We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I do not know how material poverty can be defined. I have an easier time defining poverty of spirit. Man can not live on bread alone, and material appurtenances are no measure of quality of life.
(I have mentioned before two "poor" people I have come to know well: a Maine Guide who lives with his family in an unelectrified log cabin built by his own hands and who home-schools, and a New Hampshire farmer who attends my church whose life is as spartan and spare as that of the Guide, but whose life is full of joy, accomplishment, friends, pride, and serenity - except when his equipment breaks.)
Given all that, I am grateful to be what I am, an American professional woman married to a Boston finance guy with money to spare. He still plays Rugby and hockey, and I never lacked for life spirit either. We lack neither the Holy sort nor the secular sort of spirit, I think, and Shame On You if you do not jump into the thick of life and grab it by the balls the ball. Our family motto is a Nike ad. I do not need much in material comforts, but I do like and desire other things, including a closer walk with Christ. There is something about having spare money that causes one to want less material stuff, at least for me.
As our Editor says, a new car is a used car after 24 hours. Thoreau would have said the same thing, but it was all hypothetical for him. He had a family business (always a good thing to have).
Thanks for this post. We are 'poor' (below the poverty line), but paying off our debt, running two family businesses, buying our own health insurance and homeschooling our kids. We have an increasing number of great friends who like us for who we are, not where we live. The older we get, and the more self discipline we exercise, the happier we are with ourselves. Life is pretty good and it has little to do with wealth.
I enjoyed this post, Dr. JB. It is very true that "enough is as good as a feast" and that having "more" of anything (at least material things) is not necessarily better. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with enjoying your prosperity as long as you do not attach undue importance to it as an indicator of happiness or worth as a person. Thank you also for the encouragement to grab the, er, ball of life. It is indeed a challenge to keep challenging yourself.
My friends who live in a 4000 sq ft house, have a ph.d. each, vacation around the world, own an SUV, and a sports car, etc. are always advising me to get out of my 1000 sq ft apartment and to buy a Prius. I've never taken their advice, because I'm happy with my--to me--modest stuff. They never take their advice either.