I think it strange that I was sitting at my computer last night when I heard a person say that it may be time that we start to live "below our means". Meaning that maybe we don't need the toys and goodies. That maybe the attitude that bigger is better and more is essential for our happiness is or at least should be, at an end. And it gave me pause to wonder, especially now when our financial worlds are strained to the point to shattering.
It may be against the "American Way" that says we want more and better for our children than we had. Certainly my parents thought that way. But we also have this hidden respect and sense of awe for our grandparents and greatgrandparents who seemed to do so much with so much less. Time seemed to move slower, family and friends were more important, the simple act of reading or holding conversations were the entertainment of the day; not playing video games, texting, or e-mailing. Actually sitting across from someone, looking into their eyes and hearing their words. Men and women took pride in their handiwork, creating pieces of beauty that are now passed down in families with reverence. Great-grandma may have taken an entire year to make that quilt, or Grandpa constructed that chest for as a gift which now takes a place of honor in the home. Are we sure that we have it so good now?
Brigham Young, the second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, once told his daughters after the coming of the railroad to Utah, "Use it up, where it out, make it do, or do without." Or at least that is the legend. It does have a ring of truth to it if you think about it. Teenage girls will always want to have new and pretty to impress each other and boys. While I am not a member of the LDS church, I wonder if its leader doesn't have a point that is still relevant today.
Maybe it is time to live below our means. To enjoy what we have, here and now. We are all entitled to what we have worked for and earned. But does that mean that we need to be in a constant quest for the new and improved, and at what cost to our health? Our peace of mind? Our families? I can only answer that question for myself. I only pose the question for you, but it is for you to answer for yourself.
It may very well be time for me to once again re-assess my priorities. And I will have to ask myself if I can live with the temporary sense of dis-satification when my friends, family, and co-workers brag about their newest aquisitions. Maybe it is time for me to learn the lesson about keeping up with the Joneses, seeing the path that so many of them are on, and what they are losing.
My not taking part in this years Black Friday will not bankrupt the economy any more than it is, but it will go a long way in not bankrupting me.