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Finding Peace of Mind by Changing Your Lifestyle

Updated on September 19, 2013

The Whole Friggin’ Point

Living Simple has nothing to do with frugal living. It has nothing to do with minimalism. It has nothing to do with being a goat herder in some remote country, shut off from modern society, and it has nothing to do selling off everything you own and taking a vow of poverty.

It does, however, have everything to do with returning to a simpler lifestyle. It has everything to do with understanding that there is more to life than work, eat, and sleep. It has everything to do with getting off the Merry-Go-Round of life and taking time to breathe.

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You get up in the morning, eat breakfast on the go, drive to work, work eight to ten hours, drive home, eat a quick dinner, clean the house, run errands, say howdy to the family as you pass each other, and slip between the covers exhausted, only to start over again the next morning.

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You sit down to pay the bills at the end of the month. You do a little robbing of Peter to pay Paul, and breathe a sigh of relief when it looks like you’ll be able to afford the new tires that your car needs.

Let me know if this sounds familiar. It seems like you can’t relax on any given night without a couple shots of booze or a couple glasses of wine, because the kids need braces, your boss is a jerk, the chimney needs cleaning, and those dreams you had in your youth are one day further removed from reality.

Well? Does any of that ring a bell?

When was the last time you and your spouse had the spare time to play like love-struck teenagers? When was the last time you went for a walk in the woods and smelled and touched nature? When was the last time you had a Saturday off to do nothing?

If any of this has your own personal bell ringing, then it might be time to consider Living Simple.

But are you willing?

This is what Living Simple looks like
This is what Living Simple looks like | Source

Nice Idea but It’s Not Possible

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
Lao Tzu

This writer is living proof that Living Simple can be done….and enjoyed. I have told you all before that two years ago I quit my teaching job and decided to chuck the 8-5 workday; I chose to work for myself as a full-time writer. I gave up a guaranteed income; I gave up medical and dental; and I gave up a whole lot of headaches.

What did I receive? Peace of mind!

However, I have had people tell me that there is no way they could do it. There is no way they could find another way to make a living, and certainly no way to pay the bills unless they continue at their current job. I have had people say that it is a nice dream but unrealistic, and I have had people say that in today’s economic situation there is no way to break the cycle.

A recent survey stated that a majority of Baby Boomers believe they will be working past the age of 72 because they can’t afford to live on Social Security, and they have no backup plan.

Here is what I see happening with many people in today’s modern society. They work and they work; they accumulate and they accumulate; and then they work and they work to maintain all that they have accumulated.

Here is an old adage that I just love, and I think it applies to this way of thinking: if you keep on doing what you are doing you will keep on getting what you are getting! Get it?

There is something fundamentally wrong with the way society thinks. We gather possessions like they are the keys to happiness, and then we shape our lives around those possessions. Happiness is an inside job, and if someone believes that happiness is dependent upon a 4,000 square foot house, then they were dropped on their head one too many times as a child.

If someone believes that happiness is dependent upon a luxury automobile, or a yearly trip to Mazatlan, or gathering stock options based on a sixty-hour work week, then they truly need to find the exit door from the Twilight Zone.

It is all nonsense, and it is so far removed from reality as to be frightening.

Is Living Simple possible for everyone?

I believe it is!

Real Life Examples

You already know about my journey. I was sixty-two when I said goodbye to the rat race and became a writer full-time. I gave up everything, stepped out on the high wire without a safety net, and said goodbye to a life that wasn’t working.

Since that time, I have two writer friends who have done the same thing. They gave it all up to pursue their dream of writing. Again, no safety net! Bev, the love of my life, gave up her full-time job a year ago; she now works part-time and is much happier. Again, no safety net!

On the other hand, I do not have the space to mention all the people I know who are working their butts off just to make ends meet, and failing more often than not.

Finding happiness in the simple things
Finding happiness in the simple things | Source

Love this video

So It All Comes down to This

Are you happy with your lifestyle? If you are then I salute you and I say have a wonderful life. However, if you are not happy, then I need to ask you if you are willing to change it all?

I am convinced that the economy will not improve. Unless you are in the upper 20% of society making $250,000 per year, life will continue to be a struggle. Do you seriously still hold out hope that our politicians will care about the lower 80%? Do you seriously believe that major corporations will suddenly see the light and start paying a livable wage to their employees, and stop shipping jobs overseas?

The only possible solution is to change your lifestyle. Cease this ridiculous concept that possessions are important, and start grasping the concept that the quality of life is important.

This takes a huge commitment, and it is so much against the norm as to seem like treason. The more you get rid of, the less you have to work to pay for it all. See how simple that is? If you cut up your credit cards and never buy another thing on credit, you will not spend as much money on interest rates, correct? If you do not spend as much, you do not have to work as much, correct? If you get rid of that house with its $2000 mortgage, and rent a home for half that cost, you won’t have to work as much, correct? If you don’t buy a new automobile for $38,000 and make payments on it, you won’t have to work as much, correct?

Get ready for the howling! I can hear it already! I can’t possibly sell my home; I love my home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else! I need this SUV; it provides safety for my family! I need the biggest cable package, and I have to have a green lawn and four televisions and…and….and!

ENOUGH!

It is consumer insanity in an economy that can no longer support that way of thinking.

The gentle flow of a simply lifestyle
The gentle flow of a simply lifestyle | Source

Sit with me

Please Stop and Think

It all comes down to this very simple question: what is the most important thing in your life? If you have a family I would hope that was your answer. So if your family is the most important thing in your life, then what is the most important thing for you to do? Hopefully your answer is to spend time with your family and love them.

If those were your answers, then please tell me how possessions affect any of that? If it is possible to be happy making less than $20,000 per year and drive a used car, and it is because I am ecstatic, then why is anything more than that necessary?

Am I being too simplistic? I know many of you think I am, but the fact is that I have just cut through the b.s. and gotten down to basics.

What about those who would say there is nothing wrong with working hard and adding possessions, and I say to you no, there is nothing wrong with it, as long as that pursuit does not interfere with those things that are truly important. Too many kids are growing up in latch key homes; too many kids are growing up with only one parent. Too many people are buried in credit card debt, and too many people are miserable and don’t know how to change.

Change is not difficult; change is a constant in life. However, finding the courage to willingly change and go against the societal grain is quite difficult. It begins with a simple question: are you happy?

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      new momma, there is no doubt that a young couple with kids has it much harder. The fact that you are trying is a huge advantage. You are aware that change is needed and you are doing what you can now so it will be easier later. I applaud you.

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      new momma 3 years ago

      Bill I love the article and the idea and we are tryiong to get out of that consumerism generation also but really it was much easier for you at 61 then us in our 30s with no retirement no health care if we leave and children to take care of... we have options but how good are they? it is tough but we are trying at least

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, we went to one car a year ago. We own no television....our house is fairly small....it is our life and we love it. It fits like the proverbial glove. :) Thank you my friend.

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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Funny I'm reading this now as I just wrote a hub on doing what you enjoy that I haven't yet published. I saw this and it caught my eye. I still work at my "day" job but have gone part time so that I can write more, photograph more, create and design more jewelry and enjoy part of life. About 3 years ago, I looked at our pool and couldn't remember the last time I went in it. By the time the weekend came, I had to run errands, do chores, catch up on whatever else was going on. Now, I go in a few times a week. Do I live simply? Absolutely. I don't want or need a fancy car- I hate driving anyway. And a fancy large house would mean more to clean!! Great hub! Voted up. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Moderndayslave, I saw the light once I was forced as well, and now I see the wisdom in it. Tough lesson to learn but I did learn it. Thank you!

    • Moderndayslave profile image

      Moderndayslave 4 years ago

      I enjoyed it and you are right. I was forced to make do with less after my divorce. It is possible and you can still be happy :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, you said it all perfectly. Man oh man, I don't know why this is such a difficult concept for people to learn; then they are forced to learn it and it becomes a very painful lesson.

      I'm sure glad you and I have our acts together. :) Thank you Dianna!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      "Here is what I see happening with many people in today’s modern society. They work and they work; they accumulate and they accumulate; and then they work and they work to maintain all that they have accumulated." This is the problem: Americans seem to think the dream involves accumulation of "toys" to show their success. Life is not that complicated: you only use what you need, you help others, you live within your means. Faith in God pulls it all together. Great statement, Bill. Voted up++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I am a firm believer in sitting back and waiting for the miracle to happen. Today could be the day...or tomorrow...we never know when our life will change. You have laid the groundwork; you did what you had to do for peace of mind. Keep working and moving forward; today the miracle might happen. :)

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      The other day I texted the VP of the company I just left; I saw him grow from Project Manager to VP and attended his wedding 15 years ago. He mentioned I made the right decision in leaving, he just thought I could have been more professional about it. My response was that I just couldn't stomach walking thru the door anymore and had to put my heart before protocol. I also mentioned that I no longer have daily headaches, I no longer have blood red eyes at the end of the day and I'm no longer stressed. For those reasons alone, it was worth leaving on the spot.

      One step at a time and one day at a time, right my friend?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      shruti, I love the word....sublime! Indeed, it all comes down to happiness. Thank you for that insight!

    • shruti sheshadri profile image

      shruti sheshadri 4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      amazing! sir, you have covered every aspect of our lives. In the end it all comes down to one thing, happiness. A sublime thought indeed :) A great advice, going for a second read now!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie, flattery will get you everywhere! LOL Wise? I don't know....Ghandi was wise...Buddha was wise...I'm just some schmuck who had to suffer in order to learn some truths. :)

      One thing we agree on for sure...it is an honor to be your friend as well.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      i was lucky that i didn't 'break' before my kids were grown and gone - at least....close enough..i still had to work for 10 months until it was just me, myself, and i at risk, and that was the toughest 10 months..

      i believe the 'break' started when i was in my motorcycle accident - forcing me to BE STILL, to 'stop and think' - something i'd never had the luxury of doing before..it was then that it came to me - i needed to live as minimally as possible - and i do...now...

      peace of mind? oh, yes! Peace of life, even...

      You're a very wise man, my friend! Such an honor to call you friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula....this is a recording....thank you....recording now has ended. :)

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      "Good Afternoon," This is a recording.....The person at this location, is 100% exempt from commenting on this particular topic. This is a recording..........

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I like that last statement. Let's hope it is,indeed, the voice of the next generation. Thank you for adding a great comment to the conversation.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tams, it is so nice to see you back here. I hope you are well my friend, and thank you! Yes it is a rat race, one I have no intention of returning to.

      Don't stay away so long next time! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, I am appreciative for having known, in a small way, this Martin. Thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love this hub. I've learned over the years that less is definitely more. I used to think that we desperately needed a big house surrounded by gardens. But we get on very well with this modest home and the small garden we have out back is actually just the right size.

      I used to think I needed tons of clothes for every occasion. I've since learned that some classic pieces and a lot of imagination can go a long way.

      My oldest seems to have learned these lessons too. It's all about family with her. As long as the family is doing fine, she's happy with her lot in life. She's only just turned 22 and seems to have it all figured out just like Marissa.

      If this is the voice of the next generation, then we can all relax. Everything's going to be just fine. I have faith.

    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 4 years ago from Missouri

      Nice article Bill! It's funny, the first article I read as I return to the internet is yours. Why? Because I can always count on you to be realistic and make my mind work. Success yet again!

      This fits right into the thought processes I've been working out lately, which include things such as coupons, lower cable and phone packages, etc. All in the name of saving money to make time.

      It truly is a rat race out there, but it is a decision to join it or make your own path.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. It looks like I'm going to make Christmas. The world has seen at least 8 martin's. The last one is coming. The one trapped in a body that doesn't work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tireless, that's a great line about the empty space. :) Thank you for the visit and comment.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It does indeed, Deb!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I would never forget you. You can bet I'll be mentioning you in the next installment. :) Bless you my dear!

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Bill you keep forgetting about us. The ones who believe and do all we can to help. I don't know what it' s like to be without. I am not bragging. I am simply telling the truth. I support so many and i always will. Having money is not a curse if you share. God bless you. Thank you for wisdom..

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      I remember a time when I desperately wanted a dutch oven and a vase. Now I have vases to gift away. I have a crock pot that works as well as a dutch oven. Now I just laugh at what I thought was important years ago. I surely wish I had all the empty space that accompanied what I didn't have.

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are SO right. Happiness means more than anything!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Steph, that's amazing what you have done in six years. Congratulations! We have our mortgage, and a few odds and ends, but it is all manageable. In three years everything will be paid off and then it will be time to travel. :)

      Thank you Stephanie!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, it is simple; man always wants to complicate life. :) Thank you my friend; I hope you are happy and well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the visit Hattie!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      You hit the nail on the head with this Bill! It's all about getting one's priorities right! If it's peace one desires then material comforts don't mean a damn.

      You make it all so simple to understand. Awesome as always, my friend!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Bill, I LOVE the stop and think part! Family is why we gave up expensive material possessions over 6 years ago so I could stay home with our oldest. My husband and I were both in our early twenties, fresh out of school making a pretty decent income. The two vehicles we had cost us over $50k (gasp). That is not how I grew up, that is definitely what society taught me. We needed these cars!! I still remember a conversation with my husband's cousin where she stated, "You will always have a car payment." My husband's truck was a $700 a month payment. Yes, I know people pay that much to live in a house!! :) To top it off he drove a service truck and that $700/month truck mainly sat in the driveway. So, of course, six years ago we sold the truck in exchange for me being able to stay home with the kids. Since then we have snowballed our debt and made much, much wiser financial decisions. We now only owe on our mortgage and looking forward to the day that is paid off so we can be financially free!!!! I've been working six years towards living simply and couldn't be happier.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image

      HattieMattieMae 4 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      Thanks for sharing! Very nice hub! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, there is no way that switching lifestyles is simple; nor do I think everyone can do it or should do it. I do, however, believe more and more people are going to see the wisdom in doing so.

      Thank you my friend, and I hope you have a very happy holiday season.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Paradise, thank you so much. I appreciate you stopping by.

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      Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Terrific article. You are just so right that I have nothing to add to that!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great advice Bill. Keeping it simple is probably not for everyone but it can be done. I know it's a leap of faith for most people but the rat race is not a healthy place to be. Think how much less stress most people would have if they stepped away from their hectic lives. Great advice that everyone should consider.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, thank you, and yes, it is very easy to get back on that treadmill. For sure! Our entire society is geared towards spending and accumulating, and the more money we make the more we spend. One item at a time, we build up our possessions, until they are holding us back from finding peace of mind. Weird how we have to learn this lesson over and over again, isn't it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sue, you just summed it all up beautifully. For me, peace of mind makes it all worth it. I searched too long for it and I'm not giving it up for possessions.

      Thank you dear lady and have a very happy holiday season.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      The sad thing is, the more material possession we accumulate, the more unhappy we seem to be, we're on the treadmill, on the road to nowhere. We are going so fast we keep missing the point. You are spot on with every word. Still, it is not a simple concept to grasp, although you make it sound so achievable.

      My husband and I did this for four years, it was the happiest time of our lives, then circumstances changed and we were forced to get back on the treadmill. That was twelve years ago, now we're stepping off slowly. Another great piece of work. Take care and my very best to you.

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      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Bill,

      I am fortunate that I have a job that I enjoy, no credit card debt etc.

      This was not always the case. Years ago I was in a job(with the same company I am presently with) that I hated. I took another position for much lower pay. I remember being asked how I could take such a cut in pay. I said, "Easily, I now have a peace of mind."

      Voted up and away and sharing

      Take care my friend. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, I have missed you, and that is as much my fault as anyone's. Just too busy taking on too much. :) When will I ever learn? Anyway, yes, happiness comes in many packages, and mine is plain brown wrapping paper with a string bow. :) And I think it's the most beautiful package I have ever seen.

      Happy Holidays to you my dear friend; sending you happiness and a big hug from Olympia.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I think it is very easy to forget. We all get caught up in it.....a lot of things I write about are reminders for me. LOL Thank you young lady; how's the snowstorm?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pearl; I truly am a down-to-earth kind of guy. If a day came when I hit it big a a writer, I would still live the way I live. I would know how to act if I had new furniture. LOL I'd just spill something on it anyway. :) Thank you!

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      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Hi Bill - Life itself is simple. We make it complicated. Society has made us believe that happiness lies in "things." Nothing could be further from the truth. Possessions can become burdens unless we learn to live with the beautiful word "frugal."

      It took me years to learn this. Your powerful hub is an "iron rod" for others to hang on to as the transition to living simple becomes the approach to freedom and happiness.

      You, dear Bill and your Bev are beautiful examples of how rich life can be when finding exhilaration in universal elements...the excitement of looking at the stars and the refreshment of a morning walk.

      Sharing your message and voted up with all the best ratings. Have a beautiful and loving holiday season. Love and hugs, Audrey

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Russ, that is often the impetus for many...some disaster or fate that forces us to see things a bit differently. For me it was almost dying....a hard lesson but one I learned. :) Thank you Sir!

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      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Bill, another great insightful hub. I agree that a lot of people get way too caught up in materialism and also probably trying to "keep up with the Jones"--whoever they are... I appreciate the reminder of what is most important in life-family. You would think that would be pretty hard to forget--but sometimes you get caught up in the rat race...so thank you for the reminder.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cam, bravo to you! I commend you on taking the steps and having a plan to go after what you want. We have similar dreams; I want to write while on the road traveling, but that is three years down the road. I'm taking the steps necessary....hope I live long enough to realize it. LOL Thank you my friend; I appreciate the visit.

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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      ah, billybuc, I filled out my retirement papers a few days ago. Any day now I will get my first assignment as a traveling lab technician. I'll do short stints at hospitals around the country. Within a year I will sell my house to my son and purchase a pickup and travel trailer. Then I will keep up the traveling tech work till the "rig" is payed off (14 months). Then I will stop working summers. During this whole transition I will continue breaking into the field of writing. I just began doing content writing, so I have two writing outlets and incomes now. My long term goal is to live full time on the road in my "rig" and support myself by writing.

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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      The difference between what we need and what we want is a subject few of us tackle. Your point that living simple can be more rewarding than the opposite is important. In the aftermath of the hurricane in the Northeast, a lot of people found that living simple can work - because it has to! Thanks for your thoughts Bill. Russ Moran

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nancy, I would say that is very freeing, and I'm smiling after reading your comment. Hooray for you....hooray for me....and hooray for anyone else who follows our lead. :) Thank you Nancy!

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      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, as I have said before, returning to a simpler way of life is essential in surviving what the politicians will be throwing at us next. And you are absolutely right, we cannot rely on government to help us out--we are on our own; and it's high time we all started to realize it! I love your down-to-earth approach to living, and I embrace it wholeheartedly. Voted Way Up.

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      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      You know billybuc that I did the same thing with my life. At the time I had no intension of not working a job. But when I lost my job, I soon realized that I could make just as much money from home (actually 7 times as much). The simpler it got, the better it felt. Now I work exactly when I want and if I want. If one affiliate gets to complicated or starts requiring too much time... I quit. How freeing is that? Cheers to living simply.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, you touched upon a topic that I have thought about writing a hub for....but I'm not sure what the point would be. How do we change parenting skills in this country? When will people come to realize that most of the moral decay in this country can be attributed to piss poor parenting? It drives me nuts, and it was one of the reasons why I quit teaching.

      Okay, enough rant...thanks my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marissa....:)

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      Marissa D. Carnahan 4 years ago from Nevada

      I'll be looking for it! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marissa, you are too funny! If my son doesn't get his act together soon you can look for that plane ticket in the mail. :)

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      Marissa D. Carnahan 4 years ago from Nevada

      Bill, ever since I was a young child, I've been told that I'm wise beyond my years! I suppose that I am just an old soul. Let's go halves on the plane ticket and I'll see you guys at the airport!! :P

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marissa, how did you become so wise at such an early age? I admire you for your outlook on life. Bravo to you young lady. Hey, my son isn't married; why don't you move out west. LOL

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I have no doubt, and you are very welcome. You are a treasure and I appreciate you.

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      Marissa D. Carnahan 4 years ago from Nevada

      Rich, an astute and clever response. The majority of society has a shallow perception of the potential happiness that comes from living a simple, stress-free life. It is as if they cannot make sense of it and do not have the courage to put down their vices in exchange for modesty.

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      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill - You're talking out of date concepts here. Family is important? Come on, we've all seen that society can prosper without the family ever being involved! Why, there's no need for the teaching of manners, love, or common sense when you can provide a six year old with the latest Smart Phone! It will teach them everything! Keep up with the Jones (even though the Jones declared bankruptcy last year) and enjoy all that life has to offer. Why, if you're lucky, you can even be in an accident and have an insurance settlement support you the rest of your life. If it doesn't, the government will! How else could a household of one parent and five kids afford cable TV? Living simple is a concept that we started years ago in communes, and society rejected as a whole. Makes one wonder about the common sense of society, doesn't it? Great job, my friend!

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      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Working on it, I promise. I see it. I can imagine it. I can almost touch it. I'm on my way and this was exactly what I needed to hear to push a little harder. :-) Thanks Pal!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debbie, I know exactly what you are talking about, and I agree completely. Isn't it wonderful knowing what you want, and being surrounded by love?

      Merry Christmas to you as well, Debbie, and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, I live practically stress-free, and for some people that is like impossible to fathom....but it's true...and it's all because I was willing to change my lifestyle.

      Thank you Michelle; you are loyal and I am grateful.

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      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Bill wonderful hub.. thought provoking.. at one time in my life I would have said I am not happy with my life. but now I am very happy.. I have the life I want and I have my family and husband and my writing.. thank you for another wonderful hub

      Merry Christmas

      Debbie

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Great thoughts!! I am pretty happy writing and like Janine, writing and blogging may not bring in big bucks, but the articles and stories are things to be proud of! Lifestyles are subjective....but living a less complicated life will definitely reduce stress! Thanks for sharing!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, good morning. We sent you that rain; no need to thank us! We were glad to help you out. LOL

      Many of the things you wrote I can relate to very much. I once defined myself by my work as a teacher, and when teaching was gone I felt incomplete. Boy, how things have changed. Now I define myself by my qualities as a human being rather than what I do with my time. It has made a huge difference in self-worth.

      Thank you for a wonderful comment. Sending best wishes and happiness your way.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, thank you for making that last point. I don't think people believe that the bad stuff will affect them. They have their home, their job, and everything seems okay. Guess what? It can be gone in a heartbeat, and we have no control over it. Yes, I do believe some folks would be better off losing everything. It is a painful lesson but one that certainly wakes folks up.

      Blessings and love to you always, Beckie!

      billy

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ienjoythis, you are rapidly becoming one of my favorite hubbers. Thank you for following along on my journey, and you know, if you have any questions, you can always drop me a note.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      KerryAnita, best wishes to you as the New Year approaches. You are going after my lifestyle, and if I can be of any help to you, please feel free to drop me a note with any questions you might have.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, what a nice compliment. Thank you! I would love to meet your son; it's always encouraging to hear that there are young people out there who have their priorities straight. He must have had some fine parents. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, like you, turning to the simple life is one of my greatest decisions. Nice to know I'm not alone. :) Thank you my friend and happy holidays to you.

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      KerryAnita 4 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

      Thanks ienjoythis:)

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      Marissa D. Carnahan 4 years ago from Nevada

      KerryAnita, I wish the very best luck to you! That is an awesome New Year's Resolution. And very inspiring to me.

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      KerryAnita 4 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

      Thanks for this encouraging article Billybuc. I am currently trying really hard to get out of the 9-5 lifestyle. My New Year's Resolution is to earn an independent income from writing, blogging, and crafting by the end of 2013. Encouragement like this is always really helpful!

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      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Billy - You already know I am out of the norm as possessions do not rule my life and family is my number one priority. I gave up quite a bit to take care of family as they would have done the same for me if it were needed.

      Maybe some of these folks should live through losing their possessions as I did. It puts everything in perspective. Although, my heartbreak came from losing thing that had no money value at all. My Nan's last pair of slippers, my great grandma's sewing box - you get the point. Not once did I care about the stereo's or the clothes.

      People better start realizing that the current state of affairs is not going to change for the better. We need to learn a new way of simpler living in order to make it through.

      Beckie XO

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      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Good morning, Bill! It's a rainy morning here in central Mississippi, and during rush hour I heard sirens several times signaling commuter traffic accidents in the heavy rain. On mornings like this, I'm delighted to no longer be in the "rat race."

      Although I spent more than a quarter century in a high-stress career, I loved my job--too much. I felt my work validated me. Then health issues made it impossible for me to continue the insane pace of 60 or more weekly work hours that was "normal" for me (not to mention being "on call" even when on the few days of vacation I used). I had to retire earlier than planned, at age 61.

      For the first year of my enforced retirement, I was depressed because I identified myself so strongly with my career--by what I "did." Making matters worse was the sudden drop in my income.

      One day it dawned on me that I'd stopped missing the ego boost formerly derived from my job. In addition, I was free to care for my mother during the last three years of her life--a priceless opportunity--and spend more time with other family members. That's when I realized the importance of people versus "things."

      Now eight years into retirement, my lifestyle's changed considerably--for the better. I no longer acquire "things" I don't need, and my priorities are much different than when I was employed. They don't include acquisition--in fact, I've been shedding many of the "things" that encumbered my life. I have time for activities I really enjoy, especially time with family, reading and writing.

      I don't know that I'd have agreed with your call for a more simple life even ten years ago, but being forced to evaluate my lifestyle was good for me. Now I agree with you completely and say, "Bravo!"

      Voted Up++++

      Jaye

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      As always right to the core of things. Though this life style you talk about does not apply I do feel like we could cut back a lot. And still be very happy. I think you have a real challenge, the many things you do ..sound like fun. Raising chickens, vegetables, talking free walks, saving extra dollars for a trip to the ice cream store or a movie. And the rat race is so dumb..why..You give up really good years to stay ahead of the game. My son has the perfect solution. Somehow he has a thriving business but he is always taking vacations with the family, goes to school to help out with the kids, takes his kids everywhere and plays with them. I love courage and you have shown that you have a huge dose of that..and enjoying life..it sure seems like it.

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      Sandra Busby 4 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Billybuc, what a great hub and what good responses from a wide range of hubbers. Making the choice to keep your lifestyle in line so that you have enough energy and time left over to enjoy your life has been one of my finest choices. I recommend it highly. Keep up the good work. Voted up and shared.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Louisa, I love it.....luck? I love your answer about luck! Some have told me I'm lucky and I tell them I paid for this lifestyle with years of blood, sweat, and mistakes. LOL

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marissa, you go girl! You can stand up there on that soapbox as long as you want; I love your message and your attitude towards life. When I grow up I want to be just like you. :) Thank you my new, bright friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Patchofearth, I love your Hub name....it reminds me of living simple. :) You sound like you live on my budget...and we are both happy...imagine that!

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      patchofearth 4 years ago from somewhere in the appalachian foothills

      I live on less than 20,000 a year and don't even own a car-- I do own a house though. It wasn't a huge change for me since I was raised "poor." But, yes, knowing what you want from life really makes the difference. And then knowing what you are willing to let go of or "sacrifice" is the next step.

      Great Hub.

      P.S. Love the quote from Lao Tzu

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      Marissa D. Carnahan 4 years ago from Nevada

      Bill, your insight has yet to disappoint me - I was smiling the whole time I was reading, with a few chuckles thrown in too. Living simple. Let me take a tiny step up onto my soapbox. At 22, I've already cut out all the B.S. Materials are possible with my income but I choose to relish in simplicity and see beauty in what you cannot buy on payday. I rent a tiny apartment for $475 per month (that includes all the utilities). It was quite shabby when I first moved in but I put some elbow grease into it: added some paint, did some light repair work, and now it looks pretty decent. No TV (maybe I'll get one eventually). I have my laptop that my dad bought for me when I was a freshman in college. I have my books, some used furniture, an old clawfoot tub that I insisted the landlord keep instead of replacing with a new one, and most importantly, I have my peace of mind.

      "It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly."

      And now, I will step down.

      Thanks for reading.

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      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      Bill, I agree with you 100%. Many people over the years have told Barry and me, "You guys are so lucky to have the lifestyle you have." I certainly feel lucky in some ways-- to be born in a democracy, to be given the opportunity to get an education, for instance-- but our lifestyle doesn't have anything to do with luck. We made choices, and these were sacrifices. Other people make other choices. What I spend money on probably more than anything? Airfares, often to see my family. Works for me. Thanks for a plainspoken hub.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, the mere fact that you can answer that question means you are heading in the right direction. So many people have no clue what makes them happy or what to do about it. Thank you as always; you are a dear friend who is loyal beyond words.

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Beautiful Bill and have to tell you that even though this wasn't my path in the beginning, I truly do love writing and my blog has become something that I not enjoy, but am proud of how much I have worked on it. That said I do hope that someday, I can look back and see that this was what I was meant to be doing all along. As for what makes me happy first and foremost, you know it is my girls (even when they are being beastly and driving me quite mad!). Thanks seriously for always giving me such great food for thought!!