The epidemic of stress, overwork, shopping and debt caused by the relentless pursuit of the American Dream, which has been altered to mean the acquisition of more and more material things. Overconsumption is not only damaging our environment but eating away at our personal and family life. We have more material things than ever before, and yet, we are no happier than when we lived a simpler and less affluent life.
Have we achieved a higher standard of living at the expense of quality of life?Independence from “stuff” is what many of us want. Many would gladly reduce material things to have more time and less stress in our lives. More contact with nature, human relationships, and creative pursuits. Isn’t that what would bring joy into our lives, instead of just more money?
People who have made the switch from high-paying, but unfulfilling and stressful job to a more rewarding and less complicated existence are glad they did. Many are unwilling or unable to because of financial reasons, only to discover just how badly it has affected their health. Perhaps the current economic downturn has been a blessing in disguise for many. Those who were tired of their high stress jobs have been involuntarily liberated from them, forcing them to make overdue changes and set out in new directions. Those who have a financial cushion will have more time to make choices. Those who don’t could be forced into self-employment, which often is what they secretly longed for. Adversity always brings hidden opportunities.
But what should apply to everyone is the idea that you should earn and spend your money, and live your life, in a way consistent with your values, and the things that you treasure most in life.