The Simple Life
“For anything worth having, one must pay the price; and the price is alwayswork, patience, love, self-sacrifice — no paper currency, no promises to pay,but the gold of real service.”
John Burroughs (1837-1921) Over the course of the last decade, the vast majority of Americans pulled out a great big pair of rose-colored glasses and tricked themselves into believing that our financial worth was herculean—tricked themselves into believing, regardless of the fact that the value of our money was declining, that massive borrowing and spending was acceptable and somehow, someway, (wheels spinning all the way to keep up with the Jones’) debts would be cleared and McMansion mortgages would be met.
Recently, I read a book on the Quaker beliefs and, while I am not myself a Quaker, I was awestruck by their “Testimony of Simplicity.” Essentially, it calls for the practice of “being more concerned with one’s inner condition than one’s outward appearance and with other people more than one’s self. Friends, (Quaker’s refer to each other as Friends) believe that a person’s spiritual life and character are more important than the quantity of goods he possesses or his monetary worth. And lastly, Friends believe that one should use one’s resources, including money and time, deliberately in ways that are most likely to make life truly better for one’s self and others.”
With all economic forecasters reporting that we have not yet found the bottom of the downturn, perhaps our current measurement of success in the acquisition of dollar signs may have to be altered. With predictions of slow growth surrounding us, maybe 2009 could be a year to look back on our accomplishments, savor what we have built, continue to work hard within this industry that has given back to each one of us, make efforts to recognize our individual worth—regardless of our wallet size—and if our wallet warrants it, help those who need a little help in a year that will prove to be tough in some way for each one of us.