Once there was a simple living junkie, who suffered a dramatic backslide and spent an entire year killing time at Target and Fred Meyer. This now-overspent American had a few short months of material bliss, peppered with many moments of crinkling plastic bags and shrink wrap and the thrill of piling new things on the dining room table to admire.
Sadly for the backslider, the thrill was brief. The plastic bags and corrugated boxes were recycled, the items shelved, and in no time at all the fun was over. The high was recaptured on repeated shopping trips, but it was increasingly fleeting, like the aging rush of cocaine. Soon the backslider was feeling grim even while standing in the checkout line, knowing the fun was nearly gone but the bills were here to stay.
And stay they did. The backslider, having spent all her savings on things like new recliners and cheap DVDs, had to go back to work full time. The thought of making a full wage again lifted her heart, until she remembered that one year before, she had had enough to live well on half the paycheck.
The only thing to do was return to simplicity, in the form of remembering that the fun of stuff never lasts long. What really mattered was time, love, relationships, and creativity--things that don't break or get wedged beneath couches. These are the things that money can't buy.