'The bottom line is that we think we work to pay the bills - but we spend more than we make on more than we need, which sends us back to work to get the money to spend to get more stuff to.....'
From Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
This is just one of the gems from this amazing book, sometimes known as YMOYL by the many followers. It literally changed my life. Not because it said something I had never thought of before but because it perfectly articulated the reasons for my years of questioning what was expected of me and what was considered a normal successful life. As I mentioned in yesterdays post I sometimes wondered if I was just not accepting the way life is, in other words I thought sometimes that it was just me not adapting well to things. Now I know that I was just one of many who questioned the status quo. Not to be overdramatic but in the words of Martin Luther King:
"...there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize."
He was talking about something of much bigger significance though wasn't he. On the other hand maybe not. Although he was speaking about something as horrific as enslaving a race of people and the devastating effects of that, wasn't it the drive for money and achievement that fueled slavery in the first place. If society valued our human existence on a deeper level, lived with reverence for the earth and each other instead of worshiping things and money, slavery would never have existed.
This is deep shi*t!
Seriously, this personal unrest and my subsequent reading about other happily maladjusted people has led me to change my life considerably. I'm on the journey anyway. I'm in my 50's so I got a late start. When I gave this book to a friend who is my age and had just gone through a divorce (and made a lot of the same mistakes as I did living the way she thought was 'normal'), she said she cried. It brought up the pain of realizing that her own instincts were right the whole time and she didn't listen. I know the feeling. A lot of times the people closest to you while meaning well, encourage you to just go along with it, the consumer life. Thank goodness we are now 'out of the closet' and speaking up, quality of life is too important.
I look around at some of the young people in our city and elsewhere who have rejected the notion of climbing the ladder of success and I admire them so much. They seem to live with respect for the environment, spend quality time with friends and family, reject the notion of a career advancement as a life goal and scale down their lifestyle so they can live this way on a modest salary. We should all be learning from them. They have witnessed first hand the effects of parents who are too busy to spend time with them, the divorces that result from all the stress. They work in organic food stores, are musicians or artists. They rent and don't own a car.
The small blessings of a simple life. It's time.