“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” –Will Rogers
In this chapter, Tsh talks about being responsible home managers. In her own life, she and her husband have paid off all their debt (mostly student loans,) purged almost all their possessions, and moved overseas. She’s come to realize that things are just things- we can carefully evaluate what we want and need.
Between 1950 and 2004 the average home size in America doubled from 983 square feet to 2,349 square feet. The average family size has shrunk from 3.67 to 2.62. The same trend has been happening in Australia, New Zealand, and much of the “Western” world. As families, we are filling more space with fewer people- we’re filling that space with stuff.
In America, there are no vacation laws. 25% of workers don’t receive a paid vacation, and those that have paid vacation receive 15 days a year, on average. Our kids spend their years in classes.
The average paycheck has risen in the last 30 years, but according to a survey by Italy’s Siena University in 2007, the quality of our personal relationships has dropped.
Viewing these statistics, it’s obvious that our culture is not practicing “simple living,” in any sense (other than using convenience products and credit wherever possible, I suppose.)
She writes that she knows it’s not realistic to completely swear off fossil fuels, eat only organic food, grow all our own produce, wear free trade organic clothes, etc., etc., etc. These are the trademarks of what popular culture views as “Simple Living.” So, we need to completely re-define what simple living actually means.
What do you think? Do you feel like your life could use some simplifying? Are you happy with where you are in terms of owning stuff, and having time to enjoy it? I’m really enjoying this book, and look forward to working through it to see what she says!