I’ve been thinking for a while about this.  Everywhere I go in life, people want to feel significant.  Much of what we do from day to day is for the purpose of feeling like we are important, like we MATTER.  I noticed years ago, when I would talk to homeless people (there were a couple I spoke to over the years) they would spend a lot of time telling me their former accomplishments.  It’s as if they want to let me know that even though they are in bad circumstances now, they were once contributors to the world.

Even now, my friend MH, and I DO consider him a dear friend, spends a lot of time helping others.  He doesn’t have money but he has connections and he’s very good at connecting people.  He also has provided The Colony for 3 or 4 of us women with cars to sleep at.  Goodness knows what else he does to help people but whenever I see him, he is putting the hand of friendship out to someone.

I too naturally, have wanted to feel significant.  I have had what you might call schpiels I recite when I meet people, so they can get a feel for what kind of person I am (a “good” person, which can mean different things to different people).  Lately though, unless it’s for a job, I don’t give schpiels anymore.  Not that I think there’s anything wrong with this practice.  I just recognize that whether a person is “contributing to society” or not, they are valuable.  Their essence, the spirit they bring with them is what is most important-at least to me.

For instance, the other day when I went to the new soup kitchen, I was feeling pretty down.  A local friend of mine had been a little short with me on the phone and I felt a little lost like I didn’t have a friend in the world.  Then I show up at this church and there are some people there that seem scary.  Most of them seemed nice, but enough seemed scary that I felt bad.  I felt like, I CANNOT do this for months or years like some people do.  I will lose my mind if I have to listen to this BS day in and day out.

But those ladies I sat with, who don’t have a dime to their names, they cheered me up.  No one else could have done what they did that day.  They did it with humor.  They freely shared information that will help me survive.  They told me,” keep an eye on your bike” in a lighthearted way.  It’s the little things like this, the little kindnesses that make life worth living.

One of the little things I’m doing….(and I am not telling you this, to brag or show my significance, but to illustrate a point) is when I’m at the soup kitchen, I wait to eat after getting my tray of food, until my tables mates are back with their food.  The people at the soup kitchen let ladies get in line first to get their food, but I wait for the men to get back with theirs before I eat.  I don’t make a big deal of it but if someone asks why I’m not eating I tell them I’m waiting for the men to get back.  One of the reasons I do this is because it’s an old fashioned courtesy.  The other is, I recognize that men who aren’t working don’t feel good about themselves, so I feel this is a way I can show a little respect toward them.  (I wouldn’t say this out loud to the men though).  To show them they ARE significant to me.

There are so many good men and women in the world.  You would not believe how polite and civilized most of the people I meet at these soup kitchen are.  I have known middle class and wealthy people with horrible manners so this is very refreshing.

Speaking of people being kind to me, I want to thank Ryu for giving me an opportunity to make money.  He sent me a note yesterday with something I could do for him and I am going to do it.  Don’t worry everyone, it’s legitimate work, not some “work from home and make millions!” baloney.

Thank you Ryu and thanks all of you for reading and commenting.  If you haven’t registered at the forum yet, I hope you will soon.  Michelle had the great idea of having one and I think it could prove to be a great resource and community for people who want to free-sleep in their van or other unconventional space-as well as people who can’t do it right now but find it interesting.  We are a different breed.

Bye for now!

About Maureen, Living in a Van

I'm a free-sleeper living in a van in the prettiest part of the world. I do this partly due to financial circumstances and partly because I love a good adventure.
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2 Responses to Significance

  1. Ryu says:

    You’ve done well and I think free sleeping has profited you. You’re not as afraid as you used to be. Now you know you can do it. Others will have to learn as they need it, which will be harder. The conditions which have forced many into it are permanant now.

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