A Return to the Simpler Way of Life

Justin - Fairfield, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 5, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that living a simpler life is just what America needs right now. I want to rid my own life of greed and hope that others will follow that same plan.

My grandmother has taught me a lot during my lifetime. Today, she is 86 years old and continues to live each day with only what she needs. Living next door to her all my life, I would spend a great deal of time with her, especially when I was younger. She never wasted anything. I learned how to make Easter eggs from onion skins and recycle the comic page from the newspaper for gift wrap. I also learned to reuse bows, ribbons, boxes, and even aluminum foil and paper towels.

Now that she no longer drives, I have the occasional job of running her to the grocery store. I have to check to see if the items she wants is “on special” before she even considers purchasing them. I would become so annoyed with this and would wonder why someone with so much money would act so tight. When I would ask her why she never treats herself to new clothes or a vacation, her response would be, “It’s just not necessary. I have everything I need.” I could never quite understand her way of thinking, especially with all the great stuff available out there to buy.

The list of her savings and recycling doesn’t end here, there’s much more. But, even my annoyance with her way of thinking has taught me a great deal about life today. I have always enjoyed a big Christmas with many gifts under the tree. I’ve never done without and yes, I am spoiled. I admit that I enjoy purchasing the latest cell phone models and computer gaming systems. I admire my car I just bought this past spring. I like stuff; it has become the American way.

Unfortunately, this greed that has become the American way has created one huge financial mess. I am frustrated with the state our country has managed to get itself into. Greed has created this crisis, from government all the way down to me. I don’t know how much worse it could get. I worry about the effects it may have on my future job outlook and possibly even the rest of my college education.

I plan on taking steps to live more simply. My grandmother who has always lived simply is now my greatest teacher in the world of economics. If everyone followed her simple plan of saving, maybe our country wouldn’t have this worry about a recession from which it may take years to recover. I will make an effort to think more wisely and spend less foolishly. It will be a tough change for me, but my entire future is at stake. I believe a simpler life will bring a return of financial security to our country; I know it will to me.