a life of luxury…

“If I had words to make a day for you
I’d sing you a morning golden and new
I would make this day last for all time
Give you a night deep in moon shine” – Scott Fitzgerald

Not ‘cos it’s your birthday or Christmas. Humbly… I would give you a gift of the art of time… wrapped in recycled brown paper and ribbon as is my fashion.

Why? Since we downshifted from paid work-city existence almost seven(!) years ago to follow our dream of living simply and creatively in a rural village we’ve come to appreciate more than we ever imagined how time is the currency underwriting our quality of life.

Time is our most valuable commodity, and it’s also the one most in demand.

We like to call this lifestyle of ours… Life Inc. because Fawlty Towers was already taken the logistics are akin to managing a boutique business, albeit unpaid in much other than garden produce, homemade food, satisfaction of a job well done, or just done at least… for the moment. Until tomorrow’s dirty clothes don’t wash themselves; and naked would scare the neighbours.

The G.O. and I work as a team and with a view to efficiency [aka marital harmony] undertake roles according to our respective areas of expertise although we cover off bits and pieces for each other like all good work colleagues do. During staff meetings we refer to it as collaboration… other more fraught times, meddling. Ahem.

More often than not our day-to-day isn’t nine to five. It took a few busy years for it to sink in we were our own boss and figure out how to be a good one. Hard to break lifetime habits of starting at sparrow fart and getting one last thing ticked off the list-that-never-ends as light fades from the day. We aim for life vs stop-and-smell-the-roses balance [we’ve planted plenty of roses to remind us to do this]. Sometimes we succeed. We don’t often sleep in until 9am or always knock off early for beers.

Our space may be small, but our scope is mighty. Harder to manage a way of life which more resembles herding cats than it does a routine. That is figurative felines rather than literal… Diesel-dog unfortunately hates cats and chases them directly.

Fortunately, nowadays we don’t need to remunerate ourselves. If we did, it would be impractical: rendering us even more impoverished, lacking both money and time. We wouldn’t be able to meet the expense of our fees unless we went out to work and earned wages to pay for inhouse services we provide.

Then we’d be right back pretty much how we were during our paid work-city years, devoting a good chunk of our time to someone else in exchange for a paycheck, working to live to pay bills and tossing cash at brief grabs for leisure. Time poor, all too often we’d say, “let’s just throw money at it”.

Did you know Australian slang for a twenty-dollar note is a lobster, while the fifty-dollar note is called a pineapple, and hundred-dollar notes are jolly green giants? I didn’t. Unlike pets, money never stayed around long enough for me to name it.

Without giving enough thought to the futile cycle we worked and spent and worked. We ate food other people grew and prepared, paid other people to do things we didn’t have time to do, bought stuff we needed for work so we could go to work to buy more stuff… we didn’t really need.

Don’t get me wrong. We did what we had to do. We could have done it better had we thought about it more. When we ceased paid work, our discretionary spending was immediately circumscribed although managing the budget changing circumstances and rising cost of living remain work-in-progress. Once we got to the position of being able to afford to have less money and more time, we figured out how to make time work for us more effectively than money ever did.

The greater cost of going out to work would be loss of our way-of-life. Thinking about the metaphorical hamster on a wheel does my head in, so as well as questions do we need it-can it wait, we ponder how many hours of paid work it would cost to buy/do a thing. Usually, our answer involves spending time rather than money.

These days, time doesn’t only support our hands-on approach and life style, it’s how we reward ourselves incentive bonuses which contribute extra quality… we go away for a day or a holiday and say, “let’s take our time” or “let’s go and have a look”. Life is short, and there were too many years prior when we didn’t.

However, our life remains real. One of the things I love most is not having to submit requests for annual leave or call in -cough cough- sick. Nevertheless, we need to work our absence around practicalities, and like that backlog of emails upon return from vacation to the office, once we arrive back home there’s no shortage of things that need mowing-weeding-washing-cleaning-fixing-cooking-attending to.

Every now and then we get visitors who greeted by a tidy house, verdant garden and homemade meal… comment along the lines of oh how I’d love to have a house-garden-life like this. My response unvarying: Start now. What you see has taken us years decades.

True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation. – Ashton Kutcher

Our life of luxury… as told by my September/October camera roll:

Evans Head Collage Sept 2022
September incentive bonus. Evans Head.
Stop and smell the roses. “In today’s life, Luxury is Time and Space.” ― Harmon Okinyo
Life Inc
Life Inc. Week to View.
Collage Garden Project Oct 2022
Upcycling project. “Maybe the happiest people in life don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.” ― Harmon Okinyo
Let there be light
“The materialistic view of happiness of our age starkly revealed in our understanding of the word “luxury.” ― Alain de Botton
Taylors Arm
The magic of returning the village after a holiday.
Life Balance
The reality of returning to the village after a holiday.
To do list
Kitchen-garden to do list.
Collage In my kitchen Sept Oct 2022
“Good food doesn’t mean fancy food, good friend doesn’t mean fancy friend, good life doesn’t mean fancy life.” ― Abhijit Naskar, Find A Cause Outside Yourself: Sermon of Sustainability
Hawks Nest Collage Oct 2022
October incentive bonus. Hawks Nest.
Rain = relax. “Time is a currency you can only spend once, so be careful how you spend it.” ― Harmon Okinyo

Postscript: As I was putting the finishing touches this morning to this post, I read and commented on my friend Celi’s latest blog post about her plan which has an objective “to create a resource for people who want to develop a home that aligns with their concerns for the welfare of the planet and its people. To enable discussion, conversation and support amongst likeminded people. To use minimalism to simplify our homes. To create an online hub to exchange ideas”.

It reminded me that I didn’t get to this point on my own.

A lot of people don’t know where to begin or how to build confidence and skills. That was me. Having likeminded friends to be there with you helps with that. I was fortunate more than a decade ago while I was living and working in the city to stumble into blogging, across Celi’s thekitchensgarden.blog and others who I call my “gurus”, and also have become friends. Some still have blogs, some are on Instagram, and some both. My “gurus” inspired and informed me during those city years while the G.O. and I worked towards our shift to the country and a simpler lifestyle, during those busy -now I’ve got it what do I do with it days years- after we moved, even while we did a road trip around Australia, and continue to keep me company every day along with an inspiring Instagram community who have gathered along the way. [Please don’t dismiss Instagram merely as an influencer platform… there’s great community among it. I think it should be called “Inspogram”; everyday Instagrammers share so generously. If you’re not sure where to start, follow me @daleleelife101 and check out the people who I follow/follow me.]

Blog links to my “gurus”:

Almost Italian


Around The Mulberry Tree

Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

Passion Fruit Garden

Tall Tales from Chiconia

The Kitchen’s Garden

20 thoughts on “a life of luxury…

  1. For me, time means being able to make or grow the things I couldn’t afford to buy even if I was working.
    If I was working, I couldn’t afford to eat as well as we do, buy a hand-made quilt, or that bunch of flowers, or that interesting garment.
    Staring at a computer screen or standing behind a counter, I’d miss the changing seasons, things growing, the antics of the chooks, fun with doggo, a chance to really look at things. Time is the ultimate luxury, not stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post and pictures of your garden and life. Thank you for the blog recommendation of the kitchen’s garden, I’ve signed up. I follow almost all of your “gurus” as well, wonderful bloggers. And I am so appreciative that you don’t have pop ups or ads in your blog. It makes reading it so much more of a enjoyable experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You and I have been in the same blog orbit for some time too. It’s lovely to have that continuity and familiarity. While I appreciate the free WordPress platform, some years ago I decided I wanted this space to be all mine and am happy to pay the small fee as I also prefer it without the ads over which I have no control.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the shout out, very appreciated…you may change your mind after my latest post today 😉 You are exactly right about time being the real luxury of life. A shame we don’t realise it a few decades earlier. I’m so glad I’ve been following you since before your transition to the village life. You have really done it well in all respects, no doubt due to it being a team effort. The longer we are married the more we understand how we complement each other and can therefor keep moving forward. Our differences inform each other and it is a rare thing to behold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are likeminded as usual even about tiny amphibian houseguests, the topic of your latest blog post. The mindset to appreciate such things is a good case in point. Your observation is astute, we couldn’t have managed this particular life without each other. We have common values but bring different ideas, approaches, experience and tools. I recently dreamed I was around the late teens age I left school. It was pleasant and fascinating but I awoke thinking I wouldn’t like to be that age again except I might’ve liked to understand better that the following forty years would pass quicker than I anticipated!


  4. Time really is the most precious commodity of all, and we often don’t value it at all. We’re always thinking about the /next/ thing instead of enjoying the thing we have right at that moment. In some ways, I think the pandemic has been good [for some of us] because it’s forced us to re-evaluate what it is that we actually love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you said that because I agree the pandemic refocus/hiatus was one of it’s finer moments, and I feel a bit nostslgic every now and then when as the inevitable rush rush sets in. Although we’re still not too inclined to jam our selves out there too much with too many people in too small spaces. Such also is the luxury of choice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The pandemic hasn’t ended for us, and I’m starting to wonder if it ever will. This may just be the new normal for people with health issues. Grim thought. To be honest, we’ve both entertained the thought of ‘getting covid’ just to get it over with, but it boils down to trust and that fickle monster, Luck.
        Anyway, we /are/ very lucky to have that choice.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh no…you’ve both got Long Covid???? I’m so sorry Dale. And thank you. You’ve given my/our resolve a boost.
          I hope you and the GO come out of it soon. -huge hugs-

          Liked by 1 person

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