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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Best Things in Life are Simple...

Do you ever think what it would be like to have a time machine and go back about a hundred or a couple of hundred years to experience how our ancestors lived?  Or about what a time traveler from the distant past would think of our world today if they suddenly found themselves in the year 2011?  

We are living with and depending on things...machines... they would have found unimaginable, much less possible, a hundred years ago.  Heck, we are living in a world I couldn't have imagined just 20 years ago!  

I can't remember the last time I actually picked up the phone to call a friend to make plans.  Several years ago we started emailing instead of calling and now instead of emailing we facebook or text.  And many times we seem to be perfectly content to allow our relationships to go on existing solely in the virtual world.  

Yes, it's convenient to be able to pop in and out of facebook, check to see what everyone is up to, take a quick look at pictures from their recent family vacation, give them the ol' thumbs up and then go on about our business which consists of pressing buttons, nuking food, and catching up on our favorite shows that our good friend, the DVR, was so nice to record for us while kicked back on our comfy sofa with a blanket because our good friend, the AC, is keeping our house a nice cool 73 degrees although it's a humid 93 outside.  

It seems that in the process of simplifying our lives, making them easier, we have somehow lost simple altogether.  

We are spoiled.  

And while I'm not saying that I want to or am about to give up my air conditioned car for a donkey or my washer and dryer for a washboard and a line, or certainly not my blackberry, laptop,  microwave, central vacuum, and dishwasher to go live off the land in a cabin in the faraway woods, I do sometimes miss or long for a simpler time.  

When I think of the moments throughout my life in which I have felt the most joy, happiness, and contentment, I don't see or hear any of my high efficiency appliances working for me while I'm kicked back watching Netflix on my laptop...

I see smiles on faces I have known and loved...

I hear katydids at dusk and smell fresh cut grass and the sweet honeysuckle that grew at the edge of the woods behind my childhood home and the laughter of my very best friend as we ran and twirled and caught lightning bugs and put them in a mayonnaise jar with holes we'd poked in the lid so they could breathe...

I smell my freshly bathed boys when they were babies, hear their sweet voices when they spoke their first words and see their chubby little legs and gap-toothed grins as they took their first steps... 

I hear ocean waves crashing against the shore and smell the salty air and feel my toes in the sand and the warm sun on my face...

I feel the warmth and strength of the arms who have held, hugged and loved me...

I see the loving, trusting brown eyes and the excited, wagging tails and elated "welcome home" barks of all the dogs in my life, past and present...

and feel the silky softness of their fur beneath my hands and against my face...

I remember the surprised joy of going to the mailbox and finding an unexpected card or letter from a friend or family member with precious words written by their very own hands... 

I hear the scratchy sound of a 45 playing on the record player and my little girl voice, along with my sister's or my friend's, as we belted out the words to Rod Stewart's You're In My Heart or Elton John's Crocodile Rock into our hairbrush or bedpost finial microphones...

I smell wild onions and remember pretending to bake a pie out of them on the back patio and feel the wind on my face and in my hair as I rode my big yellow bike down the big hill behind my house...

I taste the many homecooked meals and desserts prepared for me with loving hands and see and hear the happy faces and voices coming together around the dinner table...

I feel laughter so deep it hurts my belly and leaves streaks of tears on my cheeks...

I recall the sights, tastes, sounds, smells and feelings of little everyday things that make life worth living and I know that no matter how big this world gets or how much easier our lives are made by technology, it will forever and always be these simple things our souls crave the most, even when we are absolutely convinced it's going to be that new iPhone or trip to the wonderful world of Disney that will satisfy us most...

So go ahead and respond to that text, send that tweet out, and press that button but don't forget to pause, appreciate, and thank God for all those priceless little moments and simple little things that can never be bought yet somehow never fail to make your whole heart smile.

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.  ~Lao Tzu

This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt 1.) The Simple Things...


  1. So true! I love all our modern conveniences, but the moments I savor (and hope my children savor, as well) are the impromptu picnics, the books read together, and the long walks talking about everything under the sun :)

  2. Going through depression I need the simple things to get me through. More than what a virtual world can offer. While it is awesome, i crave real people in the now...oh and air conditioning. Can't give that up.

    This is really beautiful

  3. I am constantly amazed at what we had 15 years ago vs now. I just read a book that had been re-released so newish cover, ancient storyline and when I finished the book I realized something was off about the entire story. It dawned on me hours later that the book was "quiet." There were no cell phones, no internet, no pagers, simple, quiet... If things can change so dramatically in 15 years, what will life be like in 2026?

  4. You are so right. No e-card or e-mail can do what something sitting in the mailbox does. Snail mail, hmph. It's joy mail.

  5. Very true! I would love to go back to a simpler time. I've been talking with a friend, and we've made a vacation plan. We're going to visit an Amish community just to get away from all of the modern "conveniences" that weigh us down. Don't get me wrong...I'll be perfectly happy to come back to my washing machine and dishwasher. ;)

  6. I kinda think that we're the last bunch to have had the simple life in the way we all dream of and so fondly remember. I suspect that children from this moment on will never have quite the sweet simplicity we did, and that's a terrible shame. :(

  7. You just took me back in time. Those were the days. Makes me sad that my children aren't experiencing what we had.

  8. Awesome job with this post! Loved it. I'm with you. I'm so glad I had such a simple, technology-free childhood. I too appreciate what technology has given us today, but I'm glad those things were not a part of my growing-up. It's too bad my kids won't be able to say the same thing.

  9. I still love to get a note in the mail or chat with a friend on the phone.

    It is great to quickly check Facebook to see what playgroup is doing, but it is sitting chatting with them while our kids play that I love the best.

  10. So very true. I miss the delight in finding a handwritten card in the mail. It would always bring a smile to my face. Now most people don't even bother to sign their Holiday cards...c'est la vie...

  11. Beautiful words. I definitely teared up because I can relate to many of your favorite memories. You're right - tech is wonderful, but it's not the things we will cherish the most in our lives!

  12. I try to "disconnect" one day a week. Usually Sunday.

    There is nothing more satisfying then watching the boys get sweaty playing basketball, taking a swig from the hose, and then running down the street to the pond, jumping in fully clothed, and hitting up the ice cream truck with soaking wet dollar bills. :)

  13. I would not like to give up on my technology, but I do long for simple times and hope to indulge in a few of them during my upcoming retirement. Thanks for visiting

  14. I love this post! Sometimes, it's fun to imagine living in a simpler time.

  15. I loved this post! It's so true. We are so spoiled. I've spent the past week doing nothing! I've barely been online, and I have a tan! It's so important to just stop sometimes.

  16. So beautifully written. I love my conveniences, but it does seem like we've forgotten the simplest things.

  17. Great post and so true... My kids are camping in the mountains with my parents and that's one of the things I love about camping... no electronics... hmm... funny, notice how I'm NOT with them??? :)

  18. What a great blog!

    I have to admit the past week and a half have been hard on me. We were in the mountains. I have used the internet once in the past week. We didn't have service. I used my phone @ 4 times. Connection was terrible. So, here I am safe and sound at home playing on my lap top.

    I promise I am so tempted to have cable disconnected at my house. But, then, I would be the one to suffer!