I would not trade speaking, writing and living my conscience for any high-paying job pressing me to shut up my convictions.

I would not trade living below the federal income tax level to refuse to pay for war — for all the money in the world.

I would not trade mostly walking, sometimes riding the bus — for owning a luxury car.

I would not trade sunbathing naked most days, especially in winter, on my backyard and small private Riviera Beach — for a free trip to Europe.

I would not trade my main food every day, my homemade smoothies with 20 healthy ingredients for the highest-priced restaurant meals.

I would not trade going to bed most nights before 10 and getting up at 6 or so — for late night parties and getting up late.

I would not trade my garden of sweet potatoes, garlic, quelites, alfalfa, mint and flowers — for fancy furniture.

I would not trade going to the flea market and scores of mostly free local events and enjoying many warm hugs, honks, whistles, conversations, photos taken — for all the luxury stuff in the malls.

I would not trade my 9.5 x 12 feet rented one-room home with six windows of marvelous sunshine — for living in a mansion.

I would not trade living openly gay here and now — for being loved by some if I lived a lie in the closet.

I would not trade the precious wisdom many people have taught me about living simply, healthy and compassionately — for all the diamonds in the world.

Nov. 20 I turned 72.

Don Schrader