The Lake House (When Less Is More)

LakeHouseGrowing up, my grandparents owned an A-frame house in the Pocono Mountains.  It remains one of my favorite places in the world even though they sold it over 20 years ago.  This place was spectacular!  It had no TV, only a radio that may have been from the 1950’s.  There was no running water, we had to fill 5 gallon jugs at the spring nearby.  The toilet was filled by rainwater that needed to be pumped into the basin after each use.  There were exactly two bedrooms and about twelve beds.  The master bedroom was on the first floor and it contained one king size bed.  The rest of the beds were set up end to end in two columns on the second floor varying from a crib up to a queen size.  At maximum capacity, the second floor could sleep about 20 people.  It was located on a gravel road about a half mile from a lake with a small sand beach.  The nearest store or other forms of civilization were at least five miles away.  It was a wonderful place to vacation.

By many standards, this might seem like the exact opposite of a vacation spot.  It seemingly lacks all of the comfort that one might look for in a week away.  However everything that was lacking was what made it so great.  The lack of TV forced everyone to find other ways to entertain themselves.  My brothers and I caught salamanders.  We raced them down the gutters on the side of the house.  My grandmother taught us to play rummy and other card games at night.  The lack of running water made us conscious of our resources.  Also everyone had to pitch in with finding firewood for cooking or carrying supplies from the car on arrival.  The communal sleeping arrangements forced people to get along and be respectful of the needs of others.  We had everything that we needed when we had nothing that most people would have wanted.

In our fast paced, consumer based world, most of us do not lack resources but rather resourcefulness.  Having more things is not particularly the answer.  Now that most Americans have most of their needs met, satisfying their wants has not particularly made them any happier.  Since more is not particularly the answer, perhaps the answer lies in better and deeper forms of less.  Rather than having 500 Facebook friends, it might be better to have 5 irreplaceable friends.  In the place of better resolution on your flat-screen, put more resolve into the relationships with the cast in your own life.

I’m not saying that you can’t have it all.  I’m saying that the key to having it all may be enjoying all that you can from all that you have.  Less will always be more if it is appreciated for what it is and not lamented for all that it lacks.

Double down on a person or situation that really deserves it.

Pete

 

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