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Simple Living: Narrowing My Life

Updated on June 5, 2013
Kicking back and enjoying life
Kicking back and enjoying life | Source

I want to share with all of you a remarkable article written by a friend of mine, Sonya L. Morley. She and her family are about to put a dream into action. Rather than me tell you about it I’ll let Sonya do it herself. Read her words at http://sonyalmorley.hubpages.com/hub/Seeking-Quality-Of-Life-A-Familys-Story.

Without giving anything I way I will tell you that if you read the title you will gain a pretty good insight into the article. Her story is all about seeking quality of life as a family, and for any of you who have been following along with my articles you will know that this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

SO WHAT IS QUALITY OF LIFE?

Well, if you were to look up the term “quality of life” you would find that it is a phrase used to evaluate the well-being of an individual, family or society. Using that as a guide it can then be assumed that quality of life is defined differently for each of us. What I consider to be necessary for my well-being could be completely different from what you would consider necessary and chances are if we are talking about those who live in Third World countries then we have a whole new set of criteria.

Some things, however, could be considered fundamental for any of us. Food, shelter and water immediately come to mind when I begin to consider quality of life. After that we move into the creature comforts discussion and which of those are necessary in order to attain the quality of life that we each seek.

SONYA AND OTHERS LIKE HER

In her fine article Sonya relates some very serious soul-searching that she and her husband have been doing regarding working harder to pay bills and provide a monetary level of comfort vs. moving to the country, not having as much money but spending more time together as a family. I suspect there are a great many out there who can relate to Sonya’s soul-searching for there seems to be a very quiet movement among many to achieve a simpler lifestyle.

The concept of working harder to attain more possessions to achieve a level of comfort for your family is now being seriously debated simply because in working harder you have less time to spend with your loved ones. It is an economic theory that is doomed to fail with regards to actually interacting with those you love.

I watched my parents subscribe to this theory; two harder working people you will not meet and they did all they could to provide for me but in the process we spent less and less time as a family. I myself fell into this trap. I have worked hard for forty-seven years; I have owned possessions and made six-figure incomes and several years ago I had to ask myself why? What the hell was I doing? How long is long enough with regards to working hard? How much money is enough with regards to possessions and lifestyle? What is the price tag attached to precious time with loved ones?

LESSONS LEARNED

My mother and father were young teens when the Great Depression had its grips on the United States. They emerged from that period of our history with a belief that you had to work hard if you were ever going to protect yourself from the vagaries of the economy; in other words, in their minds, hard work and long hours were the protection that guaranteed safety.

Naturally, having been raised in that environment and having seen how hard my parents worked, I grew to believe in the same principles of hard work and I set out to prove that I was every bit as capable of being successful if only I worked long enough and hard enough.

I do not fault my parents for their beliefs; in fact I completely understand them and I willingly embraced them as my own. However, a little over five years ago I was forced to re-evaluate my life and everything I had believed up to that point.

I came to the realization, reluctantly I might add, that I was trying too hard to do too many things and it was slowly killing me. As I gained more and more sobriety it became apparent to me that my whole approach to life was not working. I had lost sight of who I was and I had lost sight of what was important in life. It was time to change or die!

NARROWING MY LIFE

So what did I do? My plan took several years of fine-tuning before I arrived at a point where I could find peace and fulfillment. I began by returning to teaching because working with kids had always been a constant joy in my life. I found a job at a wonderful school just outside of Portland, Oregon, and loved my time there, but I was still one-hundred miles from family and friends. If I was going to find the happiness that I sought I needed to be surrounded by loved ones, so after two years at that school I resigned and took a teaching job in my home town of Olympia.

Lovely idea but that school was the epitome of dysfunction and after only two months of working there I was stressed and unhappy! Time once again to re-evaluate my circumstances. What should I do? What was I trying to achieve? I was working full-time, making money and yet not happy. What was wrong with this picture that I was living?

I woke up one morning and dreaded going to school and trust me when I say that has never happened in my entire teaching career. Obviously I needed to do something and do it quickly because my well-being and sobriety, or as Sonya would say my quality of life, was too important to me to go on much longer in a state of misery and stress.

The answer came quickly and I acted on it immediately before I could convince myself that I wasn’t being practical. I simply resigned that day, walked away and never looked back. For the first time in my teaching career teaching had become a job for me rather than a calling and it was not adding to the quality of life that I deserved and so I quit.

WHERE TO GO FROM THERE

At that point I was without a plan and no safety net at all and yet I felt at peace. As you all know by now I made the decision to become a freelance writer and that is what I have done now for over a year.

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Freelance-Writing-It-Really-Is-A-Job

The search for simplicity has not stopped with that career decision. I then took a look at the possessions I had always believed were needed. As it turned out that was just silly and so I sold most of what I had and began a new life of simplicity. Today any major decision is looked at from a new perspective. Is my decision going to enhance my way of life or detract from it? My sobriety comes first for without that I will have nothing else. Next comes family and loved ones and spending quality time with them is now my new mantra in life. I am sixty-three years old; how much more time do I have to enjoy the fruits of love? I do not have a minute to waste in that regard and so each day holds quality time with those I love.

My new life consists of writing enough to provide food and shelter and spending time with those important to me. I now have the freedom to stop what I am doing during the day and go for a walk with Bev. I now have the freedom to stop what I am doing and visit with my son. I now have the freedom to….live!

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Saying-Goodbye-To-A-Life-That-Wasnt-Working

IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER

You see, I completely understand where Sonya is coming from with this decision of hers. The quality of my life is all that I consider important today. I have narrowed my focus down to the bare essentials of life and I can look you in the eye and tell you that I have never been happier.

I have written about this subject before and often I will hear from someone saying it just isn’t that easy for everyone. I concede the point that most people cannot just quit their job and sell off everything they own. It really comes down to what is necessary to achieve the quality of life that you feel you deserve? There will always be reasons not to do it. Reasons (and some would call them excuses) are quite easy to come by, and once the reason (excuse) has been made it is just as easy to justify it.

I made my decision. Sonya is making her decision. What will it take for you to achieve the quality of life that you desire and deserve?

I wish you well in your search and I wish you happiness in your life.

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rahul, you are even poetic in your comments! So much talent in someone so young! It is an honor to know you young man, and if my writings provide you with guidance then I am grateful for whatever talent I have been given. Thank you Rahul!

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      As a young man.... I have always felt deprived of that guidance and mentor ship we people need.

      Some time ago when I started following you, this need began to suffice....

      I must say... rather I must admit... i do not merely follow your HP profile and work.. but I follow what you say....

      The way you have shaped your life... took your decisions.. and arrived at this point.... The whole journey... is an overwhelming experience in itself...

      For me... knowing you is like knowing a well of guidance.... Whenever needed.... whenever desired... I get the water ... sufficient enough to quench my thirst.

      Thank you Sir Bill for this hub,....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sgbrown, you are living the life that Bev and I will live in three years; acreage and a slower pace out in the country. I can hardly wait; until then I will write and see what happens. Thank you my friend; I greatly appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, so happy to be following you officially now. I had to laugh when I saw the notification that you were following me...I just assumed that we already were. Thank you and I hope you find the path you want to follow and that it leads to a wonderful quality of life.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, you breed chickens? That is fascinating! I had no idea; I applaud your decision to move in another direction for the quality of life and I wish you peace and happiness as you follow your new path. Thank you, Sir, for your loyalty and friendship.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, we are three years away from doing exactly that; sell everything, find some acreage and live our dream. Three years....tell me it will go by quickly, please! :) Thank you kind lady; wishing you a wonderful weekend.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a wonderful hub, Billy. In April of last year, I was laid off. Work had slowed down and there was not enough customers to around. I had a big choice to make. I had the opportunity to go to work for another company doing the same type of work, if I wanted to. I made good money, but worked 8-10 hours a day 6 days a week. My husband had retired almost 2 years prior. We own 40 acres in the country, which I had little time to enjoy.

      We made the decision that I would basically retire and we would see if we could get by without my "comfortable" income. I have never regretted it! We have cut back a little here and there and now we have quality time to spend together and enjoy our country life and our grandchildren. A good life is a quality life, not so much a quantity life. Voted this up and awesome! Have a wonderful day!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. You are so right quality of life is so important and finding the time to fully enjoy everyday is so important. I'm starting bit by bit simply by finding something enjoyable in each day and building on that. Thanks for this inspiring hub. Loved the video one of my favorite songs from the Beatles. Passing this on.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Bill, it seems that the more one is focussed on getting material acquisitions the further one drifts away from a life of quality; I call a life of quality as being one in which one as time for the family and being able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life like, being together and not being time bound to a job or business.

      I've been at it for over 35 years and for the most part that life had been an almost 24 hour job with my work of breeding chickens.

      Taking to writing has been a way to get out of this rut and I firmly believe in a few months I will have said goodbye to my current work. Then, I would be able to say that I have been able to chart out a plan to live the life of my choosing.

      Your hub as always is a big morale booster. Wonderfully written. I'm glad you love the choices you made about your life and it shows in the positivity of your writings.

      My best wishes to you and Bev for a more fulfilling life.

      Voted all the way up and across. Shared this hub.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      Hi Bill, I go for quality over quantity, that is quality in family life and doing as opposed to quantity of working life and having!!! We are getting closer to our dream of owning our few acres and once that day comes its time to kiss my 9 to 5 good bye and throw caution to the wind!! Can't wait. Awesome hub, Bill with lots to think about and you are right it is about what works for individuals and families. My votes to you and SHARING.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That is nice to hear my friend. Thank you for the visit!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Exactly, Bill! You echo my sentiments!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Improving quality of life is the best thing to do, better late than never I suppose. Great hub, inspiring and encouraging.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Midget, that is a great description. For me it was the day I realized that I wasn't looking forward to going to class...the first time ever...and I said, "that's it, I'm done."

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the sharing, Bill. And I felt this way too, when I was teaching.....you arrive at points when you just feel as though something is not quite all there and you need that change. Really insightful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, turns out Everest wasn't that tall after all; it couldn't have been or you and I would have never made it up and over. New Freedom! Yes indeed my friend and isn't it wonderful? Please have the most marvelous weekend with Dai; think about that farm of the future and walk in some grass barefoot.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes what a beautiful hub once more and I know that so many will second Raciniwa comment.

      I know that I do and what's nice about both our journey's a little difference between but if we look for the bigger picture not so apart.

      We can now look back;and looking at a long uphill Everest!!We've been there and come back down safely and now what do we do??

      We live our lives as we want to with a new freedom. I am so glad you met Bev the same as I have my Dai.

      Wonderful hubs straight from your heart Bill.

      Take care and enjoy your dya.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Raciniwa, you humble me! All we humans have the ability to do what I have done; we all just need a helping hand to get back up from time to time.

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 5 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      Thank you always by your inspiration, by being a great example of a person who has hit the bottom and resurfaced and made a great come back.... i always admire you for that...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heading there now!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Billy - i think you'll get a SERIOUS kick out of my new poem..no pressure, but..i thinks i knows ya...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ImKarn, I can say today that I do think I am a good man. It's taken years for me to make that statement. I agree, you and I are kindred spirits; it's always nice to know there are others out there who think the same...and I thank you as well for your loyal support and kind words.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Billy, i adore your thought process, your balance, and your priorities! You come across as a very good man - with a healthy ego who is neither easily intimidated or envious! You and i seem to be always on the same page- to make the world a better place - one hub at a time! You've succeeded, once again - no surprise! also, thanks for your loyal support!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pickles I know for a fact that you understand this message. Thank you friend for faithfully dropping by again.

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Really enjoyed this hub billybuc. I simplified too and have enjoyed life so much more since then. Things don't make us happy.Vote up

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, she is a true gift from the heavens. Wishing you many long hours of bliss along the banks of that lovely creek which, by the way, I am no longer jealous of. I have grown as a person and refuse to let petty thoughts ruin my day. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bizwin, so nice to see you return. I'm glad you liked my musings and I have no doubt that you understand very well what quality time means. Thank you!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Aw, shucks pardner....I'd probably call you my amigo no matter what your lifestyle! Hello to Bev...she's everything you boasted of and more. Lucky man!

    • bizwin profile image

      Christabel Evans 5 years ago from England, UK

      Billybuc, you hit the nail on the head, auch, i mean you hit the right points here. What tag can i attach to my quality of life and spending quality time with family? None. Great reminded when i'm carried away. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joel, that's the point my friend, to get it out there and hopefully help others as you helped me over the years. Love you buddy!

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      joel treadsway 5 years ago

      Good day bill. Man, is this ever good stuff. I'm digging every bit of it.I too, can say, been there, done that.keep that positive energy goin, my friend. I feel strongly, it is helping, so many people

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, you are welcome and I look forward to hearing about this part of your life as you move from stage to stage in the process. My best to you and your family and again, thank you for your support.

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Well, needless to say I enjoyed reading this and am very touched that you mentioned me and my hub, thank you so much Bill. I am still at the 'no safety net' stage, gotta keep the faith! Perhaps seeking quality of life also means finding it even in the difficult, inbetween stages... Wonderful, inspirational writing as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sky, take care of business my friend. Whatever needs to be done will be done by you and your constant companion...God! With Him on your side how can you fail? Peace to you and as always my sincere thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I, too, know of friends who say it just isn't worth doing or ask me how can I give up all that happiness...and I can only shake my head because I have never been happier. Want to know one of the benefits of this new lifestyle? Knowing people like you! And that my dear friend is no bull!

    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 5 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      And I do remember you saying all that you know to somewhat make everyone see things exactly in the light that it is . I love the term it: It is what it is!

      I join with you strongly in saying , if someone sees or feels that need to do that which the know that they must , it's that easy.

      A few great things on my mind these days it has to be done , and by any means possibly they will be done.

      Thank you sincerely billy for writing all these encouraging Hubs and comments.

      You are awesome.

      God bless.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bill...altough I know several people who have followed this path, to include yours truly (a work in-progress still)......and their peace and happiness is apparent....I continue to find that those of very different mind, looking in, refuse to believe that 1. It is possible to achieve and 2. That once achieved, we have such inner peace. To quote a certain friend of mine, "How can anyone work and sacrifice for decades to get where they are, have what they have...and then consciously choose to walk away from it all? I think it's bullshit." I am soooo glad that I held my tongue and replied to him with some sort of off-hand humorous remark....BECAUSE, no less than a month after that discussion, he suffered a fatal heart attack at work, at the age of 44. I was so sad. It also hit me like a ton of bricks after his comment to me....UP +++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Savanah, what a lovely comment. You said it all better than I did, and thank you for sharing your personal story about your parents. I'm so glad that we are friends; you are unique in your kindness and compassion.

    • savanahl profile image

      savanahl 5 years ago

      Very insightful billybuc. Unfortunately, too many people equate their quality of life to material things. I, too, saw my parents work themselves to the bone. They were pretty stressed and miserable all their lives. The minute they retired and moved to Thailand, their lives began to change. My father was a pretty grumpy and angry man most of his life but all of a sudden he was smiling and full of jokes. They were laughing and joking all the time. They were in love again.

      It just goes to show you that, to me, the quality of life is about love and relationships. It's about the relationships with your partner, your kids, your friends and your family.

      At the end of the day, when we're all on our death beds, I don't think we'll regret not making those extra few dollars, but we will regret not spending more time with the ones we love. Thank you again for sharing your insight.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, you are very welcome and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter. Life is so much simpler now and I love it...as it sounds you do too.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, I love your comments and I am so happy for you. You have figured out what is important in life and that speaks volumes about you as a person. I just went to the bank and had $40 in checking and it didn't even faze me. Now that is freedom dear friend. Have a wonderful day and thank you as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, as always I love your visit. It is amazing how much stuff we accumulate for no apparent reason. I'm glad you are on a planned path to simplify so you can enjoy the remainder of your life the way you deserve.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Great hub. I think the current financial situation is giving all of us a chance to have a serious look at the quality of our lives and how much we are obsessed by consumerism. We can all make small changes -- and some of us make big ones. Congratulations on making the big one. Thanks for SHARING. Sandra Busby

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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      I wish there were a button to write a "response to this hub" because I could write a book in this space. I love what you have to say. I saw my parents work two and three jobs to put us six kids through Catholic school, to see us play sports, have nice clothes, a nice house, etc., etc. I grew up with a fierce work ethic: I was valedictorian, had a 4.0, graduated college in 3.5 years while working 40-60 hours a week. I was going to follow in their footsteps. Then something happened: I decided to take a 3-month break - whilst my office, a car and promises of larger paychecks waited for me. Once I got to the ski area, I had roommates for the first time, and the pace of life was much slower. At first, I missed my cell phone and access to music and internet at will. But...then I met my future husband, and I learned what it was to live a life that was much simpler than the one in which I was brought up. I then came to say "no" to the office, car and money. I "moved to the country, grew a lot of peaches, threw out the TV..." as the song goes. I love this life. I'll take it. It's not always easy not having the monetary benefits, but I get to see and cook dinner with my husband every night, we visit friends and family regularly and...sigh...I'm quite happy. Thanks for this. :)

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I went through a similar experience about four years ago. I woke up one day and thought why am I keeping things that are museum pieces in my home? I had way too much material things and decided to donate, give or trash them. We live simpler now and have discovered that we have what we need. I am following the same path with my career, although I am still working out the details, I am much happier. Enjoyed your hub and the positive outlook. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cloverleaffarm, it sounds to me like you are right where you love to be on that New Hampshire farm. I hope that is correct. I have always loved that line "no matter where you go, there you are." No hiding from that fact. Have a wonderful day in the Granite State.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Angela, I have great faith in you; now you need to have great faith in you. Thank you my dear for your comments and hold onto that hope.

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      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Very inspirational for those of us looking to do the same. Life is full of choices. No matter where you go, there you are, and you have to be happy when you get there. Voted up, beautiful and useful!

    • angela martinez67 profile image

      Angela Martinez 5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Truly inspiring! thanks for sharing this insight once again Bill. This raises up hopes to people like me and many others who are confused and in search of real happiness this life still has to offer. Great hub, voted up.