Ever wonder why some people seem to have everything while others struggle to make ends meet? Or people who should be happy really aren't. Instead they are bitter, angry and broken. What's up with that? There is a saying that happiness is wanting what you have, not wanting what you don't have. I believe this is true to find joy and being content. I've often found myself running around looking for just the right item...sometimes driving myself crazy, only to start the whole process over in a couple of weeks. Could it be, I was looking for something that wasn't tangible?
We are so very blessed here in the U.S. We have plenty of everything! Fresh fruits and vegetables are available year around. We can drive to the grocery store and purchase fresh lettuce or grapes anytime we want them. We also indulge is other pleasures like dining with friends or attending sporting events. As Americans, we spend $2,000 to $3,000 a year on recreational activities...that's a lot of dough. I guess we are bored and want to be entertained. We go to concerts, sporting events, movies, theaters, and I can't leave out dining out at restaurants. All of these are luxuries that cost money.
I tend to be a high energy person that checks things off of my to do list. My late husband, though, did things differently. He got around to it, whenever. Opposites attract and he certainly helped me to stop and smell the roses, and for that I am truly grateful! He enjoyed entertainment, especially television. He watched many programs at the same time..a channel surfer, if you will. He would tell me often, "I just haven't had time to get that done." One day in frustration, I informed him I was going to give him the gift of time. He asked me how I was going to do that? "I'm cancelling cable!" I declared. I didn't, of course, and he continued to spend a lot of time watching television. I digress...
Could it be that the more we have the more we want? Plus the more we gain, the more time we spend taking care of, guarding, or obsessing over our stuff. I'm now in a phase of life with aging parents. Years of tangible items that are important to one is not so important to another. Wouldn't be better to let go of those things we can do without? This year, I lost two people in my life. The reality of going though things happened and it allowed me to minimize my own material items. When I went through my mother-in-law's house, I found that in each of the closets in her three bedroom duplex where coats and clothing. She was just one person, and I wondered why she kept all those coats. I mean no disrespect to my mother, as she was a very generous and kind woman. She had four closets full of clothes and continued purchasing clothes up until a month before she passed away. It just makes me wonder what we, as humans, keep chasing.
Could it have been that something else was missing? Perhaps a relationship or an experience left us feeling out of control, so consumerism filled in the gap.
How can each of us be more content without consuming so many material possessions? This is an individualized decision and journey. If you could just make one change toward simplifying your life, what would it be? Write it down and do it. I think you will be surprised by how freeing it is. After the first one is accomplished, write down another and then another. Free up your life and find contentment.
Health bite: Living simply is freeing and allows one to simply live.