I'm about as far removed from the Amish way of life as imaginable. I live in a big city and I'm dependent on cars, fond of dining in restaurants, and completely lacking a green thumb. Yet those words resonate with me. Over and over, I've learned the lesson that just because I can afford something—a bigger house, a fancier car, a more extravagant vacation—doesn't mean that it will make me happier. That may seem self-evident, yet our contemporary culture embraces the assumption that more is better.
Yesterday, Eric and I drove out to Key Biscayne with friends for a look around. While we didn't find the exact house where Bebe Rebozo used to entertain Richard Nixon, I'm pretty sure we were in the neighborhood—lavishly appointed mansions fronting directly on Biscayne Bay, many behind imposing locked gates. Quite a few had discreet For Sale signs posted, not surprising in the current economy. But the signs were a reminder that even (or perhaps especially) among the supposedly wealthiest of people, there are a large number who live on the edge, maxing out their credit just to acquire as many impressive possessions as possible.