Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Cosmic Question

The more I watch "You've Got Mail" the more I appreciate it.  Charming, witty, and at times profound, as in the following quote from heroine Kathleen:  "Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? ....I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void."

When I look at my life, I wonder the same thing.  Due to a series of unforeseen (some would say unfortunate) events, my dear husband and I have come to live on small means, in a way that many people can't understand, doing without things many people take for granted.  Some of these changes have been voluntary;  some compulsory.  Yet the steps toward our current life have been so gradual, and we've become so used to the way we live, we can't quite imagine going back.

So the question remains:  do we do it because we like it, or because we're not brave enough to try for more?  I don't have an answer for that.  But I do know this:  we have learned, and are learning, to be content with less, to make the most of what we have, to realize simplicity with dignity.  And if you, dear reader, are trying to live graciously and contentedly with limited means, I hope you may find a little help in this blog.

P.S.  Who is Mr. Micawber, and what's his recipe for happiness?  Mr. Micawber is a bombastic yet lovable character from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.  Perennially broke, often sent to debtor's prison, he offers the following advice to the young David:  "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."  In short (as Micawber would say), live within your means.

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