Finding contentment in the simple things

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I subscribe to several of those inspirational blogs that fill my email inbox every morning with messages of encouragement and advice.

Most of the time, I delete them.

But I do enjoy Jim’s Daily Awakenings by Jim Jackson, a pastor from Houston. He’s recently shared segments of an open letter to his grandchildren, in which he cautions them to exercise frugality.

He quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s eulogy for Henry David Thoreau: “He chose to be rich by making his wants few, and supplying them himself.” 

Jackson’s supplemental suggestions are rather simple: Don’t finance depreciating items; don’t borrow money to buy depreciating items and don’t spend money to impress others. Pretty sound advice.

As I grow rapidly closer to the age of 40, I’ve found that I don’t need a whole lot of material possessions. The best gifts I’ve received have been things like homemade coasters from my nieces and framed photos from family vacations. Maybe diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I’d rather have things of sentimental value.

Back when we were in our teens, retirement seemed so far away and saving money seemed like a waste – but now, it sure is nice to have a little padding in the bank.

There are so few things we actually need in life. Gas in the tank, clothes on our back, a roof over our head and food in our bellies. That’s pretty much it. And though most of us don’t want to live off minimum wage, most of us could.

The things we need in life – truly need – are family, friends, love and laughter. Ladies, that Chanel handbag is basically just a badge of insecurity. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on vacation with people who make you smile? I would.

As Jim Jackson says in his blog, “My mother taught us that we should spare no reasonable expense on three major purchases: shoes, a chair, and a mattress. She said, ‘You are going to spend the majority of your time standing, sitting or in bed, so you should go ‘first class' on these three items.’”

I tend to agree. Hug your loved ones, and save your money. 

April Towery is the editor of The Meteor. She can be reached at (936) 348-3505 or editor@madisonvillemeteor.com.  

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