Michael - Santa Cruz, California
Entered on January 14, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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The society I live in is wealthy compared to the rest of the world. For example, today I went to pick out the camera of my choice for my Christmas present, and a new laptop because my last one died three months ago. They’re nice gifts, but I still want more. I still have this pocket of “want.”

Two years ago, I traveled to India. India is not a wealthy place. While my dad and I were there, we used a local guide to view the northern parts, where the people seemed genuinely happy. Our guide actually invited us to his house, situated on the side of a steep hill, for lunch. Their house was considered nice. It had two bedrooms, and a kitchen that was more outside than inside; the “dining room” was a bedroom. Our guide’s family was happy in their home, and had enough money to send their child to private school, but they had to scrape along financially. They weren’t pining over the next generation iPod, or the latest and fastest laptop; for the most part, they did not know these items existed. Their home was not cluttered with things like my house is (we’re always looking for new places to hide the stuff) they had lots of space. They were happy with what they had.

My mom grew up on a rural farm in the middle of Minnesota. Her family was hard working family of ten, and there was not a lot of money. For their special treat every month, they got an orange. Just one, once a month. For the rest of the month they ate what they grew. Oranges are too tropical to grow in Minnesota because of blisteringly cold winters. They ate a lot of canned food, so the fresh oranges once a month were a treat. They did not even have a television until my mom was sixteen, and there were only three channels. Her favorite show was The Twilight Zone: she found it futuristic and frightening.

These were the simple things we in our fast-moving society take for granted. We never have time to slow down and enjoy the simple things. We push for was is bigger and better; constantly in search of what is new and good. We buy new-fangled pieces of wealth only to leave them for something newer. Our society needs help finding what is necessary in life, and experiencing the joy in simplicity.