Now that I’m older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve decided I like a simple life. I’m seventy-five years’ old, so why has it taken me so long to figure this out, you might ask. Well, I guess it is because I can now compare my present slower life to that of my past hectic one and I like this latter one better.
Most of my adult life was spent pursuing and fine-tuning all kinds of things: education, vocation, marriage, raising children, buying a home, and much more. And as my wife and I accomplished these things, we worked harder at maintaining and financing them, as our obligations increased along the way. And, looking back, there was a ton of mistakes made in reaching this current situation, too.
Other than the mistakes made along the way, I have no regrets about our life’s journey to this point in time. And even the mistakes were learning experiences that actually helped, when I look back. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t live our present lives by always looking back. I already wrote an article about how you can’t drive down the road of life, if you just keep your eyes on the rear view mirror.1 But it doesn’t hurt to reflect upon your life and understand all the ups and downs that got you to where you are now. Our experiences can also help teach our grown children, as they plow through their own lives — if only they will listen.
Except for maintenance or replacement, we don’t buy things on a whim just to get more stuff.
As for my wife and me, we have gotten to the point that all the things we did in the past have given us the opportunity to slow down a bit and enjoy what we have accomplished. Other than spending money on maintenance and replacement, we don’t buy things on a whim just to get more stuff. We don’t have to always be on the “go” and we don’t have to take on social obligations, unless we really want to. We still live our lives, we just removed the “hectic” part – the part that always seemed to create problems and produce conflict. I now have more time to meditate and write. My wife, Mary, has more time to garden and create in her work shop. These are the things we enjoy now but didn’t have enough time to enjoy before. We are very happy with our current lifestyle.
When we were kids, our only obligations were going to school to learn new things, working at the chores our parents gave us, and trying to live by the rules they established. It was a much simpler time. Now, at this older age, it is similar to that again. We learn new things, we do our chores, and we try to live by the rules that our Father in heaven has established for us.
Some people seem to float through their entire time on this planet living the simple life. Their thought is that if you are happy, why change; sort of an attitude of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ There is a fun song I like, called “Pot Roast and Kisses,” about a couple living like this. He is the provider and fix-it man around the house, she maintains the home and cooks the food, and they are both in love with each other and very comfortable with their way of life. You can’t get much simpler than that (see reference at end of article).2
Not everyone can live in the moment for their entire life so, if your life is a bit more complex, how do you find time to live a simpler life – one with less conflict and problems? Well, God has given us many lessons on how to do this. Although these lessons are scattered throughout the Bible, my favorite book for instruction, wisdom, and understanding is the Old Testament book of Proverbs which was written (most, if not all) by King Solomon during his reign. This book contains some of the best little snippets of wisdom that come right to the point and will help you live a simpler life.
Now Solomon was very rich, but the counsel offered is beneficial for rich and poor, as well as the fool and the wise. His wisdom came from God and was probably written down for his descendants, but of value to everyone. The chapter that comes to mind, as I write this article, is Proverbs, chapter 13. I particularly like a Bible version called “The Message,”3 for reading Proverbs and the following choice morsels are from that translation.
Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. (Proverbs 13:20)
A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. (Proverbs 13:24)
An appetite for good brings much satisfaction, but the belly of the wicked always wants more. (Proverbs 13:25)
The book of Proverbs is a good read and can be easily divided for reading over several days, if you wish. A chapter a day would be a good way to start. I’ve read through it many times, over the years, and each time I still find new bits of enlightenment that peak my interest.
Copyright © 2018, Dr. Ray Hermann
(Leave any comment at the end, after References & Notes.)
References & Notes
1. Hermann, Ray, “Looking at Life through a Rear View Mirror,” (The Outlaw Bible Student, 27 January 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/looking-at-life-through-a-rear-view-mirror/
2. “Pot Roast and Kisses,” The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, (Written by: Josh Peyton, Album: So Delicious, Label: Shanchie Records, 15 February 2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–x4QYPQaHI (VIDEO)
3. Peterson, Eugene H., The Message, The Bible in Contemporary Language, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress Publishing Group, 2002). Used by permission.