Over the last few months, I’ve written 10 posts about modern conveniences I’m content to live without (the list is here). Today I’m appreciating 10 things I wouldn’t want to live without, parts of my life that I really enjoy or feel grateful for. How does this relate to simple living? After compiling this list, I noticed that almost all of them don’t require spending any money.
10. Ping pong. I’ve been playing this game since I was a boy, and now play at least once a week. It’s a game of skill and strategy, and I think it sharpens my reflexes.
9. British TV. From “Downton Abbey” all the way back to “Upstairs Downstairs,” I’ve gotten lots of pleasure from BBC series. Best of all was “Poldark,” and the best recent one was “Home Fires.”
8. Gardening. I love the planning and the planting, as well as the watering and weeding. Nothing beats the freshness of food directly from the back yard.
7. Crosswords. I do a Sunday puzzle most days, and like the New York Times ones best. I go into a trance-like state while working on them, losing track of time. Crosswords help prevent Alzheimer’s.
6. Running. My marathon days are long past, but I still run three or four days a week. Running keeps me healthy physically and mentally, and is a kind of meditation.
5. Reading. I love reading after breakfast and before sleeping. I’ve read almost everything that Bill Bryson, Ken Follett and Joanna Trollope have written. I also enjoy reading the New York Times online.
4. Friends. Simple living without community is just poverty. I cherish the relationships I have with all my friends, and I need to devote more time and energy to turning acquaintances into friends.
3. My home. For 30 years, I’ve lived in a creaky old farmhouse on a street that gets little traffic but is less than a mile from the center of Amherst. I love our solar panels, our woodstove, our garden.
2. Health. Both my parents lived to 97, and I hope to stay healthy and enjoy my life as long as possible. As you get older, health becomes more and more important.
1. Betsy and family. I’m fortunate to share my life with a kind, industrious, smart, beautiful woman who shares my values. I have two wonderful though very different sons and many other beloved family members.