Monday, May 12, 2008


I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
~~Emma Goldman

My girlfriend and I are sitting at Starbuck's on a Wednesday afternoon. Stern business types drift in and out, as this corporate corner of our city bustles around us. We are talking about love, life, dreams and all the things we are grateful for. We laugh. We cry. We sit back and breathe deeply.

And it hits me, here we are, two women living independently on less than $15,000 a year, sipping lattes in the middle of the afternoon, enjoying life, laughing and wondering what all the fuss is about; all the money-making commotion in the office towers around us, the deadlines, the stress, what's the point? And I realize, I've never been happier.

Over the past year, I have found a deep contentment and joy with very little in a financial way. I work to support myself, but I also create enough money and time to have coffee with friends at least three or four times a week. I buy tulips when they're in season. I buy myself vintage jewelry when a piece catches my eye. I have new clothes. I eat out pretty often.

I have come to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. I have learned to sink deep into a cup of tea or a plate of sushi. I have found the beauty in seeing the richness of life that surrounds me every moment of every day. The smiles of friends. The tears of children. The new buds on the tree outside my window as I type this.

I am rich beyond measure. Who knew? Not me. For a very long time.

tall penguin


heart2heart said...

It is an amazing thing when you are able to appreciate life for all of the "little" things we so often take for granted. To experience each day as if it were your first, as if everything was new...

matt said...

My psychology professor ingrained in me the realization that we are working ourselves to death. We sleep badly, we work badly, we have fun badly. We want the most expensive things, and then we can't use them because we're busy paying them off. We buy large houses with so many rooms that we can't even live in -- because we're paying them off. We're putting ourselves into a debt we cannot possibly pay -- a life we could never enjoy. Due to stress, risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Our immune systems die, we only eat fattening processed food. We're selfishly killing ourselves for a pleasure we will never be able to feel.

The 'American' dream is no more, and never was. :)

And by we, I do not include particularly enlightened people as yourself and my professor; these enlightened few who see far more value to living life itself.

I've worked in a factory before. We built Pepsi vending machines. I knew people there who spent their entire lives building vending machines. Not for their own enjoyment. You can't enjoy a vending machine. Anything that you can do with it takes your money! But more importantly, they had no value to life, they just lived in the now, or maybe even the then.

Your thoughts on this is yet another very true and wonderful approach.

tall penguin said...

Someone said to me recently that they were jealous of my ability to experience things so new because of what I'd missed out on earlier in life, but the reality is, you can meet each day anew, each moment anew, each breath anew.

And life is about the little things. What else is there? :)

tall penguin said...

"We're selfishly killing ourselves for a pleasure we will never be able to feel."

Amen to that. I think that our purpose in this life is to come to appreciate the now, the beauty in each moment that is happening before our very eyes. Not the moment that has passed or the moment yet to come but the moment that is eternal, the only moment we can live--this one right here, right now.