USED LIFE SALESMAN
We raised our anchor at the crack of dawn and turned south down
the western coast of Langkawi. As we rounded a headland, we
glided silently past an anchored fisherman asleep in his
long tail boat. He spent most of the night fishing, and
before he went to sleep, he set a kerosene lantern on his bow so
passing ships would not run him down in the dark. He did not
stir from his slumber as we sailed by in the rising sun, and as I
watched him sleeping, I felt that I was witnessing something
I was sailing in my complicated yacht that cost hundreds of
thousands of dollars living my dreams, and he was living his in a vessel that cost a few thousand dollars. A
single Briggs and Stratton pull start engine, oars for people
power, and an uncomplicated fishing rig defined his existence.
He had simple pleasures, but he had a great life.
Wherever I sailed around the world, I continually met people who
had simple pleasures and a great life. Although
they didn't have much money, a complicated lifestyle, or lots of
things, they did have contentment. Throughout our
circumnavigation, there was a positive correlation between a
simple life and contentment. Whenever I returned to "uncivilization"
in the rich countries, people were consumed by the cost of living
high, and contentment was in short supply.
Several times in my life, I almost succumbed to the Gospel of
More. You know what I mean. More is better, and the
person who dies with the most toys wins. Its victims give
free reign to desire; they spend their lives chasing after
everything that does not satisfy. Only at the end of their
life do they realize that more is actually less, because more
chases contentment out of their heart.
Of course, this may all be sour grapes. After all, I'm not
rich in the things of this world. My pile of dollars is
fairly small, and in the acquisitions department, I didn't end up
with a mountain of things; I have only a small mound to stand on.
If you look under my mattress, you won't find a stash of cash.
Instead, you will only find contentment.
Now that I'm back at work in "uncivilization", there's a
certain malaise in my life. I'm treading water in a sea of
discontent, and all of the things I didn't have or need a few
months ago are now part of my life. I have fallen off Exit
Only, and I want to get back on board.
The other day, I was talking to a USED LIFE SALESMAN. He
told me that I could be rich and famous if I bought what he
was selling. All I had to do to was make equal monthly
payments of all the contentment that I have in my heart. He
gave me his personal guarantee that I would have an endless supply
of cash and piles of stuff for my personal enjoyment.
I distrust USED LIFE SALESMEN and their promises of wealth and
fame. I'm not buying what they are selling. Furthermore,
contentment can't be purchased at any price. I'll pitch my
tent with the unrich and unfamous, and together we will raise our
glass of contentment and toast our good fortune. Life is
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