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Embrace The Simple Life and Say Goodbye To the Madness

Updated on October 10, 2013

In the Beginning

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You love your family, so your want to provide for them. You work long, hard hours to provide a good home, some frills, a nice vacation, a new car, and maybe a few extra toys. More than likely you purchased some of those things on credit. Certainly the home has a mortgage, the car has payments, and maybe there is a credit card of two tossed into the mix.

A few years pass, and suddenly your buying power isn’t what it used to be. The kids are into sports, everyone needs braces, the vacations are costing more and the interest rates have risen. Maybe you miss a payment here or there, so you work some extra hours to make it up, or you rob Peter to pay Paul.

Welcome to the year 2013, and you are one of the majority of Americans who suddenly feels like a rat on a spinning wheel. Where did it all go wrong?

It’s all in the stinkin’ thinkin’, ladies and gentlemen, and that thinking must be reversed in order for you to have any hope of turning this mess around and finding some serenity.

The first two sentences of the scenario above were perfectly fine; then it all went to hell in a handbasket.

You love your family! Check! You want to provide for them! Check! Now, stop right there and let’s have a chat.

Simple times and the love of family
Simple times and the love of family | Source

Love Your Family and Want to Provide for Them

Yes, you love your family. No doubt of that fact. You are a caring, compassionate man or woman who is trying to do your very best for your loved ones, and you are to be commended for it.

Yes, you want to provide for them, but here we run into problems. What does it mean to provide? If it means to give them shelter, food, and companionship, that is all well and good….and as it should be.

However, if it means to give them creature comforts, entertainment, bigger and better, we have now entered the stinkin’ thinkin’ that I referred to earlier.

If you have a family, what is the most important thing that you can do for them, other than to provide shelter and food? If you said give them quality time then you are right on! What good is love if it is not shared with those you love? We do not live in a bubble; if we love then we must be available to give that love. Working fifty or sixty hour weeks to pay for bills that were accumulated buying stuff, all the while being away from loved ones, is backasswards thinking, and that is where so many in today’s world have taken a wrong turn.

The Error of Our Ways

Yes, I said our ways, for I, too, fell for this trap at one time in my life. We are a society in love with consumerism. Bigger is better! He who has the most toys wins! If I love my family with a twenty-inch television, then I must love them twice as much with a forty-inch television. If I love my family with a Kia sedan, then think how much I love them with a Hummer. Why own a 1,500 square foot home that is adequate and provides for our basic needs, when a 4,000 square foot home with all the modern conveniences will show my family I love them that much more?

And I say what is the point?

Or how about those who would say, “Hey, I work hard, and I deserve to live the good life with some extra possessions and toys?” To those I would say there is absolutely nothing wrong with it as long as it doesn’t require working extra hours, thus taking you away from those you say you love, or as long as it doesn’t require going into debt to do so.

Kick back and relax
Kick back and relax | Source

More Backassward Thinking

Whoever decided that it was a good idea to start working right out of school, work forty or fifty years, and then retire when you are too old and tired to enjoy life, obviously had their heads planted firmly up their…..you know where!

When I was teaching I was not one of those teachers who advocated that every child should go to college right out of high school. I often told kids that they should get out and experience life. Work long enough to save some money and then go travel. See the world…fall in love…get some life experience. There will be plenty of time for them to strap themselves onto the capitalism gurney and get sucked into the system. Why start right after high school when there is so much more to life?

Naturally, the kids would look at me like I had just beamed down from another planet, and their parents were sure I was a heretic. You see, most people buy into the Establishment. Conformity is the great equalizer in society; as long as everyone is dancing to the beat of the same drummer, society is happy. Heaven help those who dare dance to a different beat. We label them as oddballs, and we slowly shake our heads in sadness because they are obviously confused and in need of help.

Oddly enough, the oddballs and non-conformists seem to be having one hell of a fun time.

The burden of stuff

REFLECTIONS

My best friend in high school was Frank. Frank was a fun-loving guy, a very good athlete, and somewhat of a screwball. You never really knew what Frank was going to do next, or what he was thinking. Being around Frank was like holding your wet finger about two millimeters from a live power outlet. It was a heck of a thrill but at times it could be a bit shocking.

We roomed in college together, and while I pursued my dad’s dream and majored in Marketing and Economics, Frank majored in Philosophy. I remember laughing the day Frank came back to our room and said he had announced his major and it was Philosophy. I said, “What the hell are you doing? How do you expect to get a job with a Philosophy degree?”

Frank’s answer has stayed with me for forty-two years. He said, “Who cares about a job; I just like the subject.”

Oh!

After Frank graduated he worked on a tramp steamer and went to Europe where he travelled for a couple years. He worked on a ship again to gain passage back to the States, and then he worked odd jobs while he travelled around America. Finally, when he was thirty, he met a woman and they lived in a commune growing their own vegetables and selling them to locals.

Frank and his wife live in northern California now; they live in a 1,200 square foot home. They don’t own cars but rather prefer walking to and from work. Go into their home and you sit on bean bag chairs, and their home is comfortable and filled with love. They have been married now for thirty years and they smile constantly.

What’s the point? I think you are all smart enough to figure out the point of that story.

Is it possible to live a life like Frank? Of course it is! If your needs are few then you really don’t have to work that much to meet those needs. If you do not fall for the trap of credit you have to work less to pay your bills. If possessions mean very little to you then you need less money. This isn’t brain surgery but rather common sense.

By the way: I lived life the way society says it should be lived, and I’ve never been to Europe!

Follow a new path to simplicity
Follow a new path to simplicity | Source

Sit with me awhile

Is It a Trend or an Anomaly?

I read an article online on Yahoo the other day. The article stated that more and more professionals i.e. lawyers, doctors, executives, are leaving their professions by the age of fifty because they are burned out and tired of the rat race. They have worked long, hard hours, and they are emotionally drained. Many of them stated they needed to drop out and spend more quality time with their loved ones.

Midlife crisis or an awakening?

Only you can answer that question. I know what my answer is, and I am living that answer. You see, like Frank, I finally figured it out. I dropped out of the rat race, paid off my debt, and quit my job. I now do what I love doing, namely writing, and I spend gobs of quality time with my loved ones. My needs are taken care of, as are the needs of my loved ones, and I do not have to work fifty hours to meet those needs. I am as close to financial freedom as I have been since I graduated from college many decades ago.

My blood pressure is excellent, my heartbeat is strong, and there is a smile on my face daily.

You see, I am no longer confused by what it means to provide for my family. I provide shelter….I provide food….and I provide love!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

working

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