If you have not read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, my recommendation is of the highest order. Written in 1854 – a significantly different historical context, to be sure – the principles explicated can surely be (ought to be?) applied to life today almost everywhere. My personal copy has underlinings galore . . . line upon line worth serious contemplation. Here’s one: “My greatest skill has been to want but little.” Modern American appears to scoff at this. We are to a large extent trapped in a cultural milieu characterized by the adage that “more is never enough.”
We need not ruminate at length on the evidence supporting the previous sentence. Simply looking around provides sufficient affirmation. Given our situation, we would do well to remember that there are two ways to have enough: get more and want less. By my lights, the quest to get more and more and more is a foundational attitude that is far more destructive than constructive.
Why change this attitude and how to go about it is a far longer discussion than we have space for here. Suffice it to say that it can be done . . . and I would make the case that life will improve both for individuals and the whole society if and when it is done.
Stimulating thought-provokers abound. Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, Rob Dietz; Living More with Less and More-With-Less Cookbook both by Longacre Doris are great accomplices to Thoreau’s Walden. These (and others any enterprising seeker can find) promote lifestyles that are both good for planet earth and for much greater peace of mind than twenty thousand dollars of credit card debt brings.