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Hedonistic lifestyles

October 29th, 2009


This has been my philosophy for a long while now. This writer who posted here: http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism, sums it up beautifully for me.

I have copied this into every new incarnation of my journal. I hope you also find it inspirational.

Voluntary simplicity as hedonism

Posted July 24, 2007 – 16:09 by Philip Brewer

When people talk about voluntary simplicity (or living a frugal lifestyle under any of its many names), they often do so in terms of deprivation. The descriptions are all about doing without stuff. To me, that’s completely wrong. Voluntary simplicity is fundamentally a hedonistic lifestyle.

What do hedonists do? They do what ordinary people seem only to do when they’re on vacation. They go places that are interesting or beautiful and they linger in them. They go dancing and go to parties. They read good books. They hang out with cool people. They hike in the mountains and swim in the ocean and go sailing. They play golf or tennis. They eat good food and drink good wine. They listen to music or play music. They go to museums and theaters. They do whatever gives them pleasure until they’re tired, and then they lie in the shade and take a nap.

To me, voluntary simplicity is exactly the same thing. You think about what gives you the most pleasure and then arrange your life so you can do exactly that.

I saw a poster once that said, “My tastes are simple: I like to have the best.” It’s a sentiment that probably resonates with everyone. But you can’t have the best of everything–where would you keep it? So, you have the best of only a few things, the things that matter the most to you. And, if you get rid of the other stuff–stuff that doesn’t matter as much to you–then your whole life gets easier. With less stuff you can live in a smaller house, or an apartment instead of a house, or a smaller apartment.

But a small apartment doesn’t mean a small life. A small apartment is a means to an end. The end is a life doing whatever you want.


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  1. Marsi
    October 29th, 2009 at 11:33 | #1

    I love it. Like you, I take simple pleasures and joie de vivre very seriously!

  2. Jean
    October 29th, 2009 at 14:12 | #2

    Works for me.
    Thanks for posting this, Kristi.

  3. Robin
    October 29th, 2009 at 14:44 | #3

    Really enjoyed this post Kristi!

  4. October 29th, 2009 at 16:09 | #4

    This is wonderful. Thank you so much Kristi.

  5. October 29th, 2009 at 17:15 | #5

    This is a great way to look at it. You don’t have to be rich to be rich.

  6. October 29th, 2009 at 19:09 | #6

    Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  7. October 29th, 2009 at 19:26 | #7

    Thanks so much for posting this. This is a wonderful way to re-frame simplicity.

Comments are closed.

What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.