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hocus so eloquently penned:

I'm becoming more convinced that this is the reason for today's excess consumerism. People haven't allowed themselves to hear how good they've got it financially. So they act on incorrect understandings of their possibilities in life, and make decisions they would never make if all the information were before them.

Wonderful hocus!

In the introduction to one of her Twightwad Gazette Books, Amy Dacyczyn points out that we are "drowning in rising expectations." That is, the bar for "happiness" or "contentment" is continually being raised.

Political leaders, employers, and manufacturers have a vested interest in making one feel discontented. Could you imagine the impact if George W Bush admitted that times are great (they are for the vast majority of Americans)? How could he develop the discontent necessary to get elected if he dealt straight with reality.

From a personal viewpoint, I realized about 5 years ago that I must be one of the luckiest people in the world. I have a warm house, a great paying job (soon to be ex-job), and a great community of friends and family. Although things could be better, I have realized that the costs (economic and time) to improve would be prohibitive. For me it would be like upgrading from a Lexus to a Mercedes. Some would be willing to pay for the upgrade, but I am just happy to have a car...a very nice car. (FYI: I drive a 10 year old economy car.)

Timothy Miller in his book "How To Want What You Have" points out that we seldom take time to realize how blessed we are. One of his three keys is to express gratefulness for that which we have. For those of us who live in the US, we continue to look at those above us on the financial and social ladders and want the things that they have. (Never mind they often come with divorce, stress, or worse.)

When I spent some time examining my real place in the world economically, I was humbled by my real wealth and embarrassed by my inability to share.

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