Living the simple life is not always simple

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Image by mbgrigby via Flickr

When I moved the country, I gave up a newspaper and check news on the Internet. I don’t do shopping much, either. WalMart somehow does not inspire the same window shopping mania for me that Williams Sonoma or Neiman Marcus did.

Our restaurants are more modest here, and the homes are, too. When we see a Porsche in town, it is usually because there’s a road rally over our favorite mountain.

And life is good. I wrote recently about enjoying the sunshine and the flowers and the birds in my back yard.

But I was tripped up yesterday, and realized that having the ‘wants,’ may be just like malaria, a reoccurring illness. Rather than being cured, an episode may be triggered by external cues, just like habitual overeating or smoking.

This is what happened to me that makes me think this is so. I drove down to the urban art museum to catch a special photography show. What I didn’t realize was that the local society Grande Dames were having a Pre-holiday Silent Auction for Charity in the Grand Hall.

I didn’t attend, but up on balcony, I could look down on the Do. The ladies were all dressed to the nines, sporting expensive jewelry and designer clothing. Servers wearing white gloves were offering up a multi-course luncheon, and was that…champagne bubbling in the glasses? I felt just like Cinderella with cinders between my toes watching the stepsisters!

And a funny thing happened. On the drive back to my small town I caught myself watching the Bimmers and Z4s and, yes, Porsches, zipping past my Chevy on the road, thinking, hmmm, one of those would be REALLY nice to drive.

And then on my walk this morning I started noticing “For Sale” signs and thinking, wow! What I could do with that house.  Web surfing later I saw ads for trips to Europe and the UK and thought, boy, if only…and then I caught myself and realized what was happening.

I was angry and frustrated. I did it to myself! I know better! But it was hard to stop the desires from escalating once they got started.

It seems to me there is a fine line between ‘dreaming’ and ‘wanting’. Perhaps Buddha was right when he said that craving leads to most of the human suffering he saw in the world.

And I wondered, as humans, are we hard-wired to always want, to always seek something new and better and yes, more expensive?

And if so, how can we move beyond those desires into contentment with the reality that is.

It is a puzzle that I am still working on.  But the lesson I learned was that living the simple life is not always simple.

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About Intrepid Explorer

By writing we discover the world
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