“People are so much better than things.” Amanda Rudy’s philosophy keeps her surrounded by people. The night I visited, two of Amanda’s three housemates, her boyfriend Kyle, and friends Lisa and Kirk filtered in and out of the three bedroom house Amanda owns on a quiet street in Belleville. Her love of people also enables her to get things she enjoys. “My chicken coop, my back patio, my custom bathroom, my new trailer, all thanks to having housemates.”
Amanda, thirty something, studied architecture and worked for a firm in St. Louis for nine years. She recently moved to a firm on the Illinois side of the river. She can ride her bike, or her motorcycle to the office, which makes life easier, and more fun.
Amanda grew up in nearby Freeburg, on the same street as a red haired boy named Kyle who is now her boyfriend. Although they went separate ways for years and have only been dating three months, they have the warm familiarity of a content, established couple. Amanda’s longtime fiancé endured Cystic Fibrosis and died at age 29 when his body rejected a transplant. Kyle left a career in architecture to work in his family business. Having each other, and a faithful dog, feels like a good thing.
Amanda is a woman of action and personal improvement. She sews clothes, makes clutch purses out of pop-tops, grows vegetables, and keeps chickens. She provides eggs to the neighborhood. “Back yard eggs have twice the protein, half the cholesterol and three times the Omega 3’s of store bought eggs.”
Her current focus is on reducing her stuff. “A clutter free room is a clutter free mind.” She read Ruth Soukup’s 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life, which induced her to take on 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero. She and Kyle are not spending any money in the month of September, except for what they can get by selling things they no longer want or need. There’s a pile of stuff in Amanda’s living room she’s selling on Craigslist to cash them through the month. “I am getting rid of things I don’t need and becoming more mindful.”
How will we live tomorrow?
“I have a gazillion ideas I can’t put into words. I’m into sustainability and am skeptical of our systems. It’s the same with people. We depend on people both too little and too much. We want to be independent until we are in need. I’m a country girl and a city girl. I want to blend the two.”