This is the Next Best Thing

fast-pacedI am still here in New Jersey two days after my daughter’s wedding, which by the way was incredible. I am not here to write about the wedding as I believe that these family matters should be shared amongst family and friends and I have certainly expressed my endless joy on a more personal level with the the shake of a hand, a kiss and hug and face to face communications.

While living on the West Coast of America has given way to people finding incredible joy in the simpler things in life it is sad to say that here on the East Coast many things have not changed. It seems to me that more people are still seeking happiness wrapped around the pursuit of money and the things money can buy. I have noticed even more larger McMansions being built here, more expensive cars and trucks and the incredibly selfish attitude of people driving on the roads all trying to get places with little disregard for others they share the road with.

Now I know that not all people here share this way of life, but from what I gathered so far it appears that the majority do. I also know that not all who live on the West Coast share the spirit of minimalism and community, but it seems that more do the same way that more share the spirit of protecting the environment.

It is certainly a fast paced way of living here on the East Coast where conversations are so brief that words shared amongst others seem insignificant and meant strictly for a moment of the recognition and not truly for need of knowing others. “Hi, how are you?” “I’m well, how are you?” “I’ve got to go.” “Me too.” “Take care.” “You too.”

Everyone is constantly rushing off to the next thing while not understanding the current thing. There rarely is anything more important than the people in our lives and when we simply have little time for those people we have to ask ourselves if they really are a part of our lives.

People ask me why there are so many coffee shops in Oregon. The truth is that it has less to do with coffee and more to do with people finding opportunities to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with others. I mean how much do we really know about each other from a tweet or a Facebook post? No, quality time spent with others gives people a true outlet to express themselves in a meaningful way while also lending an ear to the thoughts and dreams of others. This art has been around since humans learned to communicate and is simply a human need. While in the pursuit of other things that leave us little time to actually communicate we find that there is an emptiness that leads to problems which are difficult to understand. I believe that there are a record amount of people seeking counseling not because they are crazy but just because they have the need to sit down, relax and express themselves for an hour.

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to spend some time here in New Jersey as it has certainly confirmed my reasons to seek out a simpler way of life. The stress I left behind is still here and maybe always will be. There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of success as this too is a part of being human, but living in a society where there is little time to turn off the machine will take it’s toll on us living this way year after year. Being so closely attached to the signals that flash in our eyes each day sending messages to us that we are no good enough if we don’t have this, or not worthy enough if we don’t have that can send us into a cycle that makes us question our very existence. A life where our best friend is our smart phone leads to an existence of loneliness where we have to ask ourselves, “Does anyone really care about anything other than themselves?”

The message I have for those here on the East Coast is simple. Turn off the TV, put down the phone and plan real time with those closest to you, especially family members. Find a quiet place to look into each others eyes and just talk until your heart is content. Practice this on a regular basis and start to realize that the next best thing is already here.

About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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21 Responses to This is the Next Best Thing

  1. I love how you write “People ask me why there are so many coffee shops in Oregon. The truth is that it has less to do with coffee and more to do with people finding opportunities to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with others.”

    Amen to a minimalist, simple lifestyle! Conversations that reach higher, search deeper, rise up = my zen. Moments of quiet contemplation mixed in with heart pounding fitness = my high. A good meal. Kindness between strangers. A beautiful sunrise. This very moment = my purpose.

    Thank you for sharing your take on the good life. I concur! Less IS more.

  2. geekkat says:

    So true…hence the reason I choose living in the country versus the city. It is too fast, loud, and so impersonal. I love the fact that I can talk to my neighbors and not feel rushed. Or even get up in the morning and not hear the sounds of city life.

    Glad to hear your daughter’s wedding was wonderful. Congrats to her and her new husband 🙂

  3. “…seeking counseling not because they are crazy but just because they have the need to sit down, relax and express themselves for an hour.”

    You really hit the nail in the head here. I’ve often thought this.

  4. gitfitsite says:

    Well said! Not all that glitters is gold, so easy for folks to forget that.

  5. I have always dreamed of moving out west my whole life. I think the personality and attitude of that area better fits me. My life has always felt fast paced and stressful and honestly I hate it. I grew up in Chicago, then lived in Louisville, Ky which was very nice and it’s own little eclectic world, but now live in North Carolina on the east coast and it’s strange!

  6. kayleeray says:

    Great post!!
    Two things stuck out: “Everyone is rushing off to the next thing while not understanding the current thing.” That should become a meme!
    The other is about therapy. I was pondering something very similar the other day. Our sense of community has been so broken up on top of having too many superficial relationships rather than deep ones AND every body trying to keep with the Jones’ when nobody even knows who they are!

  7. Thx for the encouragement…I’ve been scaling back and glancing westward for a year or two. Strange how 61 years of living turns fearlessness into what ifs??

  8. Gail says:

    I agree with you about the “How are you! I’m fine. And you? I’m well, thank you” dialogue. Enough already. Make it stop. You couldn’t care less how I am, so don’t ask.
    But I don’t necessarily agree that face-to-face time or slowing the pace are essential ingredients of the recipe for happiness. When we or our loved ones lead busy lives, technology enables us to stay connected. Also, I for one find it easier to share my feelings in writing than in person. I’m happiest when I’m working because my job is to create and to manage projects, and because bills are then not a source of stress. For me, a simpler life is more about understanding yourself and your priorities, and awareness of what brings you joy. Then, you can begin to foster an environment of self-fulfillment, whether it is in an urban or rural setting, in a coffee shop or in a blog, and it naturally follows that life can become simpler.

  9. Dede says:

    I’m not sure where you live on the west coast but the pursuit of happiness through things is alive and well in every inch of this country. It’s become an American mindset. It’s sad but true. Congratulations on the wedding.

  10. Anna says:

    I’ve never been to the US, so it’s interesting to read this insight! Around here, though our country is so small, we also have amazing differences between how people live in various places (pace of life and values).

  11. New Journey says:

    Happy that the wedding was a blessed day……when we visitied the East Coast, it was like going to another planet in many ways….and the feeling that everyone was in a hurry was in the air for sure….glad your enjoying yourself…kat

    • Yes, it was a wonderful wedding and your right, people move faster on the east coast. When I got back I almost ran over a few people here because I forgot that people walk out into the roadways here with little regard for getting hit. On the east coast you don’t dare walk out into a roadway. LOL

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