i got this from The simple dollar…when I read it my first reaction was:

OMG did i write this? Shamelessly i have done a cut and paste…and wish I had written it…the nos. and the incidents could have been here or there…but the spirit is completely what I think, believe and act. I guess it helped that my Dad provided for a lot of ‘luxuries’ when we were kids – regular vacations, air travel, eating out, gadgets – cameras, music equipment, etc……what goes as ‘luxuries’ so here it is:

” My cell phone doesn’t let me watch streaming internet video.
I don’t own a pair of pants that cost more than $40 – and most cost less than $10.
We don’t have a flat panel television – we’re still using my old CRT one from my college years.
The back bumper of my truck has rust on it.
I don’t throw out socks until they have holes in them.
We use old t-shirts for rags.
I make my own laundry detergent because the store stuff is overpriced. (no I do not do this)

Some people might look down their noses at us for these things. I don’t mind.

I’ll wave to them as they leave for their high-stress job while I sit in my office in my pajamas and write.
I’ll think about them for a moment as I load up the kids for a day trip to the science center.
I’ll thoroughly enjoy the time I spend working – and when I don’t enjoy it, I’ll get up and do something else.
I’ll talk to my wife and tell her that if she wants to spend a few years being a stay-at-home parent, we can make it work.
I’ll spend the late afternoon playing soccer in the backyard with my son instead of de-stressing in front of the television.

Those are trades I’ll always make.

Thankfully it did not take me a long time to let go of the need to keep up some sort of false appearance of perfection in my life. I never had to have the latest, shiniest gadgets. Luckily my wife is also like that. I never worried constantly about the appearance of success.

Yet, in the end, the people I was really jealous of were the ones doing interesting things with their lives. The person I admired the most (and still do) are Swami Vivekananda and Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Kanchi. Then came Krishna Premi with his Ramayana telling skills.

I might admire the gadgets and the beautiful house (and I’m still envious of them in a lot of ways), but I was truly envious of the people doing exactly what they wanted to be doing.However I am technically challenged and am not willing to put in 1/100th the effort of my sister to maintain the size of house she maintains. Seriously you should be willing to pay the price of the things that you desire – I am not willing to pay the price.

I envied the people who could make their own hours and follow their own muse. I was happy spending ‘Quality’ time with my daughter. Now I think she does not miss me – her friends are far more important. It was not so when she was 5!

Those were the things I most valued – and most wanted. Now my priorities may be changing again…let us see..watch this space.

What I learned along the way was that I had to make a choice between keeping up some sort of pretense of material success or going after the things I most wanted in life. I realized that there’s always something else material to want, some way to feel inadequate because someone else has better stuff, and some way to puff myself up because I have a shinier thing than someone else.

Once I framed things in that context, the choices became easier. Instead of making sure all of our linens matched, we just used them until they were worn. Instead of insisting on the latest and greatest gadgets, I would just get a freebie cell phone and use my gadgets until they didn’t work any more. I didn’t worry about the rusty bumper too much and I didn’t panic and start throwing money around when my kids spilled a bit of juice on the couch.

My stress level went down. Plus, I found that suddenly I had more financial and time resources than I ever imagined. I used both of those resources to my advantage, applying them both to the things I most wanted in life.

Yes, my truck has a rusty bumper and some people might raise their noses at it while they drive by in their Lexus. I’ll watch them go by, off to their stressful job, then I’ll go inside and do the things I’ve wanted to do all of my life.

Sounds like a good trade to me. What say?

of course when you are on your own..once in a while you get a mail like this:


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  1. Good trade after you have made some amount of money. Or if you were lucky your parents made it for you. With the kind of money you need for education of kids – this kind of life is a dream in middle class India!

  2. Typically we all have to do some things that we do not like, it should be to facilitate doing things that we like.

  3. Subra,

    I could not agree more.

    Living life on your terms has more riches than gold could buy.

  4. One cannot satisfy in doing what he wants after all the satisfaction he is chasing is giving him more market return that he argues for!
    I cannot say that my friend has a stressful job to pacify my little voice that is calling you to take a pace with him and making the best out of myself.
    This is how things get started, and this is how world progress and if all of us start statisfying our needs then we will have to rely on others who are inventing new things and we are sitting on our cozy chair wondering why we are lagging behind always!

  5. if by sitting and that makes you wonder why you are lagging you have not reached there. That is all. Once you reach there you do not compare. It is like a rat race. Even if you win, you are still a rat. Men are not in that race 🙂 that is all.

  6. absolutely sitting and wondering what went wrong will take me nowhere bcoz I am a satisfied person, to act upon it and dig out in deeper to fill your desire is only when I am not satisfied with something what I have experienced and I set out myself to know more of it.
    Rat race is also arranged by those men (crazy scientists) who are not satisfied and want to dig more and more for the better results, as for rat, he doesn’t care about the race at all bcoz he already satisfied with cheese!

  7. hi subbu,
    I feel satisfaction is diffrent for diffrent people if i travel by train in 3rd ac i am happy for someone even a reserved seat will make them happy but for someone only business class kingfisher can make them happy. For the guy who wanna travel in kingfisher business class has to work more and he is also SATISFIED when he acheive his goal.. for outside people like you will have a thought that he is having lot of stress the answer is no if he desire for something and running towards it keeping the end in mind he will not be stressfull rather he will be enjoying the extra effort that he puts.You dont have to comapare be yourself go for what your mind says if it says i want a merc run for it.. if it says our m800 itself is cool for this trafffic listen to that.. its all in the mind set there is no one answer for being happy.

  8. ‘outside people like you’ – as long as you ‘live for others’ you are in the race. Frankly to me -beyond the people to whom I owe an explanation – my immediate family – it does not matter what they think of my lifestyle. That is important. If you are under stress, you are under stress, how does it matter to me? It does not.

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