Years ago I encountered some words of wisdom – probably on some poster or bumper sticker – that have become central to what I believe in and strive for daily. These words are “live simply, so that others may simply live.” The concept of simplicity has become trendy in recent years, but I like to think I was one of the first to come up with it.
The idea hasn’t always been in the forefront of my mind. Raised in a very middle-class family in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I was ingrained with the goal of achieving the “American dream,” meaning that to be successful in life one had to acquire lots of “stuff.” The goal was “to get,” “to consume,” “to have” more, more, more. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that this meant others would have less, less, less – less of the wealth, less of the resources, even less of the basic necessities of life. Gradually, I’m glad to say, my expectations have changed. Instead of believing that I need so many cars, pairs of shoes, whatever, I’m trying to identify the things that are the true “needs” and not just “wants.” I’ve found in doing so that life has become far less stressful and much more enjoyable. There’s more time to relax and appreciate the world around me while knowing I’m doing at least a bit of something to restore and benefit that world. I hope I can inspire others to strive for simplicity in their lives as well. It’s truly worth the effort – this I believe.
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