That Man Is Richest Whose Pleasures Are The Cheapest

“Poor and content is rich and rich enough.” –  William Shakespeare

The Royal Wedding is in a few hours but that’s not what prompted this post. With no topic in mind for the night, I put off writing and read my favorite blogs instead. I have eclectic blog tastes, but the ones I read regularly are written by fellow travelers.

Some are written by other gate guards; some by full-time RVers; some by friends who are taking a year off to see the world; some by those whose travels are cerebral rather than physical.

What attracts me to this diverse group is their appreciation of the daily graces and the ease in which they inhabit their skin. They are folks who are so comfortable with themselves that others forget to be ill-at-ease when they’re with them. What a rare gift.

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.  Henry David Thoreau, 1856

Thoreau wrote those words exactly 100 years before I was born. The price of  material pleasure has certainly increased, but the richness he refers to isn’t affected by inflation.

We who live in rolling homes tend to talk a lot about simplifying. It’s a necessary life skill when you live in an RV. But simplicity doesn’t guarantee a life of richness.

You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy. –  Eric Hoffer

I’ve decided that what draws me to these blogs, wildly varying  as they are, is the contentment of the people who write them. I mean contentment, not complacency; very different attitudes which are occasionally made to seem synonymous.

I read blogs of people of significant financial means and of some who live on only on their Social Security checks. All are people who refuse to laugh at others, but can freely laugh at themselves. They are folks whose happiness is settled internally, and doesn’t come unhinged by appearances or circumstances. With or without, they have learned to be content.

My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants.
–  J. Botherto

So it was contentment that prompted this post. In the spirit of contentment and simplicity, I’ll keep this short. I often include clips in my posts. This may be my favorite so far. The amazing Yo Yo Mau is playing, Alison Krauss is singing and the pictures do paint a thousand words.

Mission Statements Out… Mottos In

When I moved to Texas and became a Level 2 Security Guard, I prayed that God would use birds to restore and encourage me. (Telling God how to operate…I know.) I’m thrilled to say that my prayers have been granted. Today I was lured outside by a Long-billed Thrasher, which I’d never seen or heard. This is it. You might have to use your imagination as it was early and cloudy.

Long-billed Thrasher

Compare that with last year at this time. I was about to turn 59 and having chest pains from anxiety. I had taken a writing and consulting job at a small beach resort in southern Oregon. That torpedoed into Asst Mgr in less than 2 weeks. I found myself in charge of far more than the proposed freelance ideas: social networking, mission statement, newsletters, and office forms.

Being an incurable problem solver, I was like a bee during pollination! So many flowers, so little day light. I had lost my goal. The whole idea of living full-time in the 32 foot RV was to escape the hectic professional life and simplify. Leaving the resort management position and becoming a gate guard has helped me regain the focus on simplicity.

After leaving Oregon, I wrote this post on the topic of RVing compared to bricks and mortar. Simplify is my chosen motto. It doesn’t suit my busy bee ambition very well, but I’m learning to modify the revving of my inner drive for accomplishment. My new life focus is to find ways of slowing down, reducing stress. I even like the way it sounds: simplify.

For years the word had taunted me. I read magazine articles about it, Googled it, bought books on the topic. It called me.

One year Debbie bought this Good Life* tee shirt as a gift for my birthday. I’m convinced it helped unclutter my life and spur me on in a new direction. Imagine cleaning your garage and stopping to wipe the sweat from your face when you look down and see this on your chest…

I don’t have the Adirondack chair in the RV, so how do I simplify?

Reducing the excess helps me simplify. I can focus on the essentials without being distracted by excess. In the RV, I quickly learned to keep only what was necessary. I have 3 skillets and two pans. Period. In my Iowa house that I’ve rented to friends, I had a whole cupboard of pots and pans. I still used only a few of those. Excess creates confusion and clutter.

Working the early morning hours helps me simplify. One of the riggers, a geological guy with two college degrees says he loves to work at night because people don’t bug him, there’s very little traffic around the rig and he doesn’t get distracted. I get that. I try to finish blogging before 8 when the gate traffic picks up.

Not having to multi-task helps me simplify, slows my mind. Being a gate guard at an oil rig can be fast-paced, but it happens in spurts, so I never become exhausted. It also never seems overwhelming because I’m not trying to answer the phone, prepare for a meeting, and be creative at the same time that someone walks through my office door and demands my attention. The job description of gate guarding is so basic. Get the information, get it down on the clipboard and let them in or out. I’ve rarely had a challenge.

I tried to think of one as an example and it took a while. That’s encouraging! Okay. One rough-neck wasn’t thrilled with having to stop at the gate and check in so one day he just buzzed on through. That same guy found me in the middle of the road the next time he wanted to leave the site. We came to an ‘understanding’ and now we’re on good terms. That’s easy to explain. ‘Don’t ignore the English teacher!’ It’s a former motto!

* I have obtained permission to use Good Life product pictures in my blogging as long as I make it clear they are not subsidizing me and that although we share a love for optimism, the views I express are mine, not necessarily theirs.