Saturday, November 9, 2013

Yearning for the simple life

Up til about the age of 9, I lived with my Ozark American great-grandparents in a little farm house with that roof-shingle-looking siding among orchards in rural Ventura County, California.  Looking back, I know now we were very poor, but I never knew it as a kid.
We had chickens behind the garage, a massive garden, and a cellar full of jars of home canned goodness.  Not to mention, parts of the year there was all the finest oranges one could eat!
What wasn't raised at home was purchased in "lowest common denominator" ingredients.  Sure we got coffee, Cheerios, etc. from the store, but we mostly bought the basics like rice, dried beans, flour, and sugar.
We never bought those "boxes" of ice cream (although we did hit Thrifty's for a cone every now and then), instead we put cream, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, etc., into a hand-cranked ice cream maker and made it ourselves.
Come Sunday when chicken was fried, we had fresh or "canned" (more correctly called "jarred") veggies, gravy from scratch, mashed taters with lumps, and some form of home-made desert (my fave was nanner puddin'.)  I always thought we were living awesomely, and we never seemed to want.
After leaving this environment I went through different stages in my life where I was "victim poor" (feeling someone owes you something if they have more,) then "I know I'm going to get out of this" poor, and then eventually to a point where I was making more money than I really needed which led to a more complex life with excessive debt.
I've come to the point where I know I could be content with a lot less than I have now.  I am working on a plan that means I won't owe any money on anything except the house in less than 3 years.

It hit me that I'll have all this extra money when I'm debt free and the most exciting thing about that is not what I can "acquire" but what I can give away.  So many people lose simplicity for the sake of "stuff", and the quest for stuff is never ending as you want bigger and better stuff.  The happiest people are just simple and content, and simplicity and contentment are what I yearn to return to.

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