Our youngest daughter, a student at Berea College, is reading a book titled Affluenza, by De Graaf, Wann and Naylor, for a consumer decision-making class.
I read a few pages of the book a couple of weeks ago, and it’s got me to thinking about our society and how we think we have to have so much to live.
But we don’t. We really don’t.
My family usually takes a camping trip or two every year when the weather’s warm. We have a pop-up tent that sleeps six people. If we need it, we’ll take another tent, the kind you pitch on the ground.
It seems we take a lot of stuff with us, but we usually get everything we need in the camper and a pickup truck.
We take bedding, coolers, clothing and shoes, and a few books and games. We take lanterns and personal hygiene products. We take our bicycles. We take camp chairs to sit in outside.
Whenever we camp, I’m always struck by how little we actually need to get by…and by how little it takes to be happy. Some of the best memories we’ve ever made with our kids (and their friends) have been made during camping trips.
If we had a way to do laundry, all we’d have to do is restock our food supply every now and then and we could get by indefinitely.
We always choose sites without electricity and we don’t even miss that much, at least not on long summer evenings.
We do choose a campground with restrooms and showers.
I have no desire to camp year-round because of the limited space, but I do find myself thinking more about paring life back as opposed to accumulating more things.
Stuff has to be managed and has to be cleaned every now and then. Yuck. I can think of other things I’d rather do. Like take a hike.
Whereas some dream of moving closer to “civilization,” buying a bigger nicer home, a newer car, etc.; I dream of moving further “back in the holler,” of getting off the grid, of becoming more self-sufficient.
The thing to consider when we’re buying “stuff” is whether our life is really worth trading for all the “things” we think we need.
I believe there are more worthwhile ways to spend our days.