Note from Kresha: If you'd like to think more about how to live “the simple life,” check out these posts: Why the Simple Life is Rarely Simple, How to Make “The Simple Life” Simpler (and More Joy Filled), or the grandly entertaining Save Money: Shop Like a Man.
If you have lived the simple life long enough, you might have noticed that — while you haven't changed much, attitudes about your lifestyle have.
Nowadays, it's savvy, chic, and progressive to live the same simple life that 15 years ago was identified as cheap, frugal, parsimonious, and odd. Several generations before that, in the Great Depression (which I didn't live through personally, by the way), the simple life was just life, period — an eminently practical way of surviving.
I wonder how long it will be before we adopt that attitude again?
You don't have to read the newspapers or watch the network news (I don't) to get the idea that the economy isn't going very well, hasn't been going well for quite awhile — despite reassurances to the contrary — and isn't likely to get up from its sick bed and leap around anytime soon.
So if you've been living the simple life up to now, because that's what works for you and you like it, you really are smart, and don't have to wait around to hear that from Oprah or Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman, none of whom probably live as simply as you do. I know they don't live as simply as I do.
They don't have to.
Many people are turning to a simpler life nowadays because that's what gets them from one paycheck to the next, and the ostentatious spending habits propounded prior to the Great-Recession-That-Isn't-Over-Yet aren't practical.
But the simple life isn't the poor life, the life of the victim, the life of the Have Nots who wish that they were the Haves. The simple life, lived with dignity, is one of gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation for what we have.
In this month of our Thanksgiving Holiday, which too often is considered the kick-off for the big Christmas Spending Season (how ironic; Jesus wasn't materially rich), it's not a bad idea to stop where we are, throughout the weeks ahead, and reflect on what we have, as opposed to what we wish we had, or what we used to have, or what other people have that we do not.
The list for each of us will be different, but we'll all share a few commonalities.
We can all be thankful for:
- Our next breath. None of us can generate it on our own.
Most of us can be thankful for:
- 1) Clean, potable drinking water and access to indoor plumbing.
- 2) Clothes that fit, look decent, and aren't falling apart.
- 3) Adequate shelter and a roof that doesn't leak.
- 4) Assurance that we will eat, probably multiple times, today.
- 5) Electric lights, refrigeration, a shower or bath, and access to a washing machine.
- 6) The freedom to believe, and speak, without punishment — but don't take this one for granted, because it's being chipped away at, bit by bit.
These are simple things that it's easy to take for granted, but if we stop and reflect, they are dreams for many people on this planet. As a sign of honor and respect toward people who do not enjoy some or all of items in numbers 1-6 we can do two things:
A) Give, where and how we can, to others so that they can enjoy the simple, basic dignities of life
B) Be thankful for what we do have. Too often, it's not until we lose a blessing that we realize it was a blessing in the first place.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.