Living simply is a popular movement among busy Americans. We can see the path to joy and fulfillment lies not in things, stuff and busyness, yet we have to struggle and plan to keep from being swept up in the tide of the To Spend is to Live Lifestyle.
We need shoes for every athletic activity, kitchen gadgets for each new recipe, various activities to raise well rounded children, and things, stuff and do-dads to fill the closets of our large houses.
Even the simplicity movement encourages spending as we read the magazines and books, and collect the trendy colored cloth bags. I remember reading an article written by a frugal mother of six children. She wrote books and articles sharing her tips to save money. A TV station profiled her, and wanted to film the family in frugal activities. She suggested they film her not eating at McDonalds, not shopping in department stores or buying soft drinks and chips, and not attending theme parks. Of course this doesn’t make for good TV or video clips, but the best way to be frugal is to decide what you can do without.
The joy of life is not in possessions or even activities, but in something less tangible. The things that bring us joy, can they be planned for, scheduled? Can they be purchased? I have a nice bicycle, a bike that I enjoy riding. I like the color of the bike, the sleek shape and ease of changing gears, but the joy it brings is not from its color or shape, but in the freedom I feel flying through the trees. I love the opportunity I have to explore pathways, to follow my family through old railway tunnels along rail trail parks. The joy comes from spending time with my family in nature, in an activity we all enjoy together. I did have to purchase bikes, but the bikes were not the fountain of the joy, only the tool we used that day.
Enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Sunsets and rainstorms are still free, home cooked food is the best, and library books have all the same words as the store bought ones. Remember there is a difference between the tool and the fountain of the joy, and always try to keep your focus on what is true. Good luck!