While meandering my way into WordPress to do a blog about something entirely different, I found Middleagedplague‘s blog. This excerpt from her reply to one of the comments beautifully sums the post up:
Being uniquely poised between the Great Generation that still thinks the rotary phone is good enough, by God, and the younger, that embraces all things that tweet and ping, the Norwegian Artist and I carefully consider the pros and cons of new technology before we jump in. It’s amazing how economic considerations often make the final decision!
People blather on and on about the “simple life,” but truly living it makes one a maverick in today’s hyper-pressed society. Close family, good friends, petting the kitty — these are timeless things.
I couldn’t agree more… it fits in with my version of perfect happiness. For me, a room needs to contain the following to be complete: Books, food, wine, flowers, friends, music. None of them is more important than another, none is absolutely necessary. (The food for instance could be in another room, the music could be drifting in from the street, the wine could be in my imminently arriving friend’s car, and the flowers could be in a painting… no. Fresh flowers or nothing.) All of them would enhance my life.
There are more and more great books that seem to be ushering in a new age of simplicity, the ‘back to the land’ trend, eco-consciousness and so on and on. Because, by some amazing coincidence, the recession does seem to be going on and on as well, doesn’t it? Yeerrrs.
Tom Hodgkinson is a freelance journo living in the countryside in England, and he’s written several books urging us all to relax, among them the following two: How to be Idle, and How to be Free. Tom’s theory is that the less you consume, the less you have to work, basically. Turning to simple pleasures like lying in a hammock, having a laugh with friends, star-gazing, cloud-gazing, reading books in your hammock, bobbing in a body of water… All these are all much more conducive to real enjoyment and pleasure than sitting on the net aimlessly surfing and looking for ‘useful stuff’ for hours and hours. Watching TV, reading the papers and surfing the net – speaking for myself, these stimulate anxiety at the state of the world and create a need for more Things. When one jumps off the treadmill of needing the latest and the greatest because the ego demands it, life becomes a whole lot more fun and infinitely less stressful.
For more advanced hedonists, the Hedonism Handbook: Mastering the Lost Arts of Leisure and Pleasure by Michael Flocker is a very good buy and excellent inspiration. I commend these two gentle men for their wonderful work. Not that it’s work, if you’re following your bliss.