Wednesday, June 14, 2017

10 Anti-Establishment Activities for Fun and Profit

The dictionary defines anti-establishment as:  A view or belief which stands in opposition to the conventional social, political, and economic principles of a society.

I always shook my head when, back a few years ago during the Occupy Wall Street movement, protesters would show up on TV tapping away on their iPhones while juggling their Starbucks, in their Nike tennis shoes, after pulling some money from the ATM of the local megabank.  If you are against Wall Street, why, in the name of all that is holy, would you support companies that, make up Wall Street?

As I am feeling rather contrarian this week, I got to thinking about how most people follow along with conventional society, all the while complaining about conventional society.  Complaining may raise your blood pressure but it does little to nothing to actually generate change.  Kind of like venting about obesity and the low pay of fast food workers while gulping down a cheeseburger from said fast food restaurant.

In the interest of "sticking it to the establishment", saving or making a bit of money, experiencing something new, and "walking the talk", I give you ten activities to enjoy this summer which have an anti-establishment flair...

  1. Cook all of your meals from scratch for a month.  Don't support the soda industry and fast food industries which basically sell you a boatload of chemicals and obesity, learn about how the food industry engineers your cravings, and watch a few health-inspiring videos on Netflix.
  2. Get out of debt.  Our world revolves around debt.  Can't afford to pay cash?  Just use your credit card and pay small monthly payments!  Can't afford the payments on a new car?  Simply lease (fleece as Dave Ramsey says) a car and pay less!  Can you imagine what your life would be like if your monthly bills were only for utilities?
  3. Participate in the underground economy.  This can include everything from bartering and swapping to sharing to buying and reselling.
  4. Support your local community.  Buy from local stores, shop at local farmer's markets, volunteer at your kid's school, help out a an elderly neighbor.  If you want your community to be strong and vibrant you need to invest (your time, effort, and money) in it.
  5. Learn to do for yourself.  There are YouTube videos that can teach you anything you need to learn.  Grow a garden, change your own oil, fix an appliance, mend your clothes instead of buying new ones...the list of things you can and should learn how to do is endless.
  6. Get away from it all.  I firmly believe that all of the hyper reliance on technology not only melts your mind, causes depression, and makes people fat and anti social (see other list of impacts here) but it has an overall negative impact on most people's everyday lives.  To combat this, head out to a remote, people-less place for a few days at minimum.  Enjoy the silence, learn how to rely on yourself instead of crowd-sourcing everything from your daily living skills to your self esteem, and recall what life was like before the tidal wave of tech took over our lives.  See also: Microadventures.
  7. Set a big, anti-conventional goal, and go for it.  I've been fortunate to meet a lot of interesting (read unconventional) people over the course of my life.  The common denominator amongst them is that they took a big, outrageous idea which caused people to question their sanity/make dire predictions about their life, and thumbed their noses at the naysayers.  See also: Helene Neville, Yolanda Holder, the Family on Bikes, and Karl Bushby.
  8. Be your own boss.  Most people cling to their one (piteous, underpaid, overworked) job like they are clinging to a life ring in the middle of the ocean.  Of the few "real" jobs I have had (complete with an employer, benefits, paid sick leave, etc), they have only served as stepping stones to gain knowledge or skills before heading off on my own.  I much prefer the secure insecurity of being responsible for my own income by developing multiple sources of income.  Examples of how to do this here and here.
  9. Do your own research.  With facts, alternative facts, and straight up lies by those in power, it pays to do your own research before making decisions that impact your life.  Among the "you didn't do the research" crowds: anti-vaxers, those who are surprised that Trump lied to them, people who fall for scams and rip offs that are easily Google-able.
  10. Support the people and causes that make a useful/positive difference in your life.  Turn out to vote, support gun rights, eat food that makes you healthy, join clubs with like-minded members, and hold your politicians accountable or vote them out.

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