When I lived in the countryside of County Kerry you had to drive everywhere and pay for an awful of petrol or you didn't drive anywhere and went a bit bonkers.
There is a social aspect to going to the grocers, once a week, that you don't experience if you stock up at a supermarket once every two months. Sitting at home, eking out an existence for months on end is for the professionals and I'm not one of them.
Besides, there is so much detritus going spare in an urban environment that I prefer urban life and rarely want for anything. That is, if you can avoid the indoctrination between television programmes. Better still, if you don't watch much television then you don't feel the need to own much or aspire to any meaningless lifestyle foisted upon you by the corporations.
I don't have the latest mobile phone. I have one, somewhere, which I take on long car journeys in case I get into difficulty. It doesn't have a SIM. It's just for calling the emergency services. It does its job adequately.
Freecycle has provided me with another computer. Usually, I rebuild them and pass them on. Not the latest one. I discovered that someone had thrown out a machine with a 64-bit dual core processor. I bought 4Gbytes of second hand memory on eBay and I now have a machine faster than my own desktop.
I will keep the two machines for now as I put Windows Vista on the recent acquisition so that I can use Visual Studio 2010 (Express Edition, a free download from Microsoft) to code some software that only really works in Windows rather than my usual Linux environment.
Yes, I am programming again. In fact my mind is more alive these days, after my "I don't really need to live in the countryside" revelation. I wouldn't mind living there again though, if given the chance. I am glad to have been given the chance to live in the countryside, when I did. I got to learn more about myself and my capabilities. I learned knew skills that I am putting to good use; growing vegetables, wood work and metal work. Making do.
The first decade of the new millennium I call "The Lost Decade". Starting with separation, then divorce, voluntary redundancy and leaving for Ireland. My mid-life crisis is now behind me and I didn't even waste money on a Harley or a Porsche!
In the 1990s I was a computer scientist and that is what I will always be. And so, I have returned to my research activities. On my own for the time being but looking to join an academic community next year. Many opportunities and one shall be chosen in the coming months.
Being logically minded and out of work, I suppose the "greening" of my life was bound to happen. A solution to a problem. I didn't go green because I love cute furry animals (I prefer to eat them) or that I care about Mother Earth (who is more than capable of looking after herself). I did it all because I have X amount of money and Y number of years before I get my hands on my pensions. I still have the same X amount of money but 9 fewer years to my pension.
More power to the Internet in 2012. Use it to find your voice (like the people of North Africa), to find out new things (like reading Ecopunk), truthful things (like reading Ecopunk?) and making life a lot cheaper for yourself (by cutting out the middle man) and accepting that less really is more.
I took the car out, on a rare journey, to collect some stuff on Freecycle. Driving is not easy when only one in four street lights is on. Such is life in the UK where councils are forced to switch off street lights to make ends meet.
I don't ever expect things to get back to "normal". As other parts of the world develop, the west will regress until the west and the rest meet somewhere at a place that I don't ever expect to be the middle.