a life of voluntary simplicity!

by ruthjohnston

or relying on G_d for all that i need

what does that mean, or more accurately what does that mean to me?

not buying into perpetual, relentless mainstream and even not so mainstream marketing.

the first step was eliminating the tv & most radio listening. without the never-ending barrage of commercials convincing me of how much i needed or wanted to buy anything and everything, i began to seriously look at buying and having, just for the sake of buying and having. for most of my adult life i’ve questioned the need to have more and i finally reached a point where it just didn’t make sense any longer.

i have everything i need to live and more than i need to be happy. i probably have enough clothing and shoes to last the rest of my life, and if i do absolutely need to replace something, you can bet i’ll buy it at a thrift store. i do own a car, but both my husband and myself are looking to buy a couple of old bikes soon for traveling in town. i’ll drive my car as long as i can, and when the time comes that it needs replaced, i’ll get the best, older model that i can. my home is rented, but after being skinned in the real estate market, we’re not in any hurry to own again, and y’know what? i’m totally okay with that. buy more stuff? for what? i don’t need the latest, greatest anything, just because “they” say i do. i don’t need fancy make-up, i rarely use it anymore and think i look alright (it took me 50 years to finally become completely comfortable in this shell that holds the real me). i have stopped coloring my hair and actually like the gray. perfume? it makes some people sick and i prefer to go without now, tho’ i do like using a couple of natural essences on occasion. i have all the furniture i really need, actually need to find a home for a few pieces that were given to us. i may need to recover my sofa someday, but the clean sheets i tuck in work just fine. i used to long to visit exotic places; those thoughts now make me ask why? just to say i’ve been there? you’ve probably heard that saying: “no matter where you go, there you are”? well, it doesn’t matter where i go, it’s still just me inside, right?

more, bigger, better, newer doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me anymore. what’s wrong with what i have?

think about the cost to the planet, to produce every single thing we buy. a machine to produce the thing. the energy to run the machine to make the thing. the energy for the laborers to get to that job, to produce the thing. the energy to produce the packaging for the thing. the energy to ship the thing to a warehouse, energy to store it, energy to ship it to the store, energy for the store to be open (sometimes 24 hours a day, because if we want to buy a thing, we may want to buy that thing right now). energy for all of the store employees to get to the store to work, energy for you to drive to the store to purchase it. that doesn’t include the bags to take the thing home in.

now i know what you’re thinking. what about free enterprise? what about all the employees you just mentioned that need those jobs. yes, i get that. everyone needs food and i would say healthcare also. but how many here in this country feel the need to have jobs so they can buy the things they want? take vacations, buy designer clothes, drive bigger, fancier cars….

my head is spinning.

i don’t need to buy much. i do need food, though we will again put a garden out, this year it will be bigger. beyond that, what more do i really need?

i read a book recently about voluntary simplicity & the auther made a statement that really hit me. this is not a quote, but the general idea.

even the poorest in this country live better than some in many countries. I’LL ADD THAT EVEN THE POOREST IN THIS COUNTRY LIVE BETTER THAN MOST IN SOME COUNTRIES.

think about just how good we have it and how much you really need to be happy. can a thing give lasting happiness?

will that thing make you happy beyond today or a week? when the thrill of buying it is long gone.

i know now that lasting happiness does NOT come from worshipping money or material possessions….