There are some great movies and books out there about how stressful, expensive and destructive trying to “Keep up with the Joneses” can be. I didn’t live through the 50’s and 60’s where a lot of today’s social norms began, so I can’t imagine the pressure that might have existed in a community to try to fit in. I don’t know if there was actually a family named Jones or if they were a mythological family that everyone was trying to be. If the Joneses got a second car, everybody else in the neighborhood had to get a second car. If the Jonesesmoved to the suburbs to a new larger home, everybody else had to move to the suburbs and got a new larger home. And so on…
However, even though there are still people who try to “Keep up with Joneses” only to put themselves in a deep (often unhappy) financial hole, we now live in a time where more and more people understand that they don’t need to try to have everything and be just like everyone else. As Slow Dwellers we now use any energy we would use trying to keep up with the Joneses spending time with family, going on a bike ride, working less hours, connecting with neighbors, giving back to our community or maybe even just taking an afternoon nap.
As a family, we try to focus getting access only on what we really need and spend the rest of our time with family and friends enjoying connections and experiences. We have way too much stuff as it is now, so I couldn’t imagine how much stuff we would have if we were trying to have everything the “Joneses” do. Beyond the basics, that stuff doesn’t make us happier, it doesn’t make us better off, it only costs us money and more importantly time.
There is something very freeing about embracing what you have, who you are, your beliefs and being comfortable in your own skin.