In modern day America, we’re bombarded on a daily basis with images, ads, and social media illustrating a life where happiness is measured by material posessions. How can one come to be happy with themselves if all they have to show for is marked pieces of paper and bank accounts boasting several figures? Yes, money can buy us security, but can it buy us fulfillment? Technically, if you want to say it does buy happiness, you can argue that we can pay for an education (another post on that nugget coming soon!) leading us to a fulfilling career; a family can adopt in the event of reproductive difficulties, causing immeasurable happiness; but at the end of the day, when there is no more money left, and the thick clouds of greed have cleared, what’s left? What do you do?
Henry David Thoreau was an eccentric fellow. One of his great works, “Walden Pond”, revolve around the concept of living simply. He lived in the woods by a pond, going about each day in search of simplicity and happiness. Thoreau built his own cabin, grew and foraged his own nourishments, and became enlightened in his two-year hiatus. The opposite end of the pond is where one can be found at any given time these days, complaining about irrelevant, sometimes self-imposed, “first world problems”. Growing up in Miami, FL, the idea of having money and not spending it-or even worse, not having any!!–was definitely not an accepted way of life.
But, really, what’s so horrible about living without the crap we don’t need? why do we break our backs for the things we can live perfectly well without?
I’m not trying to take everyone back to our primitive years but a little restraint can go a long way, I believe. For the modern world, it’s necessary to keep up our morale and not let our hopes become dampened by the darkness life can sometimes bring. So think about it, what causes this dampening of the soul and the shredding of our hope? Stress, bills, that promotion you’re too scared to go after, Jeanine’s great new shoes and your financial inability to purchase them, or Henry’s season tickets that you couldn’t afford to buy without dipping in your kids college savings. Face it: Money drives us and our emotions everyday. Are you asking how you can save yourself the hassle and stop daydreaming about those season tickets? Well, then I guess I should let you in on the secret: LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS.
Can we analyze that phrase for a second? It doesn’t mean to live poorly, it doesn’t at all mean that you can’t own what you desire. It simply means that a life free of clutter is a life free of unnecessary agony. Acquire what you feel is absolutely necessary and you’ll find that leaving some financial wiggle room will ease the mind and leave room for enjoying the pleasures of life.
Thoreau might be long gone, but his theory of simplicity is worth the shot.