While I agree with the first part of what you said, I have to disagree with the second part…
Caring about family, friends, and even people in general is the key to success. The moment you put yourself first, instead of last, you’re a loser.
Life is never just about us, our wants, needs, or desires. We have to look at the bigger picture. What can we do to make this world a better place, or to help others. When we work and act on the bigger picture, suddenly we are accepted by society, and a whole new and better world is opened up to us.
Our value or worth is decided by others, not ourselves, and the more we give of ourselves, the more opportunities appear before us. While it’s possible to be a hermit, it winds up being a terribly long and lonely life. Today, I am very popular, and have many people who love and care about me, but that wasn’t always the case. When I put myself first, I was an outcast. The world was a dark and lonely place. I wanted my “FREEDOM”, so I always came first.
Then I met an old man, that also lived in a van. He was a comical character, always happy, always smiling, and his smile was contagious. He took me out to dinner and drinks, we played pool, and had a great time. He introduced me to his friends, and to our neighbors, and he dragged me to a block party. To my surprise, everybody knew me by name, and I was greeted with handshakes, hugs, and smiles. I was no longer an outcast, no longer a nameless, faceless bum living in a van. These people genuinely cared about me, and always asked if I needed anything, never expecting anything in return.
I had been introduced to a neighborhood that accepted me, and respected me, and the fact that I lived in a van no longer mattered. I worked construction, and I was in the area working after a big hurricane. Previously, I had worked, then went back to my van to hide out until it was time to go to work the next day. On the weekends, and between jobs, I frequently camped by myself. Now, I was getting invited to barbecues,and birthday parties, even barn raising’s and square dances. Now, I had that same silly grin on my face that the old timer did, and I wanted to give back, so I helped the neighbors when they needed it.
While I was there, I also switched from a cargo van to a window van, because I no longer needed to hide, and the world was worth looking at. People and cars on the street, people working in their yards, or on their cars, there was a whole world I had been missing out on. After about 6 months, it was time to move across the country to a new job. In a new area, and in a window van, I no longer tried to hide. I smiled, waved, and even spoke to people passing by. I was immediately accepted. Maybe because people now knew I worked construction, and I was there to help rebuild after a flood. Maybe it was just because I was no longer trying to hide, maybe it was my new found smile and attitude, whatever it was, it worked. And I’ve never had a problem since.
In retrospect, cargo vans, hiding, and a me first attitude all suck really bad. Those things alienate us from our families, friends, neighbors, and society in general. We owe EVERYTHING to society, and it’s time for the me first crowd to wake up and join the real world. Unless you buy a piece of land, walk onto it naked and carrying nothing, and never leave it a single time for any reason, then all this talk about freedom is BS. Every good thing we have, most of which we take for granted is thanks to society, and so like it or not, we owe our lives to the betterment of society. A good and enjoyable life REQUIRES society. FREEDOM must be fought for constantly, and that means adhering to society’s norms, working full time, paying our taxes, and never asking for or taking more than a fraction of what we’re contributing to it.
Freedom isn’t about dropping out and working less or not at all, that’s just being a broke, homeless, jobless, deadbeat. Dropping out doesn’t give us freedom, it steals it from us, and limits our options. Freedom isn’t free, it has to be bought and paid for by somebody, and that somebody needs to be the person enjoying it. That means we have to work long and hard to achieve it, there are no shortcuts. We can live frugally and save, to speed up the process, by doing things like living cheaply and within our means, and staying out of debt. We can work longer, harder, and smarter to speed up the process, but society owes us nothing, and we are not entitled to anything we don’t earn for ourselves. Forget social security, disability, welfare, food stamps, or any type of charity, if you’re capable of van dwelling, you’re capable of paying your own way 100% of the time, no exceptions. It has never been easier to make money than it is today. I can make more money sitting in the comfort of my van, working just a few hours a month, than I used to make working full time. If you can either talk or type, even hunt and peck like me, you can do it too. No experience or education necessary, you can learn everything online. Very little to no investment is required.
"I can live like a king because I work like a dog." ~ An anonymous vandweller