We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about. -Charles Kingsley
What am I enthusiastic about? Just about everything, to be honest. There are so many things in life that are wonderful and fun and beautiful that it’s hard for me not to be feeling a constant sense of gratitude and enjoyment. I don’t need a $40,000 car to make me happy–my car gets me where I’m going with good music playing, and that’s pretty much all I need. I don’t need a $100 shirt or pair of pants to feel good about myself–that’s possible even without the expensive clothes, and it’s my choice. Our home is well furnished with the least expensive nice pieces of furniture we could find. We didn’t buy the cheapest stuff out there, but we really like what we have bought.
Wordsworth said that “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers,” and I believe he also would have included the idea of wanting in there. What do you want? Is peace of mind and something to be enthusiastic about enough for you, or are you also interested in the expensive, luxurious trappings that keep you working harder and harder just to keep your head above the water? Is your life defined by the things that you enthusiastically contribute to the world, or is it defined by the things that you try to get?
We all want to be happy in life, but it’s very difficult sometimes to reach a level of happiness that makes us feel content with who we are and what we’re doing. Sometimes if we can just step back and look more carefully at the things we’re working hard to accomplish, we can get a clearer idea of just where we’re going and just how we’re spending our time.
Personally, I want to spend my time on things that I really like doing, and I hope to minimize the time I spend in order to obtain material things. Comfort and luxury are fine in their place, but their place certainly isn’t on the throne of our lives. If we put them there, we’re dooming ourselves to working for them as slaves our whole lives long.
Questions to ponder:
1. What are you truly enthusiastic about? How much time to you spend on this?
2. Why does our culture value comfort and luxury so much?
3. How can we shift our focus from attaining comfort and luxury to working on those things that we truly love doing?
For further thought:
Happiness doesn’t come from doing what we like to do but liking what we do.
Wilferd A. Peterson