What Do We Need To Be Happy?

I know you’re all aching to hear about the different things I learned at the Mother Earth News Fair. I will get to all that, but first I feel the most important things I took away were the stories of people who paired down to nothing and are happier people for it.

Hearing these life tales of how others have rid themselves of so many material things and then continued on to live closer to their families, closer to their food, and closer to nature were nothing short of inspiring. During their lectures at the Mother Earth News Fair, the message of ‘less is more’ was not usually what their workshop was about, but this is the message that was being shouted clearly into my mind.

I have often reminded myself that the path of others is not the path of my family. I think we are fairly mainstream in that we enjoy the usual creature comforts: electricity, watching an hour or two of television every night, Trevor drives our regular bad-for-the-environment car to get to work about 20 miles away, we under appreciate running water and the wonders of modern refrigeration. There are so many things we take advantage of because they are “normal” to our everyday, modern life.

Do we need them to survive? No. Are they nice to have around? Definitely, yes.

So this now leads me to wonder, what does myself and my family need to be happy? Not, ‘what do we want to be comfortable?’ This is the real tricky part because we all want to be comfortable. But does being comfortable mean being happy? I suppose that is where the modern world rudely interrupts and puts its two cents in on what is expected of modern, civilized people. I put the expectations of society and of my extended family on the back burner so that I can start to assess what my direct family (myself, Trevor, Cami) needs and how we want live. Tough stuff. But the future is always tough, no matter what changes –good or bad– are out there. This morning I looked around the house and I am suddenly seeing all of these things we don’t actually need and decided to make a list of things we do need.

I hope I can encourage you to make your own list of what you and your family needs to be happy. You don’t even have to do anything about it… just make the list. Think about it. Share your list in the comments if you feel comfortable and let’s encourage each other to be where we want to be in life! It takes courage and encouragement to make life changes.

Frühlingskabine Family Happy List:
• to be debt-free
• a safe, dry home (not necessarily a stick-built house)
• to be closer as a family; more family time
• healthy food
• clean water
• land to cultivate
• basic clothing
• warmth in winter
• animals to raise for the benefit of the family
• to be near extended family
• the ability to cook and bake for ourselves
• good health
• a comfortable bed to sleep in
• music
• somewhere, something to paint
• a shady place to play and relax outside
• books to read
• light indoors in the evening
• a restroom of some-sort
• a shower
• a table to eat meals at
• simple toys for Cami to play with

8 thoughts on “What Do We Need To Be Happy?

  1. That’s a good list. I’m in the process of downsizing and determining my needs for this stage of my life now that all the children are grown. It’s definitely different now that I’m not homeschooling or sewing all of my daughter’s simple dresses. I no longer buy books, rather use the library extensively. Almost never buy fabric, but trying to use fabric from my “stash”. I tell the grown children to “shop” mom’s before buying something new that they need for their apartments.

  2. I might add… To have enough money to keep the bill collectors away. There always seems to be some one with their hand in your pocket…

  3. We have been having the same discussion here lately. We moved out into the country to homestead so we could garden and have goats, chickens (with a rooster), rabbits for meat, etc…and I’ve never been happier. DH is from the city but always wanted to be a farmer, & he is loving it, though calls his brothers back east to tell them it’s ‘a lot of work’, but is rewarding. I’m making cheese and selling a bit of it, along with some goat milk. It’s truly humbling to fend for oneself, our kids are learning about the old daysand appreciating it.

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