Words to Live By

By , February 18, 2010

A daily feature of my Franklin Planner is an “inspirational” quote. I quote inspirational, because they favor a few sources with which I vehemently disagree—inspiring, perhaps, but not to higher minded thoughts or actions . . . . I also notice that since Mr. Covey bought the company, even adding his name to that of Benjamin Franklin, the revered originator of the concept on which the system is based, they try to “inspire” with far more quotes from Mr. Covey than from Dr. Franklin.

Most days, though, the thought is a worthy one. Occasionally, one really speaks to me.

Recently, I read this quote:

“The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead.” —William Menninger

If you forced me to explain in a nutshell why we live the way we do on the homestead, this quote would cover it. When we made the decision to break from mainstream American life, we couched our arguments in much these same terms. Time weighed particularly heavily on me, as I followed a relatively clear career track at the time, working in a job that provided good pay, a level of security, union, benefits, retirement, and room for advancement. All I had to do was continue working until I reached my 60s, then retire in modest style.

Retire to what, though?

Would I have more time to spend with my daughter? She’ll be in her mid-twenties, then, with a family and life of her own.

Retire to the homestead? I already wonder, most days, how much better this life might have been had we started it when we were10 years younger. Starting it 10 years later would not work.

So, what? Take up golf?

“Living the American Dream,” toiling as a good employee till I reach my late middle years would, indeed, be Mr. Menninger’s “wait[ing] around for life to supply . . . satisfaction.”

Maybe I’m too impatient. Or, maybe life’s simply too precious to wait around for it to begin. Either way, these days I’m pretty satisfied!

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