Reflecting On Essentials Of Our Parents’ Generation


We’ve become a culture that consumes because we’ve become a culture that has turned convenience into false necessity. Take a little time to start reflecting on essentials.

How many things do you have that your parents didn’t have? Chances are high that you have dozens of appliances, utilities, and services that your parents not only didn’t have, but that may not even have even existed.

What If We Started Focusing On The Essentials?

This thought intrigued me, so I decided to make a short list of things that my parents didn’t have that are now considered needs by many:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cable TV
  • Satellite radio
  • Microwave
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Computers
  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Internet
  • More than one car
  • More than one TV
  • Weed eaters
  • Snow blowers
  • Riding lawn mowers
  • Daily lattes at Starbucks
  • A home more than 2000 square feet (for a family of 7)
  • Much more

I know there are many more items I could add to this list, but I think you get the point. Today, we consider dozens of household items and services as needs. Just 40 years ago, most of these items were considered conveniences or luxuries.

We’ve Become Dependent On More Than Essentials

We’ve become a society that’s been spoiled, pampered, and tricked into believing that we need items that harm our environment, steal our minds, and put us deeper in debt.

Think about it. Take some time to start reflecting on essentials. What were the generations before you able to live without?

I understand that some of the items on my list may be essential in today’s world. The majority of us need computers for both business and personal communication. On the other hand, many of the items on the list are not essential. We’ve just been led to believe they are.

What’s Essential For Daily Living?

Much less than you might first believe. You could save hundreds of dollars each month by cutting back on non-essentials. Based on the first list, unless you have a very large family, do you really need any more than these few things?

  • 1000 square-foot home
  • One small car
  • One phone
  • One computer device

That’s it. You don’t need air conditioning, a microwave, cable TV, and much more. I’ll admit that I have a few extra comforts, but I make a point to use them minimally. Start reflecting on essentials of life. Learn to reduce and reuse. Resist giving into the unnecessary. What can you live without?

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James Ewen
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