugal-est) friend to be with.