Finding Joy in Simplicity


What if you could go back in time and have a conversation with your younger self?  What would you say?  Would you tell yourself that the winning Mega Millions Lottery numbers on October 23, 2018 were 05-28-62-65-70-05?  You’d be a multi-millionaire if you gave yourself that information.  Of course, that brings up all kinds of issues regarding free will versus predetermination, which is probably a conversation beyond this blog post and way beyond my understanding of theoretical physics and the impact of time travel on our perceived timeline.

Or, would you wrap a kindly arm around your younger self’s shoulders and share the insights and,  hopefully, wisdom that is the by-product of time and experience?  If so, what would that insight and wisdom sound like?

I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts titled, “What I’ve Learned.”  Through these posts, I plan to meander along my life’s experiences and share some of the random thoughts and observations that I’ve collected during my 49 years on this planet.  I can’t promise there will be any real wisdom in my random musings, nor can I promise that the lessons I’ve learned are universal.  Some of the lessons I’ve learned will likely be very personal and apply only to me (or a very small group of people).  Regardless, I invite you to share in my journey and hopefully you’ll occasionally find a random nugget of wisdom that you can apply in your own life.

So, without further ado, let’s get started…

What I’ve Learned, Lesson 1

Wow, no pressure with this one!  As I type this, it seems like “Lesson 1” should be something epic; a monumental lesson that, once read and digested, will truly change your life.  Sadly, I’m not sure I have many of those types of lessons.  So, let me begin with …

    “The richest person isn’t the one who has the most.  The richest person is the one who needs the least.”

I read that quote a long time ago and, if you know who wrote it originally, I’d love to know so I can give the author proper credit.  I thought it was a very powerful idea when I first read it and it has stayed with me ever since.  To me, it’s a reminder that “things” don’t bring us happiness.  Not wealth, not power, not material goods.  Rather, happiness comes from within.  If we are truly happy people, we can find joy in the smallest of things.

I’ve been fortunate in my life and I’ve had the opportunity to travel to (and through) many countries.  I’ve stayed in luxurious hotels and eaten magnificent meals.  Many people will never have the opportunities I’ve enjoyed.  However, one of my favorite travel memories involves a camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes in southwest Colorado.  It was a rainy evening, so after dinner we had to retreat to the shelter of our tent.  As we lay there in the dark, my older son began humming.  After a few moments, his humming became a song …

“I have a dream, I hope it will come true, That you’re here with me, and I am here with you, I wish that the earth, sea, and the sky up above, will send me someone to lava …”

If you’re not familiar, that song comes from the Pixar movie “Lava” which was the short film that was released with “Inside Out.”  My son continued to sing and, after a few moments, the rest of us joined in.  It was difficult to sing, however, because we all kept laughing.

For the rest of the trip, the song stayed with us, including being sung as my son and I climbed to the highest point in Great Sand Dunes Park.  Years later as I look back, I know that regardless of where I travel in the future, that cherished memory will always be with me, and it will always make me smile.  In fact, all it takes is for someone in my family to start, “I have a dream, I hope it will come true …”, and the laughter returns.

So, I will close this lesson with a reminder that “the richest person is the one who needs the least.”  Try to find joy in the smallest of things.  If you can do that, you’ll be a very wealthy person, indeed.

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