My New Year’s Resolution: Simplicity
As we all prepare to embrace the opportunities, promises and potential challenges of a new year, I would like to share my goal for the next 12 months: I am committed to spending my time, energy and resources to living a year of simplicity.
This commitment came as the result of several weeks of reflection in December. As I was looking in the rear-view mirror of my life, reflecting on the many joys and challenges of my 67 years on this earth, it occurred to me that true happiness has everything to do with living a life of simplicity. The years when I focused too much on materialism were never fulfilling – just a never-ending pursuit of more.
When I was a young boy, during the Christmas season, it was a tradition that our family would leave our modest home in Pasadena, Texas and drive into the wealthy suburbs of Houston to admire the beautiful lights and decorations. In my adult years, my Dad used to remind me that I would ask him “Daddy, why can’t we have the big homes and cars that these people have?” His response was, “Son, if you work hard in class and get a college degree, you can have these nice things.” The truth? When I got the things I never had, what I had was never enough. It took me many years to understand that “more” wasn’t the answer. If you’re not careful, the more things you have, the more things can have you.
In my life, I have discovered that the older I get, the wiser my parents were. One of the greatest gifts that my Dad gave me and my sisters was a journal that he started in 2001 after he had moved into his home on Canyon Lake north of San Antonio, Texas. Daddy didn’t have more than $20,000 in savings when he died, but he was the happiest and most authentic person that I have ever known.
I’ll let the following words from his journal tell “the rest of the story”.
“Hello kiddos. Well, I’m sitting on my back porch overlooking the Suche Valley with the beautiful Texas Hills in the background. When I first moved here Christmas of 2001, I was the 2nd one to move in on the ranch. Thanks to my children, I am able to live out the rest of my life in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. I guess I fell in love with it back when my father took me hunting on the Dittmar Ranch about a hundred miles north of here at Doss, Texas. That was 1936 and I was 12 years old. I climbed up on one of those points overlooking the valley and the hills and I said right then one of these days I hope I can live in these beautiful hills. So, my dream has come true thanks to my children. When I first moved here, all you were able to see was the cedar, live oaks, the valley, hills, a windmill and tank, the ruins of an old rock school where I guess the old settlers’ kids, back in the 1800’s, went to school and an old German cemetery about 100 yards from the school. Now there are about 25 or 30 houses you can see dotting the hills and the valley. Can’t blame the people for wanting to live here though. Well, I’m starting at the end, so now I want to give you a little bit of what I know about the Baggett family…
When typing these words from Dad’s journal, I could feel his smile and gratitude. He never complained and had few wants – he loved his family and God and that was enough to sustain him through a tough life. He was born in a tent during the Great Depression, lost an infant son, lost his wife at the tender age of 57 and survived a major heart attack. He had many reasons to be bitter but he made a conscious choice to live life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror. He was a simple man who lived a simple life and made a positive difference in many lives. That’s a legacy of significance.
Thanks, Dad for your inspiration and wisdom. I’m a better man, father and husband because of you.
View from the “Rocky Point” on the Dittmar Ranch that Dad referenced in his journal
Marker on “Rocky Point” in remembrance of Dad
Cactus flowers on “Rocky Point” right below Dad’s marker
Dad opening a gate on Dittmar Ranch
True Growth Takeaway: There is freedom in simplicity.
Journaling Reflection: What do you need to do to live a life of simplicity?
About the author: Byrd Baggett is a best-selling author and popular motivational speaker. He has been helping organizations develop authentic leaders and passionately engaged teams since 1990. His corporate experience includes sales and management careers with two Fortune 500 companies. He is a Member of LWM III Consulting LLC and creator of the True Growth® brand.
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