The Meaning of Life Is In Your Breakfast Cereal. Seriously!
by Bella Rum
I like routine. I enjoy having a plan and knowing what’s coming next. A routine can be manipulated, adjusted; it isn’t carved in stone, but it does provide an orderliness to life that doesn’t otherwise exist. It gives the illusion of control to those of us who feel a bit anxious with the random nature of life. That appeals to me.
Not everyone likes routine. I admit that it can remove that sense of adventure and the feeling of endless options, but there is such a thing as having too many options. Ask anyone of my generation who’s ever gone down the cereal isle at a grocery store. I remember when we had about five cold breakfast cereals and about three or four hot options. Now you have at least three Cheerio selections alone. Forget about corn flakes and shredded wheat. Try finding your original childhood cereal in all that mess. Too many options can complicate life.
I sound so old, don’t I? No, I do not want to go back to the limited days of cotton or wool, but I think we can all agree that polyester was a mistake. Neither do I wish to give up my computer and the endless access to fingertip information it provides. I’m down with blended fabrics and endless knowledge. I agree that we are fortunate to have choices that we didn’t have back when I was a kid, but you have to admit, we’ve become a society with a heck of a lot options.
We’ve also become voracious consumers. Then we tire of the latest and greatest and move on to the next delightful widget. Most of it ends up in landfills. We’re drowning in our own sh*t. And ninety percent of it is sh*t we never even needed in the first place. I made that up. But it seemed like a statistic was called for.
While I don’t have a study to back me up, I sense that the path to contentment is not littered with options or new stuff. In fact, I find myself going in exactly the opposite direction these days. Eliminating that which is not needed facilitates clarity. Did I really just say that? I’ve kind of jumped on this minimalist bandwagon that seems to eventually catch the attention of many who have joined the 60-and-over crowd. Okay, I’m not quite 60, but it’s breathing down my neck as I write this.
Maybe this is just the decade we realize we can’t take it with us, but I suspect that it’s deeper than that. Whatever it’s all about, I find myself bowing to this desire to give away half of my treasures and dump all of the rest. These things no longer seem to enhance my life but only serve to complicate it. That advice found in decorating magazines about only owning things that are fundamentally useful or truly beautiful makes sense to me now. It feels right. Philosophy from Better Homes and Gardens. Who knew?
I swear, I’m not going to say less is more. Oops!
H and I have settled into a pleasant routine. He only works about three – occasionally two or four – days a week now, and I think that will dwindle down even further next year, though he says he’ll always work a little. We never know exactly which three days he will work, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. We roll with it. That’s just the way we are. Ha! Just two crazy kids. When he works, I do my own thing. I’m no longer interested in working. I have plenty of interests. When he’s off we do our projects, run around the county and entertain our friends. Life is very sweet right now, and we never forget it.
So, what have I learned. Barring illness, death, job loss, financial ruin, and all the other horrible things that can randomly arrive on our doorsteps, here’s my recipe for contentment: a little work, a little play, a little routine, a little flexibility, good friends, projects to make you feel useful, enough options but not too many, and get rid of all your sh*t. Not a bad way to live if I could only dump this Fiber One crap and find my Rice Krispies.
Would you have been more impressed if I’d used bullets?