Embracing Downward Mobility

Written by Jordan Peacock : June 26, 2008

Last weekend I took the plunge.

After a long-needed heart-to-heart talk with my wife, about how we felt about the routines we had built, about the habits we had, about our priorities, the realization came that something was out of whack. This wasn’t a tremendous surprise, although some of my wife’s thoughts on the subject had been, but the slow understanding that there was a degree to which I was neglecting my family, and omitting untold good that was getting squeezed out of my life in my love of…well, materialism.

Let me expound.

Never having been one who has jumped on every technological bandwagon, I tended to wait trends out until I could pick out something reasonable that fit my needs. I’ve built my own computers from purchased parts, and built my operating systems using Linux as a backbone. My voluminous audio, comic and movie collections are digitized, and my news, writing, tv, phone, and half a dozen other things are consolidated in that black box.

On top of that black box is a smaller black box; a redundant array of disk drives, storing three terabytes of data. I’m running out of space on it. My audio collection is all lossless; as a former sound technician my ear is finicky, and the flexibility that the FLAC audio codec offers is unparalleled. I have tendrils deep in certain parts of the music industry, and am a strong proponent of indie labels such as Lujo Records and audiophile hangouts such as

My media consumption runs a fine line between enthusiasm and addiction. My time (as if “my time” is even truly mine) on the computer is often times put to better use in other ways. My education is continuing, my job is great, but I don’t have any enthusiasm for the life both are recommending.

I’m selling my computer and we’ll pay off my permanent residency and some outlying debt. I’m wrenched about what to do with my digital audio collection: at about two terabytes of lossless audio files, some extremely rare, it’s a waste to simply get rid of, and there are some I think I should keep, but the lot is not worth the time, concern, and expense. The hardware it’s on needs to go, at any rate. The Wii can probably go, although we’ll keep the TV for it’s DVD playback capabilities. Perhaps eventually we’ll rid ourselves of that as well, and simply use the remaining computer (my wife’s iMac).

I’m scared. The amount of time in my day that will be salvaged is substantial. The amount of things that are truly important: time with my wife, time with my daughter, time talking to friends, helping neighbors and my community…and money saved, debt paid, foreign aid, supporting friends in need, giving whenever asked….there is a lot that is possible if we only take the step.

But I’m so steeped in materialism that I honestly don’t clearly know where to go from here. When time is opened up for the possibility of a new way of living we shy away, the vast expanse of possibilities a dark and frightening forest rather than an open field, and we cling to the nearby fence for fear of freedom.

Deep breathes. I may not as easily escape this gravity well as I would like to think. Your prayers and ideas are coveted.


Author Bio:: Jordan Peacock lives and works in Minnesota with his beautiful wife and daughter. When not playing with technology or music, he’s writing comic books and wrapping up a university education.

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