5 Benefits of Living More With Less

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.  -- Helen Keller

Tad Sae Waterfalls

Unless you live on a private island, you are bound to have noticed our sagging economy. At a time when I thought things were getting better, I just had a fourth wave of friends go through layoffs. IKEA — known for being a a frugal girl’s dream and a college kid’s staple — is advertising, “New Lower Prices.” And, the eHow of the weekend was “How to Stock Your Pantry For Hard Times.” It’s almost August, and many of us continue to tighten our belts, make adjustments to the way we live, and cheer-up friends who have recently lost their jobs.

So, I wanted to take a minute to touch-base on the up-side of a down economy. Some of the good in all the bad. A few musings of a girl on a budget who is never without a reason to smile…

  1. Play costs nothing. A simple romp in the backyard or a trip to the park to hit the tire swing. Camping under the stars as an alternative to a night in a hotel. Fun and joy needn’t cost a thing, and I am seeing more and more people reconnect with play and spending time outside in nature.
  2. People are gardening in record numbers — taking charge of growing food for their tables and reconnecting to the land. Learning new things and teaching their children a new skill and hobby.
  3. Going out less means more nights playing board games, cards, or Hide & Seek in the backyard. Cooking together and sharing laughter and conversation across the dinner table. Really taking the time to connect with family and friends.
  4. As we buy less, we notice that we really don’t need as much stuff as we thought. We just are in the habit of spending and buying. It’s a great time to teach children about the value of money and how the important things in life don’t come from a store, but are in the moments we share with each other, or on our own — watching the sunset or walking in the woods.
  5. Somehow, as if by magic, when times get tough, people are more kind to each other. I have seen amazing displays of generosity of spirit, of charity and giving, and of true kindness in the past several months. People seem more willing to connect and pitch-in — more open to real human connection when times get tough.

Now, I know some of you might think I am a bit of a Pollyanna, which really could not be further from the truth. At the same time, I do believe that the glass is half full, and that somehow we always get what we need. Perhaps our society just needed a reminder to live more simply. To play, and connect with each other, and to blaze new trails — not based on money or acquiring wealth — but on ingenuity and creativity that is necessitated in tough times.

I have written often about resiliency and how it it one of the hallmarks of a successful, happy adult. Tough times are a great reminder to us all to cherish that trait in ourselves, and I hope an inspiration to parents to foster that in their children. Without a doubt, it will serve them well one day.

Now, if you will excuse me, there is a sunny-side of the street I need to go walk down. Join me?

See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: Greg Hayter

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