10 November 2007

Life's abundance and complexity

This is my adorable dog, Rosie. Rosie is an Airedale Terrier and she's 12½ years old. Hanno has just clipped her for summer and she's come into the kitchen to see if there is a spare honey biscuit for an old girl. Hello to another Rosie, hello Rosetta!

I was
talking to an acquaintance the other day about retirement. She asked me if Hanno and I had enough money for travelling, entertainment and "enjoying life", her words, not mine. The reason she asked was because she does have a lot of money but she's struggling to find a reason to get up every morning. Poor her. Imagine not having a reason to get out of bed.

I am catapulted out of bed every morning by the knowledge that there is a full and interesting day waiting for me. No matter how tired I have gone to bed the previous night, I always have this same enthusiasm to get up and live, really live, the next day. Living simply gives me that.

If I were to have given that woman a full and clear answer, instead of the short one I gave, I would have told her about my simple life, but I fear that some people only hear what they want to hear and I'm sure my words would have echoed somewhere in the recesses of her brain and soon been forgotten. You see, she and I have a major fundamental difference in how we view our lives. She believes that life's enjoyment is bought with dollars, and I know that is not true. She has been deceived into believing that joy is a commodity with a price tag, she believes retirees need a huge retirement payout to live well, she thinks that happiness is purchased.

As you all well know by now, I am a homemade gal. I make my own happiness. Joy ferments along with the ginger beer and sourdough right here in my home. We are happy people because we have have something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. We truly live each day and we aren't reliant on others to deliver invitations to lunch or a shopping spree to help us enjoy ourselves.

It's a commonly held belief that when you retire you sit around and just soak up life's pleasures. But unless you're almost brain dead, or incredibly lazy, sitting around gets boring after a while. It's much better to have a purpose to each day and if that purpose changes constantly, that makes for an interesting life. Humans need interest, and what finer interest is creating a wholesome life for yourself. Of course there is room for travelling and entertaining, but they're very small portions of life's abundance and complexity.

Life should be made up of the elements of living like proving food for ourselves and maintaining a comfortable and warm home, as well as those things that make our existence meaningful like nurturing our families and maintaining valuable friendships and knowing, really knowing by experience, the joy in that. All else is flim flam.


  1. Yes I agree with you. Makes me sad that so many live with the image that the television or movie screen perpetuates as happiness.

    I just wrote about this on my penofjen.blogspot.com

    So profound how we as a world now seemingly define happiness by money and/or material wealth.


  2. Rhonda,

    I have found that what makes me happy is a new skein of thread or a nice ball of yarn:) I really don't "need" things to make me happy. I think the more we hang around people that have or want "the new in thing" The more we start thinking like them.

    I just want to stay on budget, save some money, and have a little extra money to buy a new ball of yarn:)



  3. Its interesting this obsession with having as much money to retire. Governments are telling us we must work in paid employment for longer into old age. My friends are obsessed to with having as much money as possible for when they retire, yet they are miserable now. I tell them that if I am to work till I'm 70 then I am going to take my retirement now in my 40's. If I don't have enough money when I'm 60 or 70 I'll figure something out but I don't want to wait till then to start living life. The simple life allows you to do this with not alot of money needed.
    Thanks Rhonda for yet another wonderful post.

  4. my inlaws amaze me with their comments on not retiring til they have a million dollars from the sale of rental properties etc.... I just can't see why they would need that amount ?!

  5. What a timely post this is. On one hand I worry about how we are ever going to retire but I also wonder if we really need as much money as the 'finance gurus' tell us.
    Trying to convince dh that we have to reduce our living expenses is my biggest hurdle.
    I could go on but this comment could end up very looonnnggg!LOL

  6. YES Rhonda! SO true! And let's teach this to our children and grandchildren... future generations who are trained to be "happy and content" with simple things in life, and who don't kill themselves getting the next "big thing" and then the "one after that". They really could change the way this world is headed, couldn't they?
    Great post,

  7. What a great sentiment being a home made gal who makes her own happiness.

  8. "I am catapulted out of bed every morning by the knowledge that there is a full and interesting day waiting for me."

    Way to go, Rhonda! This will keep you young for many years to come.

    My dear grandmother, 91, cannot sit still. To keep from being bored, she must go and do something and cook and knit and discuss interest news from the outside world, and call family members and LAUGH! No wonder she looks so young and full of life.

  9. We also had a Rosie, she was a pit bull with the soul of a golden retriever. She is sorely missed.

  10. truer words were never spoken... the busier you stay the better you feel and it doesn't take money and travel to entertain you... there is always a good book laying beside the chair when you sit down... to take you places in your mind...

  11. Rhonda, thanks for another great post. Love your gorgeous DOG.

  12. thank you everyone. Rosie says Woof!

  13. I know this is an old thread but since I just read it I wanted to say you are absolutely right!! I agree wholeheartedly! I, too, love to get up each morning and always have a list of things to do around my house. I am gathering my stuff for soap but I am here today looking for your laundry soap recipe.. (I'll find it in a minute! :) I am like Renee, in that the most simple skein of yarn, remnant of material, new recipe, etc. excites me! I HATE to shop, and really hate fashion. Love to be comfortable and productive all day!

    As for retirement... I am a "retired" RN. I quit work at age 45 to do the work for my two daughter's weddings (two in o0ne year). I have seen SO many people never even LIVE to retirement. I think enjoy TODAY, tomorrow may not ever come. Money has absolutely NOTHING to do with happiness! Do I have money? No. :) That is why my soap making is taking me so long. I am buying my ingredients with coupons each week! I'll get there!

    Thank you so much for this blog and telling the truth about things!


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