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article imageIn Recession, Some People Want the Simple Life Special

By Carol Forsloff     Aug 1, 2009 in Lifestyle
Cheryl and Ron of Saline, Louisiana have a vegetable garden in their backyard. A neighbor got his kitchen counters made in exchange for a truck. Trades, deals and simplicity of living in the recession are what more and more people say they seek.
After years of “greed is good,” now people are saying the recession caused them to wind down their lives and believe it’s a good thing. Concerns for the environment and less money have brought many people to a new way of thinking, according to USA Today.
Michael Maniates, professor of political and environmental science at Allegeny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, maintains, "Perhaps the silver lining (of the recession) is that people are coming to realize they can live with less and their lives are richer for it."
These are reported statistics on the subject, as reported by Gallup poll in April. A third of respondents to questions on patterns of life post recession found a third say they have been spending less and plan to continue doing this. Another 27% say they are now saving more and continue to make that a plan.
Nearly half of consumers, 47%, say they already have what they need, up from 34% in November 2006, according to the 2009 MetLife Study of the American Dream. Even then, before the impact of the recession, people were beginning to reassess their values.
Other key findings of the study are:
While many Americans are flying without a safety net, more recognize its importance and are saving more, spending less, and thinking more about their life goals.
Work is the linchpin holding the dream together. Half of Americans surveyed report they could survive only one month financially after a job loss.
There is a newfound appreciation for workplace benefits. Employees value the role of employers in helping to build their personal financial safety nets.
Americans are placing a premium on trust, with greater demand for predictable returns and guarantees.
This is reminiscent of Cheryl and Ron Babers-Hager who left Shreveport about a year ago to return to country life where Cheryl grew up. Saline is a very small town, with a tiny store that sells incidentals, including a few groceries and a couple of Mom and Pop shops with assorted items and services. There is virtually no shopping to be done in Saline, and most people simply drive into Natchitoches for groceries weekly, and that’s enough. Do they like it? Cheryl and Ron appear to be thriving, with a house of full of friends making the sojourn to the country.
Preparing for Parade
Downtown area folks gather in preparation for the parade which is part of the Watermelon Festival in Saline, Louisiana
Carol Forsloff
“This is for me,” says Ron. “I have always liked the country, and now I have all this ground to play around on.” Ron and Cheryl have put together quite a garden, and Ron works on the house and that of Cheryl’s cousin, Dolores. A simple plan, a simple dream; they believe they have it all.
Black Lake
This land and water are part of the natural beauty of Saline, Louisiana.
Carol Forsloff
Julie Morgenstern, who authored Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life, agrees people have changed and now, "People are feeling forced and inspired to get back to what is core to them," She goes on to explain how folks value material things less, their areas of interest and people more. On her website, she explains, about shedding, things: “ it’s not just about throwing things away! The SHED process is more about what comes before and after you heave the clutter, so that changes you make really stick in the long term.
That seems to be the way many people are going, as USA Today relates.
As I find my old guitar in the corner, I consider the message in USA Today and Cheryl and Ron’s dream as well, and think I’ll sit right down and submerge myself in music, look out the window as the sun goes down, and join all those folks around the world that say, “Give me the simple life”
A simple guitar in the corner for a little music reminds one of the simple life
Carol Forsloff
More about Recession, Economy, Downsizing, Louisiana
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