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The Simple Life Requires A Change In Perspective
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
I love porch swings. I have since I was a little kid, sitting and swinging with my dad on warm summer nights.
I love the sound of crickets at night right after the sun sets, and the sky is ruby red and the air is still.
I love watching fireflies. There is something magical about them as they illuminate the night and make the backyard come alive.
I love the smell of clothes that have dried on a clothesline outside, and the crispness of the sheets when I slip in-between them at night.
I loved having my mom tuck me in at night when I was a little tyke, and I loved tucking my son in when he was young and I will love tucking my grandchildren in when I am blessed to have some.
I love waking up in the morning and realizing that the world is my oyster just waiting for me to shuck it.
I love going for walks with Bev and saying hi to the neighbors, and the smell of barbecues in the summer.
I love listening to the ballgame on the radio while I lay on the grass and watch the clouds drift by.
I love my life. It is a simple life with simple pleasures and I embrace each and every day.
WHAT IS LIVING SIMPLE?
Some people associate simple living with frugality and I really don’t think that is accurate. Frugal living is something completely different in my humble opinion, since it is much more concerned with living an economically Spartan lifestyle. It is all about needs vs wants in spending.
Simple Living, on the other hand, has more to do with getting back to a simpler life where priorities are in order of real importance and not Madison Avenue importance. What do I mean by that?
What is the most important thing in your life? Most people would say family, right? If family and loved ones are your number one priority, then your life should be centered around them; not your job, not your hobbies and not your endless quest for riches….your family should be the main focus of your life.
Perhaps an example will help clarify this.
A good friend of mine from the writers’ site HubPages is a living example of the quest for Simple Living. Her name is Cyndi and you can find her writing and paintings here.
Cyndi was a teacher a little over a year ago. She loved her students but the job had become stressful because of some internal school conflicts. The stress was taking its toll on Cyndi and she would come home at the end of a work day not nearly as happy as when she had left for work. Sound familiar? It does to me because the same thing happened to me a little over two years ago. Like Cyndi I had always loved teaching, but because of an administrator intent on making everyone miserable, I found my love of teaching diminishing daily.
Anyway, Cyndi gave her notice at the end of that school year and left her teaching job. During the past year she has been developing her own writing and arts business and spending quality time with her husband. You can tell, just through her Facebook posts, that a weight has been lifted from her shoulders and she is much happier pursuing her artistic passion and spending more time with her loved ones.
I know the feeling because I did exactly the same thing in October, 2010. I left my teaching job and career of eighteen years and starting pursuing a writing career. Today I am infinitely happier and I again love life on a daily basis.
That, my friends, is Living Simple.
I went from making $52,000 with benefits to $0 and no benefits overnight, and I did it because involvement in the rat race was no longer worth my happiness. I chose quality of life over quantity of possessions and life today is simple and fulfilling.
The Need For Change
- The United States Economy: Economic Slavery 2012
If you are in the bottom 99% of American society, this article might interest you.
A MOVEMENT IS UNDERWAY
Since making the move, and writing about it, I have found many others out there who are doing the same thing. In an economy that is shaky at best and sometimes downright frightening, more and more people are saying “to hell with it” and stepping off the treadmill.
What I have found is an increasing number of people who want the same things that I want, a simpler lifestyle that supports their need to get back in touch with basics.
Is it unsettling at first? You bet it is! I have worked one job or another for forty-nine of my sixty-four years. To suddenly not have a job is akin to losing an arm or leg. Most of us are programmed to work, eat and sleep, then get up the next day and do the same thing. We work long hours, pay the bills, see our families when we have time, and repeat the process until it is time to retire and slowly fade into the sunset. It is endless, it is tiring and it leaves many with a sense of emptiness wondering if this is all there is to life.
Make no mistake about it, this is a tough economy, but interestingly the tough times are forcing many to re-evaluate their lives and ask themselves some tough questions. Is it all worth it? If owning a large home means being buried under huge mortgage payments, is it worth it? Is it worth it to build up debt in order to buy things for a family you rarely see because you are working 60 hour weeks to pay for it all?
Do you see the insanity of it all?
- Henry David Thoreau Quotes - The Quotations Page
A list of quotes by Henry David Thoreau about the business of living
WHAT I SUGGEST IS NOT REVOLUTIONARY
Anyone who has read Thoreau knows that the concept of a simple lifestyle is not unique. Back in the early 1830’s, Henry David was roaming around questioning the wisdom of too many possessions. He was quite concerned with man’s preoccupation with doing things and owning things and letting things run their lives. In his estimation the only reasons he could see for working were to provide food, shelter and a feeling of self-worth. He believed in the value of hard work, but he believed that value was intrinsic rather than measured by the number of possessions your earnings could buy.
Now we are faced with a new economy and some tough decisions have to be made. Millions are asking themselves if their past beliefs fit today’s world. Millions of others are finding that they cannot rely on their employers or big business or big government. They are coming to the realization that fiscal security begins at home and it is found in the decisions we make individually.
If you spend less then you need less money! There is a truism that is hard to argue with.
If you need less money you don’t have to work as hard or as long. Another truism!
If you don’t work as hard or as long, you have more time to enjoy life and loved one.
A Moment With Bill About Simplicity
WE HAVE LOST OUR WAY AS A SOCIETY
Values and morals are on a decline in today’s world. Anyone paying attention to the daily news sees the truth in that statement. It all begins at home. Raising children demands a full-time effort, and if the parents are too busy to raise their children then the internet and television will do the job for them. And what message are we sending to our children if we are too busy working to spend quality time with them?
If you are a parent then I ask you to take a look at your lifestyle. If you are spending more time working in order to buy the latest gadgets, and less time with your children, then I would suggest some re-evaluation is in order.
If you are a couple and you are spending more time working in order to maintain your lifestyle, and less time working on your relationship, then I would suggest some re-evaluation is in order.
If you are working longer hours and have less to show for it, then I would suggest some re-evaluation is in order.
And if you are constantly tired and find no joy in life then yes, I would suggest some re-evaluation is in order.
MY FOUNDATION IS SOLID TODAY
This weekend I am going to spend quality time with the love of my life. We will go on a picnic, and a walk, and most likely a drive in the country. We will see our kids and we will laugh with them. We will smile at our neighbors and we will enjoy the hell out of every single moment.
The garden is ready for planting, the weather is turning warmer and soon the crickets will serenade us nightly as we sit out on the lawn and soak in the sights and sounds of a simple life.
Does that sound good to you? Well you can have it if you want it. To paraphrase a movie saying, build it and it will come. In other words, build a simple lifestyle and happiness will come.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)