What a boring title, Maintenance. Unless you’re an auto mechanic you probably don’t care about maintenance. Maintenance though is the crucial step that allows sustainability. Lifestyles, innovations, relationships, aren’t sustainable unless they can be maintained. Just ask my car and my computer.
This blog comes to you today from a tired rental PC.
A few days ago I drove up to Silver Star, a ski resort in Canada. It’s a birthday present to myself. In the last 7 days they’ve received 32 inches of fresh snow and more is coming down as I type. (The lifts aren’t open yet and the trails aren’t groomed yet, so why not blog, eh?) Nice present. Knee deep freshies, quiet slopes because there’s no skittering along on ice. Easy snow to ski, and I’ve skied enough that my quads are tired. (Telemark skiing = free the heel, kill your quads.)
Then came the other side of a middle-aged birthday. Lots of the equipment I carry is old. It needs maintenance. Besides my skis, one pair of which is 23 years old, my car is 12 years old and my laptop is more than five. On Wednesday I discovered that the car was dead and the computer wouldn’t boot. Bummer and a bite. Not the sort of news to encourage a happy anything.
The good news has been that the car is working again, probably; and that the laptop booted to safe mode once. (Though it hasn’t done so since. Help! Gail, help!)
Interruptions in service happen, especially with flashy products. Fortunately, my frugal lifestyle encourages me to buy quality when it counts. The car is a Jeep Cherokee Classic with a straight inline six, a very robust car with a very reliable engine. The laptop is a Mac PowerBook that probably just sucked down some bad power during a surge. It’s backed up and it can be repaired I suspect.
My lifestyle is probably sustainable. How many years does it have to be lived to prove that statement? I don’t know. I do know that I’m only comfortable with repairing and would groan at having to replace any of my gear; so maybe my lifestyle is currently sustainable, but not confidently comfortable. The key difference is the need or the ability to maintain the various components of this life.
Living a frugal life is easy to do for a while. The trick is to continue to do so as things break down. With enough money it’s easy enough to replace old with new. The impressive folks are the ones that buy old and maintain it even longer. I’m somewhere in the middle.
I blogged about my portfolio back on New Years. Last night I did my birthday review of more than just my stocks. It’s a yearly maintenance task when I look at where I am, where I was, and where I want to go. Frequently I’m not where I expected to be, but I’m in better shape than I was and heading somewhere very positive. It doesn’t put money in my wallet, but the exercise puts confidence in my attitude.
It isn’t as obviously necessary as an oil change or a computer backup, but it is more valuable. It takes me outside the worries of today’s issues and shows me progress, trends, and confirms the hopes I have for my life.
It is a good thing to do for portfolios. It is a good thing to do for life goals. It would be wonderful to find that governments would do the same, but aside from voting and blogging, I have very little influence on that.
In the meantime, the snow is coming down heavy. The groomers will probably be done by the time I wander back to the room and suit up, and then I’ll take out my aged skis to help maintain my health, my attitude, my love of this life. It’s one fine way to make this all sustainable.