Monday, March 11, 2013

Living With Less. A Lot Less.

Well, it's official. According to an article in Forbes, an international institute that has been studying societal changes for years ranks the U.S. as the 12th happiest country in the world in 2012. As a comparison, the U.S. ranked #10 in 2011. So, we're sliding down the slippery slope of unhappiness, disillusionment, unfulfilled expectations and discontent. As a society we are less happy than other countries.

Okay, so here we are, the wealthiest country in the world and by evaluating 89 categories of life, despite the wealth, despite all the "stuff" we have, despite McMansions, etc. there are 11 other countries happier than us. Hmm! Do you suppose there really is something to the saying that "money can't buy happiness?"

Now believe me, even though I have been "preaching" that we have become an over indulgent, materialistic, consumerism society and it's costing us our personal freedom and our happiness, I was truly hoping that there were some happy people enjoying living high on the hog. I suppose if you look hard you'll find some. In his Op-Ed in the Sunday, March 10, 2013 New York Times, Graham Hill, who literally had it all, found that having it all didn't deliver the freedom and happiness he was hoping to enjoy. I invite you to read his NY Times Op-Ed "Living With Less. A Lot Less." But, do yourself a favor. Read as many of the comments as possible. They are very interesting. Some people totally get it. Some people don't have a clue. Some people believe he can choose to live this lifestyle because he's been obscenely wealthy since before he was 30 from an Internet start-up company he sold.

You can make up your own mind. The fact is that the U.S. is the 12th happiest country in the world and declining in the rankings despite the other fact that we're the wealthiest country in the world. Less is more. I know where I stand. You know where I stand.

Ask yourself the questions - are you happier today than you were, perhaps, as a kid growing up in the 50's, 60's or even the 70's? Do you feel more personally free or less? Do you have more time to do the things you want to do (including spending time with the family if you have one) or less? Is your stress level and the number of things that cause you stress less or more today? Yes! You can lie to yourself. You can lie to everyone else. But, deep inside the true answers are eating away at you.

It's your life. Live it any way you choose to. But, just remember . . . there are no do-overs.  

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