Rite of Passage Fifteen –All At Sea –
1959 I am twenty-five years old
Q. Content with little: Early on in life’s journey we often have very little “stuff” or income. Were we happier in those “tough days”?
There is a rough estimate that many of us in this electronic age are exposed to about 2,000 advertising messages every single day. For the most part, these suggest that we would be happier, healthier or more efficient if we ‘upgraded’ our life with their product or service.
When Treena, Tessa and I began our new life in New Zealand there were few advertisements and none on the public broadcasting service. There were no credit cards and a home equity loan wasn’t an option.
Folks tended to save for what they needed and seemed to frown on people who ‘showed off’ their personal wealth.
This suited us just fine because we had nothing to “show off”. The $600 I had saved was rapidly spent on second-hand furniture including an amazing wooden dining table riddled with termites to such an extent that we put a lamp under it and delighted in the pinpricked lighted surface!
Our two-bedroom apartment bordered the Wellington docks close enough to allow me to walk to work each day in order to save the bus fare. We had no vehicle of any kind, not even a pram for Tessa.
We did not feel deprived and we didn’t know how we might make life ‘better’ by somehow working harder. We simply learned without distraction to love one another again and to make some very good friends.
You see…we had the time to do so!
So…what about now?
I have now lived an additional 56 years from that ‘sparse’ time and look back and wonder whether the mountains of stuff that we purchased over time contributed to making us happier, healthier or more efficient!
At my last count, we have had fourteen ‘major’ garage sales as we moved from house to house and country to country.
At one time, as you will discover on this blog sometime next year, we decided to sell everything and set off in a search for a life of service to others and in doing so began to live with less and make ownership choices that turned few heads in admiration…or envy?
This apparent breakthrough didn’t come easily and I look back upon a great many years of being attracted by ‘things and experiences’ that were very high up on the hog. Great cars, great wines, great restaurants, great clothes, and watches…even a truly great yacht!
At the time each acquisition added something to the ‘little me’ that needed this Michelin Tire Man exterior that sent the self-inflated message…I am a success!
My hope these days is to do a “small thing and do it well until it is done”. I gave away my last suit (24 years old) and I find that I am now content enough with my life that an upgrade doesn’t seem to be the distraction it used to be.
Except perhaps for a Morgan 4 plus 4 with its oak chassis and leather strap? 😉
This week I read Treena’s poem Good Friday