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Do You Want To Live For Stuff Or Live For Life?

Updated on March 13, 2014

How Many Quality Hours Per Day Do You Spend With Family?

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Yes, I Am Becoming a Fanatic

And I’m proud of it!

I don’t expect the younger members of my reading audience to understand. They have no frame of reference. They did not live, as I did, fifty years ago when consumerism was just starting to really spread its disease. They did not learn at an early age how to fix things, how to do without luxuries, or how to squeeze a nickel until the buffalo poops.

Those who are in their twenties have always known consumerism. Credit has always been a way of life for many of them. The concept of only buying things that you can afford is foreign for many. Buying according to needs rather than wants? Are you kidding me they say? Where’s the fun in that?

So I understand where they are coming from. Now I’m going to explain where I am coming from. You see, I have some perspective, and I speak from experience. I have seen the spending habits of our society change over the last half-century. I have watched as the middle class disappeared, and I have witnessed the great rise of the economic aristocracy who have climbed over the discarded bodies of the working man to sit atop their luxury condos.

I have seen consumerism dig its talons into the average man and woman and not let them go until they were writhing on the ground bleeding cash and slowing the bleeding with credit.

Yes, I have watched, and I have shaken my head in dismay, because I know….I know….that there is a better way to live.

Let me give you some statistics to chew on.

This lady is my priority
This lady is my priority | Source

An Average Day

The latest statistics for the year 2011:

The average size home in the U.S. is 2,480 square feet; average family size is 2.6 people. That computes to 954 square feet of living space per person. In 1950 the average family was larger but the living space PER FAMILY was only 983 square feet.

The average American spends 43.2 minutes each day shopping. That is 261 hours per year or the equivalent of 6 ½ work weeks spent on shopping. Women shop more, a whopping 399 hours per year, or 8 ½ years of shopping if they reach the age of 63.

Americans spend, on average, 21.5 hours weekly maintaining their stuff; this figure includes cleaning, laundry, sewing, household management, lawn and garden car, repair and purchasing goods and services.

The amount of time on maintenance almost triples by the time Americans reach 65 years of age.

Let’s put it another way. Let’s look at the average day of a U.S. citizen.

During a 24 hour day, the average American spends:

  • 8 hours sleeping
  • 1.5 hours preparing for work and commuting to work
  • 9.5 hours taking care of possessions and working
  • 5 hours living and enjoying life

So, out of an average day, our intrepid citizens actually kick back and enjoy life, family, and friends five hours out of every twenty-four.

So, are you average? Worse than average? Better than average? Are you spending more than five hours each day enjoying life, or less? Are you spending more than five hours per day focusing on your children, on your relationships, and on a quality life, or less?

Even If You Are Average

Seriously my friends, is this how you envisioned your life when you were a teen? Spending eleven hours per day in the pursuit of consumerism and only five hours per day enjoying life?

In all fairness, I should tell you how I fare when compared to the national averages:

  • 7 hours sleeping
  • 8 hours working
  • 1/2 hour taking care of possessions
  • 8 1/2 hours living and enjoying life

So I’m doing better with the whole “enjoying life” thing, but I’m still not happy with those figures, and quite frankly you shouldn’t be either.

I have some good news for you: it does not have to be this way. You can change those figures so that you are spending more time enjoying your life.

This young man is my priority
This young man is my priority | Source

Try This Little Experiment

If you were to get rid of everything in your home that you do not need, how much extra space would you have? Let me put it another way: would all of the items you need fit into a smaller home if you discarded all the stuff you don’t need?

Keep going with me. If you got rid of the stuff and lived in a smaller home of 983 square feet, would the upkeep be less? Would the mortgage be less?

If you cut back on your credit spending, would your bills be less? If your bills and your mortgage were less would you have to work as much?

If you worked less would you be able to spend more time living life?

Fine, you say you don’t want to live in a smaller home. No problem; let’s take a different angle.

Let’s say for the next six months you cut back on buying “wants” by 50%. You cut back on buying furniture, knick-knacks, useless convenience items, etc. If you do that, would the “upkeep” hours diminish? Of course they would; it’s only logical that they do.

Let’s say you eliminated credit and for the next six months you only buy according to needs. Would you need more money then? No, you would not, and if you need less money would you need to work less? Of course you could work less, and working less means more time spent with family and friends.

See how this works?

Why This Doesn’t Work for Many

I’m a realist by nature. I am not a bubbly, Pollyanna optimist nor am I a grumpy, discouraged, dark cloud pessimist. I’ve observed life long enough now so that very few things surprise me, especially the actions of my fellow men and women.

Many people simply don’t give a damn about self-sufficiency and quite frankly, many people love consumerism. They like to play with their toys. They love the feeling of security and comfort they get from living in 3,000 square feet. They love their boats and diamonds and three cars and all the latest gadgets that money can buy, and they see nothing wrong with working their asses off for those luxuries. Well, I’m not here to pass judgment. If that’s what they like then I wish them well.

But there are others who are struggling and can’t seem to get ahead no matter how hard or long they work. There are others who barely see their children during the week because of long hours at the job. There are others who want to change but are afraid to try or feel trapped but don’t know what to do.

And it is to those people that I say just consider my arguments for awhile and see if you can spot the logic in them. Very few people are truly trapped in their living situation. They have just made decisions that leave them feeling trapped. There is a huge difference between the two.

A quality life is my priority
A quality life is my priority | Source

One Last Personal Note

I have an online friend who has lived a very similar life as I have lived….it is almost eerie when I think about it. Like me she earned a six-figure income. Like me she was homeless. Like me she now embraces self-sufficiency and like me she is taking steps to move to the country and live a completely self-sufficient lifestyle.

There are others like us, others who finally woke up one day and realized that when you die, they don’t back up a UHaul truck at your gravesite and unload your possessions.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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

      Interesting reflection, Deb. I'm very happy that you are happy. Life is indeed good for both of us. Thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have always valued simplicity. Comsumerism got me once, but it wasn't very long. I get to spend a great deal of time outside and that pleases me. My life is excellent, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. If I had someone else in it, it would have to change too much, and it would no longer please me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I expect that is a common refrain for many parents in the year 2014. The kids are inundated with outside influences and advertising and peer pressure....you have my sympathies for sure.

      Thank you for your thoughts my friend.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Sadly I see my daughter growing up in a world of consumerism the older she gets. How many times does she say to me, "but so and so has it, why can't I?". We try very hard to get away from stuff and have quality time. It's not easy with all the external pressures. We have a weekly game night and we always make time at least one day a weekend to do something as a family. Like I tell my daughter, you can live without it....

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

      Rusti, it is so important that people hear your words. I almost died in 2006 and I have not been the same since. We get one chance at life, and I'll be damned if I'm going to waste it on the mundane. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      bill

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 3 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      Billy I read this and smiled. I smiled cause twice I died of a massive heart attack, after that something changed in me.I started taking cruises. Our taxes are due back by tomorrow.I'm planning a sexy weekend in Canada since I live right close to the I-5 bridge to Washington then what 4 hours to Seattle be in Canada by noon. Got passports. Also, I just got back from 20 days around the Hawaiian Islands. My mother in law and some people were like, " you can't afford it. You should be on social Security to go there!" ( I am from dying and an bad accident in 2003 lol)the way I see it I can't afford not too. So we don't go anywhere all year I book and pay off a cruise (our taxes are taking us to Canada)Family and fun ARE as important at work. So once in a awhile play hooky (not alot ONCE IN AWHILE LOL 0 go hiking, to the beach, go for a drive with the family , or even just make time for those you love. You see my family almost lost me twice,THATS when we started living... THANK you Billy.

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

      Indeed Perspycacious!

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

      Suraj, you asked some very important questions. I have known a number of people who defined themselves by their work and then were totally lost when they could no longer do their work....that, my friend, is not a good way to live.

      Thank you for your excellent thoughts.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Rural Punjabi, Well said.

    • suraj punjabi profile image

      suraj punjabi 3 years ago from jakarta

      The first thought that came to my mind when I finished this hub was "what? I have reached the end of the hub???" Fantastic hub, the first hub where I actually felt disappointment because it ended too soon! Lol!

      Yes I totally agree with you on this hub. one more reason why I feel a lot of people work too hard is because they feel it is their duty and not working the long hours means you are taking it too easy and not being serious enough (Something my dad keeps telling me). I believe there should be a balance and this balance can only be achieved if we set our priorities in life.

      One question we should ask is "if you are your work, then when you are not working what are you? We should not allow ourselves to be defined by ANYTHING.

      We are a part of something greater that is beyond definition so why should we limit ourselves to a definition?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate the information Perspycacious....we will definitely be paying close attention to that.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Bill, Despite four visits to a Social Security office, we lost $9,000 of spouse income while my wife waited to draw the maximum on hers. The SS doesn't seem anxious to inform us of all the benefits we may be eligible for, and experts make money giving lectures on those benefits. Retroactive benefits can only go back six months when finally applied for.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Perspycacious; good information to know.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Note: Check on the spouse income benefits from Social Security which azpply until the second eligible spouse draws on his or hers,. Also remember that in the event of the death of one member of an eligible couple, the surviving spouse has a choice of continuing to draw their own Social Security retirement, or the monthly amount previously drawn by the deceased partner.

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

      vkwok, thanks for your loyalty. I appreciate it very much.

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

      Jo, I think travel is an admirable luxury. If I had the money that is what I would do too.

      As for living frugally, I've been doing it for so long that it is now second nature....and I'm fine with it.

      Thank you for your loyalty. I appreciate it.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for another thought-provoking hub, Bill!

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 3 years ago from Tennessee

      The other day my husband and I were discussing the financial future of the one of us who would be left behind if one of us dies, a necessary discussion for those of us aging. Since my husband's income is considerably larger than mine, I would be the one to feel the blunt of this more. 'But' I told John, 'I don't mind living frugally.' 'I think you enjoy it' he told me.

      We are comfortable now in retirement, but still live modestly. Our one luxury is travel.

      Another great article here. I'm trying to become a little more active at this site and enjoying reading some of your hubs. I also checked out your blog. Wish you much success.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Perspycacious; much-appreciated.

    • profile image

      Perspycacious 3 years ago

      Shared this link with family and friends. Perhaps one or two of them will comment, too.

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

      I'm glad you liked it lisavanvorst...thank you and enjoy your weekend.

    • lisavanvorst profile image

      Lisa VanVorst 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Great hub, definitely something to think about.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shiley, your comment made me smile. I hope you get decent weather for that camping because right now in Olympia it is pouring. :) Thank you for the visit.

    • Shiley profile image

      Karen Shiley 3 years ago from Washington

      I have this week off from work and have spent it getting rid of extra stuff in my garage. I feel happy to be getting rid of things but have to wonder what I might have been doing instead if I had never brought all of this stuff into my house to begin with. Next week I am going camping!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, isn't it amazing? Your story is perfect....and in truth I stood in his shoes a long time ago. I just didn't see the truth...but today I do and I'll continue to shout from the rooftops....because hey, that's what we writers do.

      Thanks Sis!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Author Cheryl, your last line is beautiful....as long as that is the case then you have everything you need in life and I say Bravo!

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! This seems to logical to me and I don't understand why others don't see it. We work too long during our lives and enjoy life too little. I think it is time to switch that.

      Enjoy your weekend my friend

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Not smug at all, Ann; it sounds very realistic to me. I love that your mortgage is paid off...I love that you are downsizing.....who will survive? Well, it sounds like it will be you and me. LOL

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend and thank you!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Perspycacious, I have some of the greatest follows on HP and their comments are always frosting on the cake. Thanks for your thoughts...your comments are always worth waiting for.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CyberShelley, I believe you are absolutely right....and I find that a bit sad. All those years wasted chasing our tails when we could have been living. Thank you for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      theBat, exactly! I don't need extravagance; I just need to live. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I will never understand that kind of lifestyle...children need their parents; children do not need possessions. Thank you for sharing your experience in Sweden.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aplethora, thank you so much for your kind words. What is there in life without family? An awful lot of loneliness. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! The whole way of thinking is upside down. I'm just trying to point out that there is another way in life.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia! Just one more way to get ahead financially.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill......I needn't go on with what you already know about my drive for an economically sensible lifestyle....but lately, I've realized how much sooner I should have adopted this attitude.

      I look around me and want to shake some of the "youngsters," take them by the hand and EXPLAIN. You are so right, bill, this is their world...this is what they know. VERY different from our generation.

      A quick story that sums it up: One of my sons excitedly showed me the diamond he would present his future wife. I looked at it and then at him and said, "Wow, that looks like a down-payment on your first home."......He looked at me like I had 2 heads!

      Truth was I did. one for myself and one for him! LOL.."EXPERIENCE,"....there's no substitute!

    • Author Cheryl profile image

      Cheryl A Whitsett 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

      I have lived poor and I have lived middle class and neither make any difference to me. My husband works hard to provide the life we live now and it is filled with many things that we like to do such as travel now and not wait until we are retired. I work part time now instead of full time. We have a nice 2,650 square foot home with a pool and pets and living the America dream. However, if we lost it all today and ended up living in a tent, the only thing that would matter to me is to be with him. My soul mate, my best friend and my everything that I ever needed in my life. I don't treasure possessions but with the time I can spend with him.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Wonderful; once again Billy .Your no nonsense approach gets your points across with no messing. Keep them coming and I shall keep on reading and learning.

      Here's wishing you and Bev a wonderful day and lots of love from Wales.

      Eddy.

      Eddy.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Hi bill! On selling my last house, I managed to get rid of my mortgage. I was thrilled as it meant I could stop working. We down-sized to a perfectly adequate town-house with small but adequate garden. We're still trying to de-clutter because that always takes rather longer! However, life is so much easier. Ok, there was a little luck along the way but I did work hard to get to that point and I've had some bad experiences too.

      I've said it many times but I'll say it again - who's going to survive when computers fail, when the world goes mad and everything takes a dive? Those who can make and do and mend and work the land. Those who make an effort and know how to live without having a load of cash or a load of debt. We're winning already! Does that sound smug? Maybe, but I don't care! I think it's true.

      Have a great day, bill! Ann

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Bill, these comments are nearly as good as the Hub! And what's more, they are the proof of the pudding: simplify, simplify, simplify.....and love life again. The first step is to get debt free and then live within our means. Keep the minds sharp, the bodies healthy, and thrust in our sickles to do anything we can to make America stronger stasrting with its spirit. Go for it!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      Hi Billy, I think you have to reach a certain age to fully appreciate what you are saying here and as you say, understanding. The older you get the more you realise how little true value things have. The stuff that really counts and is irreplaceable is the love that surrounds us from family and friends.

    • theBAT profile image

      theBAT 3 years ago

      While I was reading your hub, I recalled that concept called "minimalism". To enjoy life, one has to live simply and in modest means. As it was said, "live simply so that others may simply live." Enjoy life. Live the moment. You said it right. Great hub.

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      A great hub! I am very concerned in this matter. In Sweden most people work full time and picks up there children around 17.00-18.00, every day. Our children are of to kindergarten from the age of 1. Why? Because there lives demands that they earn so much money... I have friends having 5 TVs, 5IPads, 5smartphones and so on. That cost, alot. Every month. Thank you for sharing some great thoughts! Voted up:)

    • Aplethora23 profile image

      AngPow 3 years ago from North Cali

      BillyBuc!

      I am always impressed by your Hubs. And what a sweetheart you are for professing your love for your family the way that you did here. How awesome is that!!! :) Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub with valuable thoughts to really live life in the true sense. We are so busy earning that we forget what it is to really enjoy every moment that we live and spend time with our family. Stepping back and taking a breather and thinking about what we are doing will definitely help.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Interesting thoughts and suggestions, as always, Bill. There's a lot to think about here. Reducing the purchase of non-essential things sounds like an excellent idea to me!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, you might be right about it being easier at our age. I'm not sure I could have done it when I was a single parent, but then we never really had that much during those years anyway. I just know it was not that difficult for me to follow this path and I've never been happier.

      Thanks for sharing your story and for the visit.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

      Great article, Bill! During our pre-retirement years, my husband and I were avid consumers, but we determined to change that. Getting rid of our "stuff" and downsizing from a big house to an RV was the best move we ever made. It's amazing how freeing it is to be rid of so many possessions! Living in an RV has taught us that we not only don't need very much to live, we really don't even miss all the things we used to think were necessary. The time we used to spend on maintaining our stuff, shopping, etc., we now spend traveling, reading, talking, enjoying nature. I really admire the people who can scale down their lifestyles while they are still working a job and raising families. I think it was easier for us after retirement...wish we had done it sooner!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeannie, I love that you are thinking about it. Whoever dreamed up the idea of a 40 hour work week was one sick puppy. I think we were meant to play and not work. Having said that, I write 40 hours per week but it's at home and I love doing it, so I don't consider it work like I did other jobs. Good luck!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is such an interesting topic and one I've been thinking about a lot lately. I've decided to start getting rid of some stuff I don't need, focus more on writing, and simply work less. I don't know how well I will do any of this, but I am fed up with working 40 to 50 hours a week. Of course, I don't consider HubPages work. I suppose the day I do is the day I won't get any joy of it... so I will just look at it as a hobby. :-) Great hub and voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I love the fact that you are happy despite being forced to change your life. Not everyone could do that and I applaud you for it. It speaks volumes about your outlook on life. Thank you!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      I was forced to downsize about a year ago due to financial circumstances. I gave up a big 4/3 house, gave all my treasures to my children, and moved into a tiny apartment. I am very happy. Yes, we could all learn to live on less if we wanted to.

      Great Hub, voted up etc.etc. and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, gifts for grandchildren don't qualify as stuff. :) They are necessities! Nice point about cleaning the house. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I've been there five times and can't wait to return. Love it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you mylindaelliott....you realized what so many do not. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Very good point! I cut back on my "wants" years ago. If it's not needed, then it's not bought. With the exception of buying gifts for my granddaughters, I'm not perfect! :) I do not like "stuff" or "clutter" if it doesn't serve a purpose, I don't want it. Makes cleaning house a bit easier too. Fab hub Bill!

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Yes, I did go to Yellowstone when I was about 8 with my parents. I saw bears and moose and elk. It was fabulous. Truly one of God's great wonders!

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

      At some point I realize I had so much stuff it was taking over. I didn't have time to take care of all of it. I got rid of so much. I still have too much stuff but it's so much better.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is scary, Bill, and I'm just trying to raise awareness and give people something to think about. Thanks for thinking about it. :) I hope you are having a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you cecileportilla. I have had too many friends and family members die young after working hard all their lives for stuff...what is the point?

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      I can't argue with anything you wrote Bill. We need to get rid of "stuff". We could definitely downsize although our home is by no means huge. We need to become more self-sufficient. The numbers you quoted here are staggering. All that time spent shopping and maintaining stuff? Scary.

    • cecileportilla profile image

      Cecile Portilla 3 years ago from West Orange, New Jersey

      Wise words billybuc! What you have described has become a way of life for so many. People are literally working themselves death to accumulate more and more things that they never get a chance to enjoy. Life is so short. By the time some people decide to stop and relax they are too worn out or sick. Really enjoyed the last paragraph!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I was watching a speech by Leo Buscaglia...he talks about learning to communicate with people through touch, something he says is missing in today's society...he calls it knowing someone through Braille. :) I understand about the hugs and purrs. Thank you for that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! I don't mind you going to that subject. :) Did you go to Yellowstone? My favorite place on earth. :) Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, that was beautiful. If that is a sampling of what your novel will be like then count me in as a satisfied customer. Great writing!

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      People and experiences spent together -- and of course feline friends -- are the best stuff of life. I like the kind of "stuff" that hugs you back or purrs. The rest is just gravy.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      When a person thinks back on all the good times in his or her life, it's always actions that come to mind - being with friends at IHOP, going to Yellowstone with your parents, visiting waterfalls in Tennessee with your spouse. It's never about things. As the Bible says, "you can't serve God and mammon." I know you don't like to go to that subject, but that's what it amounts to. Worldly things and toys don't get us to heaven. Our relationship with God and how we interact with each other does. I enjoyed this hub, Bill, and you are so right! We are just too attached to toys!

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      I am going to paraphrase here: 'We will do the best we know how to do until we learn better. Then, we will do better.'

      There is not really a utopia to be reached. The trip is the fun. The unexpected are the memories. The times that are the hardest will be

      the ones we remember with heart. There is only a whisper of a fine line between the tears and the laughter.

      We have to find the wisdom to recognize that which is important. That which is important in our life is what will bring us joy.

      Bitchin' Hub, Bro!

      DJ.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, it is the winter that will not end. Stay warm and safe my friend.

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your hope of snow leaving.... we just received another 4 inches yesterday! I can't believe it!!! And the snow is nothing... it's the cold.... brrrrr!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, you said a mouthful there. It's an endless circle once one starts it....people work hard and long to provide for their kids, but all that working takes them away from their children who need them to be there as role models and educators. That cycle really needs to be broken.

      Thank you as always for your thoughts. I hope the snow leaves you alone soon.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Madeleine, that is a very sweet thing for you to say. Beware of looking up at false idols. :) Isn't that what the Bible tells us? Well, I'm flattered anyway. As for your house...it is just a house...the family makes it a home. Hold tight to that family and you will be fine.

      Thank you my dear.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I applaud you for being so honest. You are frightened....well anyone with a brain would be. LOL I'm not making light of your situation and I truly understand it. I came from a poor background, and when I started making six figure incomes I couldn't spend it fast enough.

      What does the future hold? Well, I don't know. On quiet nights when I allow myself to, I think about the worst that could happen, not having any money in retirement....then I hear my dad tell me to keep moving forward and things will work out...and so I do.

      I will make enough from writing to get us through....I have to believe that. I have to believe in my abilities and let whatever natural talent I have carry us through.

      bill

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Our lives shouldn't be define by what we own, our salary income or even the kind of car we drive; all those things are quite superficial and as you said we don't take those in our grave ....except for some eccentric people who manage to get burried with their car ;-)

      I couldn't believe your statistic of time spent shopping each day! I am definitely not part of those statistics because I hate to shop!

      I think with the years, our society put to much emphasis on our worth instead of the family values. To often parents don't realize that spending time playing with their children is not a waist of time; it's an investment in the future. Through play, children learn a lot. Even if my children are grown up now, when we meet as family, we play games instead of watching TV. In fact, I learned a lot of new games through my children! It's their time to teach me :-)

      Enjoy your day, Bill!

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      Madeleine Salin 3 years ago from Finland

      All my life I have lived in a small space. I'm terrified of not being able to pay our mortgage for our 2800 squeer feet house the next 35 years. Somehow, I don't worry too much about it. Somehow I know that it's just a house, my dream house. If I can't afford to live in it, I'll still have my family and that's most important to me. I only work 30 hours a week and I love it. I wouldn't work more just to have more money. Spending time with my children is more important.

      Wonderful hub as always. We look up to you, Bill. Many of us would like to be more like you. Thank you for being who you are and spreading your thoughts.

      Madeleine

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      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      friend Bill, your hub is very timely, at least in my life. While I was laid up with a broken leg, I had time to ponder all our “stuff”, most of which is virtually useless. Most the knick knacs I’ve bought throughout the years no longer interest me, and I could easily sell or donate them to a charity that takes such things. However, Mr. B, a compulsive hoarder, can tell you a use for everything he’s collected throughout the years, and therein lies the problem. I grew up poor, and my first marriage was poor financially. At one time Mr. B and I were so broke that we had to squeeze the nickel until the buffalo pooped (loved your funny line, so I’m borrowing it). Several years ago my salary was raised to the point that we could put money in the bank, then consumerism took us over. I let it because it was a novelty to me to live beyond the next paycheck, but I did set aside a tidy amount per month for savings.

      Now I’m ready to go back to being a minimalist. I would love to retire and move out of our subdivision to the “real country”. We have no consumer credit debts and we will soon have our house paid off, but you know what the budget buster is? Food, utilities, and insurance (add up your real estate, personal property and medical insurance) keep me working because I’m not sure we can afford to keep those up on our retirement income. We have retirement savings, but I keep hearing about how fast inflation eats those up and leaves the elderly penniless. I’m an ant and I’m frightened for myself. What are all these grasshoppers going to do?

      Oh, I forgot, we ants are expected to pay for them and their follies.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I know you do, Jamie; your enthusiasm shows in your writing. Carry on my friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I know you walk the talk and I admire you for it. I had a friend text me yesterday...true story...he said he had 24 pairs of black athletic socks and he wanted to know if I wanted a couple because he can't use 24 pair. Bev and I were laughing out loud for an hour after that....so he has a need for 22 but not 24???? I have eight pairs of socks and wear six of them on a regular basis....LOL

      Marlene, thank God you and I woke up to the truth.

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      I live for LIFE! Thank you Bill for another great hub. Jamie

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      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Stuff? What stuff? I now live to the level where if I buy a new pair of socks, I get rid of an old pair of socks. My husband and I are serious about living a minimal lifestyle. Nothing comes into the house unless it has a reason AND a place to be here. When we first started downsizing, we put all of our stuff into a 30' X 20' storage unit because it wouldn’t fit into the tiny little house we moved into. The storage unit was expensive, but we paid for it because we wanted to hold on to it all. The ironic thing about that is, there were no local storage units the sizes that we needed, so we had to drive over 150 miles to get to our stuff. Ridiculous! Then, we transferred our stuff to the area we live now and after giving some of it away, we stuffed our stuff into a 10’ X 20’ unit. Keep in mind that we have to pay for storing all this stuff. Then, after about a year of paying to store stuff we didn’t even use, we got rid of some more stuff, but still couldn’t stand to part with all of it, so we squeezed the rest of our stuff into a 5’ X 5’ unit. We kept that for a while and then one day we woke up and realized we were living without all that stuff, so we got rid of it all and now we only live with what we actually use on a regular basis. It’s exhilarating. I look around my house now and everything in it is precious because everything in it has a purpose. In fact, my husband and I have guitars propped up in a corner and just the other day we both agreed that if we don’t start playing our guitars again, they’ve got to go. The way we see it is if we’re not using it, it’s just taking up useful space in our tiny little house. And, in tiny houses, space is a valuable commodity. Around our house, “use it or lose it” has a very specific connotation. I’m really happy living with just the basics… so little to worry about.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Harishprasad, what a beautifully profound comment. Thank you for this. I love every word that you have written. Many in the States have lost their way....the quality of life over the quantity of life...that's what it should be all about. Somehow we have to find our way back to the truth.

      Thank you for a wonderful read.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, I would not lie. I'm done writing at four and then the rest of the evening is for Bev and whatever kids show up on that day....sorry, but it can happen. LOL

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, I hate shopping too. I'm afraid I am a grump when Bev drags me to the store. :)

      A log about to hit the rapids...what a great simile....and thank you for your kind words. Just lovely!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well mecheshier, it's good to meet another advocate for sustainability. We need more like you in this country. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, your comment puts things in perspective. A storage place for things we do not use....say it again...doesn't it sound ridiculous?

      Thank you for sharing that story. I hope you had a good lunch.

      blessings and a hug coming your way

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, I have done enough damage for one lifetime. I much prefer being a God send. :) Thank you dear friend. I'll be listening for that explosion you mentioned. Hopefully you will be able to pull off that shopping trip without her mother finding out. LOL

      blessings always, Lea

      bill

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      Harish Mamgain 3 years ago from India

      The title of this hub tells it all and the contents of the hub are stats and pieces of advice to the new generation. When the stress is more on things rather than living, our life becomes monotonous, boring and artificial as if we are living for things. When we are overburdened with quantities, we miss the quality of life. Sometimes, I'm amazed by the thinking of some men who take immense pride in having so many possessions and look down upon such people who are satisfied with minimum of things for their sustenance. Why we are becoming the slaves of things ? This beautiful gift of life is not for sticking to things but to experience things/people in an extraordinary manner, inspire people or get inspired, feel intensely for things/guys or pass on feelings, enlighten guys or to be enlightened, love or to be loved. All things are like dirt on our skins and the moment we wash ourselves, we no longer think about the dirt. All things are like our clothes that cover our nakedness and enhance our countenance. The moment they are old and worn out, we discard them like dirt and don't give them a damn stare. All things like furniture, cars, buildings, ornaments etc. assume value till they have utility for us, the moment, they lose their utility, we never think about them. On the contrary, we love and cherish our experiences if they are good but even bad experiences we don't forget for they teach us a lot to mould and develop our lives. We must attach importance to what we have in our minds and hearts and what we do with our bodies as this is the real stuff that we should grow in an abundance in a positive way. Bill, you see I was carried away in a big way. This hub has touched on the very sensitive nerve of mine that always questions about this mad rush after things instead of feelings. Loved reading this remarkable and great hub. Voted up.

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I really find it hard to believe the average person actually spends five hours a day doing what they like...sounds like heaven to me...honestly. Five hours a day? Non- hubpages?

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      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Useful and interesting.

      I am not a material sort and I really hate shopping!

      I find the amount of hours spent on my paid work combined with the huge amount of housework ( washing, dishes, floors, food shooping... you get the mundane picture :) ) really eats into the time I am left with to do the things I actually love.

      Our world is definately mixed up, and rolling like a log about to hit the rapids...

      Although you are doing your best to stop the momentum, which is why we all value you so much.

      :)

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 3 years ago

      Great Hub! It is so important to live life fully and not be a slave to consumerism. Yes, I as well have had a 6 figure income, was not homeless but did lose my home and had to move in with family for a while. I am also as strong advocate of living sustainably.

      Thank you so much for such a wonderful and personable Hub. Voted up

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Great message here dear Bill, as always! Yes, it seems we think along the same lines. I am reminded of when we had someone from Zambia, Africia visiting our church, who was friends with our missionaries, and they were driving around the city and he pointed to those storage businesses (you know, where you store all of your extra stuff), and asked what are those. So, his friends here told him that they were places to store our belongings that we do not use. Oh, they were so embarassed to say the least, as he was in disbelief at such a thought and had to repeat it and said, "You mean, there are items you do not use everyday and you pay to store them somewhere?" Gives one a whole new perspective, as the man from Zambia depends on God each day to provide what he NEEDS each day. Our missionaries had gone over there to dig a well so that they may have fresh water to drink without having to walk miles with dangerous crocodiles who would eat them at times while getting water from the river!

      This hub puts things into perspective too.

      Blessings and love to you and yours,

      Faith Reaper

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      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      billybuc: This is SO SUPER GOOD and so super true. I printed this out and read it while having my lunch. Every single word in this great write makes sense. Really, it is only common sense but so many of us miss the mark.

      I LOVE the second half of life because, like you, I am determined to get rid of 'stuff'...Our cellar looks like a war zone and we are hoping to get the leak fixed and redo it in the near future. I'm going away for a week in April to Charleston, South Carolina with a friend and I've giving my husband a thumbs up on his idea to 'set him loose' in the cellar. (I HAVE to confiscate the photos though...they are my most precious possession).

      I pray about this every day, and your hub is the shot in the arm I need.

      You are so correct about young people being caught up in consumerism.

      I am taking my 21 year old granddaughter to the Syracuse Mall for her birthday. I am too embarrassed to tell you what she wants to buy. If my daughter finds out, you will hear the explosion from Washington!

      Your hourly schedule is a great example: Just using 1/2 hour a day to take care of possessions and working 8 hours on your writing...

      what a role model you are! Especially compared toe 9.5 hours that the US citizen spends on taking care of possessions! What a difference!

      LOVE YOUR TITLE...I made two trips to the Salvation Army this past week...What a great feeling...

      THANK YOU for this wonderful hub. You are a God Send ...blessings, Sparklea

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Steph, anyone who follows you on Facebook knows that you walk your talk. My goodness you are a busy mother, and you genuinely enjoy spending so much time on your children. I love your pictures and the obvious excitement you get from following the exploits of your kids. Good for you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, I swear to God, it is the American Way...and even those who don't have a pot to piss in will spend on crap that they don't need and pass up the needs they are desperate for. I'll never understand it buddy.

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      Stephanie Hicks 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      This is awesome!! Definitely an eye-opener with those stats. Geesh!

      My priority is my family. I love experiences - not things. I could care less about jewelry, expensive cars, boats, etc., etc. I do love travel, so that is my "splurge," if you will. 99% of the time its for kids' activities (even gymnastics meets in Hawaii). :) I love preparing and cooking meals for the family and going on hikes is always a pleasure. Personally, I think spending money makes one less happy. Hard work and giving back are the sources of true happiness. Love this one, Bill. You are such an inspiration!

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      Larry Kitzmann 3 years ago

      WOW, we are kind of on the same page today as witnessed by my earlier post on FB. Couldn't agree with you more. Remember what the president said after 9/11. We weren't to change our ways and we were encouraged to go out and spend more on crap we really didn't need. Got to love it. So here we are spending money we don't have on things we don't really need to satisfy some manufactured want that we don't really understand. Damn----God Bless America----It's the American Way.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always a pleasure, Eric! Thank you!

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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill this is an important message. Thank you.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fossillady, I will never understand the need for that much living space. Now give me twenty acres and I can show a need very quickly. At least on twenty acres I can grow enough food to feed a bunch of people. :) Thanks for your thoughts.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      and in our hearts, Donna! :)