A man recently wrote me, wanting to know how I made a living. He envisioned a lifestyle change and hoped to live a simpler life. And he considered me an example of someone to emulate.
He went on to list his assets…houses, motor vehicles, boats and so on. But he never mentioned his heart, or his inner feelings. More to the point, he didn’t state his values, nor did he elaborate upon the things that really meant something to him.
I wondered, then, if he really wanted to live as I do. My answer to him probably came as a great surprise. I explained that his list of material assets was certainly impressive, and mine paled by comparison. It seemed to me that if our situations were reversed, I could live quite comfortably by selling most everything and living off the interest. But I didn’t tell him that because it probably wasn’t what he wanted to hear.
Then, too, he may not have understood how I could say I was rich, yet had very little money. I did point out that nature had always been good to me, that I managed to keep my food budget down by hunting, fishing, gardening and foraging. I explained how I circumvented huge, wintertime fuel bills by cutting and burning wood from my own woodlot.
I mentioned my house, too, how small it was. But however small, it was big enough for me. My seeming lack of interest in money, fancy boats, cars, trucks and houses in highbrow neighborhoods must have come as a great surprise.
Why, indeed, I asked, would anyone wish to be like me?
It seems to me that what works for one may not work for another. We all need to content ourselves with our own situation and try and make the best of it. If we have a goal, then it makes sense to work toward that goal. But in the end, it’s what’s deep down that counts. I could never enjoy life away from my beloved countryside, away from the nature I love. But that’s me.
I’ll close by saying that nature has always been good to me. The simple life pleases me and I find solace in recognizing the divine in the pageant of changing seasons. And most importantly, I’m happy.