In college I was a hardcore freegan. I bought almost no food for over 4 years. I also didn’t buy clothing, or really much of anything. My income in a given year was only about 3,000 and I made it by just fine. As time went on I left freeganism because I had to become a “real person” and get a “real job.” I moved to a city and stopped diving and started dieing. I bought food, clothes, everything. I sold out hardcore.
College was so much fun. I truly embraced the freegan lifestyle of working little and living a lot. “Spend your days…” wasn’t my motto, just how I lived my life. State College was the easiest town to dive in, this made it easy to stop diving and start dieing when I left. I stopped doing what I wanted and started doing what I hated. I started working for food, I started figuring out how to navigate a grocery store.
Previous to this I nearly had a mental breakdown trying to figure out what type of crackers to buy. Ritz? Saltines? Triscuits? Wheat Thins? Store brand or brand name? Should I get crackers with cheese already on them? Or should I get them with peanut butter on them? What size should I get? If I don’t get sandwich crackers what should I put on them? But as time went on and pressures of others, notably Smiles, increased I tapered down my dumpster diving. I also tapered down my happiness.
Philadelphia didn’t help. There were hardly and accessible dumpsters in the city. I did eventually get over the fact that they weren’t going to be as good as State College dumpsters and did catalogue a bunch of them. For a little while I even got pretty into it, but not like before, not as fully. Pittsburgh dumpsters are much better and having a fellow diver in the city helped a lot, but what helped most was realizing what I had lost.
I had sold out. I sold out hardcore. I was a freegan and wanted to live freegan for my life. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my roomie, Cha that I began to realize this. She talked about how awesome living poor was. You get to enjoy your free time (esp if you don’t work full time like we both currently do) you get to make delicious food and make other things too. Life is enjoyable and consumerism is unreachable.
She was talking to me about something I had known and held deeply for so long – freeganism. So I went out that same night (last night) and dug through some dumpsters to get us some food, to be who I was, who I am and always will be: a freegan.