Diamond-Cut Life

More Joy, Less Stuff

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Twenty Ways To A Simpler, Happier Life, Part III

April 9th, 2009 by Alison · No Comments · community, food & drink, health & well being, lifestyle, simplicity, sustainability

This is the final installment to my three-part series on inroads to the Diamond-Cut Life (a life rich in joy, low in consumption). In Part I I talked about everything from drinking less to letting the phone ring to having one car-free day a week. In Part II I suggested creating no new debt, getting a smaller house or car, and considering a vacation via the train. Feel free to add what works for you in building a simpler, happier life.

  • Put people first, then money, then things.  (I didn’t coin this principle; I actually got it from finance guru Suze Orman).  We have dozens of choice-points every week concerning our priorities. People should be our top priority, and things (possessions) a low priority, because most lose their value quickly, and only a few of them actively contribute to our happiness after the first week of purchase. Money should be treated with respect, including saving it — our country would be suffering a lot less right now if we’d heeded this principle the last ten years.
  • Play more games. I mean with people, not Game-Boys or such. Cards, charades, board games, Simon Says, the active games we played outdoors as kids . . . . . games make us laugh, raise our energy level, build community and steer us away from over-consumption. Many of them can also bring people of all different ages and income levels together.
  • Learn to cook and season beans for delicious meals at pennies per serving. I’ve read that the average American eats twelve ounces of meat per day. Meat is costly to our wallets, our health and our planet., while dried beans of all stripes are kind to all three.  If we replace meat with juicy, savory beans at one-third of those meals we can save about $1,000 annually  plus a great deal of cholesterol. Here are some good bean and legume recipes.
  • Invest yourself in what is local to you. This applies to neighbors and friends, cafes and coffee-houses, events and recreation, parks and concerts, schools and swimming holes. Weaving yourself into your community, the one you live in, creates a rich quality of life, regardless of your income level and whether it rises or falls with a goofy economy. Being known by name is a form of prosperity. Being missed is one way of being loved. Don’t assume you have to get into a car or a plane to get what you need. It might lie right in your neighborhood.
  • Gracefully end friendships that are no longer a fit. Do your friends support your highest values? Do you like the person you are when you’re around them? People change and grow.  Sometimes we work too hard at being a good friend — or passively let the other person work too hard. It’s OK to calmly decline an invitation, or tell a friend “I’m taking a break”, or even “I need to let go of this.” Last year a lifelong pal and I ended our friendship by mutual agreement (agreeing also that we might reconnect at some point in the future).  Saying good-bye to her freed up my energy for the friendships and community that reflect who I am now, rather than who I was in my teens and twenties.

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