Value in a simpler life

March 26, 2014 

My parents, rest their souls, grew up in the Great Depression -- one in an urban setting, the other in a rural setting. Both families lost their homes to foreclosure and three of the four of my grandparents died prior to their children's adulthood.

Times for that generation of Americans were hard. Yet my parents incessantly talked about the "good old days". As I age, I begin to understand just what it was for which they pined. Simplicity.

Today's family pursuits seem to be anything but simplistic. If it isn't soccer practice or dance lessons, it's PTA fundraisers, T-ball, Girl Scout cookies, workout sessions, three church functions per week, Pack The House Night, or the annual firemen's chili benefit. All of this is sandwiched in between the schedules of two working parents, kids with their noses perpetually buried in smart phones, and immeasurable social pressures to excel in endeavors of which your neighbors might also be in headlong pursuit.

Life itself begs a person to take three steps back and scream at the top of his lungs. But we never do; we just keep right on spinning our wheels and getting further behind in the pursuit and mastery of happiness.

My parents and their acquaintances could achieve hours of happiness with a simple deck of playing cards. Ultimately, one must wonder why that kind of simplicity is so elusive in today's world. I guess it depends on which vintage of happiness we are trying to achieve: quantity or quality.

Richard Yesley

New Athens

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