I’ll be the first to admit that I watch way too much weeknight television. For some reason, I can’t get enough of those ridiculous, inane shows. And having a DVR in the house hasn’t really helped me overcome my obsession. So, although I was as happy as the next fan to hear that the writers’ strike had come to an end, I must admit that I’m a little sad to say goodbye to my free time…What’s that you say? I don’t have to watch the shows just because they’re returning to my television?…Well, maybe I could cut back a little. I suppose I could do without ever seeing “Ugly Betty” again. And if “My Name is Earl” doesn’t start better than it ended, it’ll be quick to leave my “to watch” list too. But most likely my curiosity will get the better of me, and I’ll return to my old routine. That is, until summer rolls around, and it’s time to say goodbye again. (To find out when your favorite show will return, check out this article.)

Regardless of my desire to give up bad habits, there are some shows that will remain on my list no matter how busy I get. One of those is CBS’s “Sunday Morning.” I can’t think of a better way to spend my Sunday than by sitting down with a cup of coffee and the morning paper to watch Sunday Morning’s enlightened and somewhat whimsical news reporting.

This week’s theme was money, and to be honest, it couldn’t have come at a better time for us….not that there’s a problem in that area of our lives, but we’ve been in need of some perspective that the show was able to provide for us. One of the segments was an interview with famed financial adviser Suze Orman. She spoke about paying off credit card debt, saving for emergencies and retirement, and limiting everyday spending. Although I am typically a fan of her hard-hitting, honest style when it comes to buckling down and getting your financial life in order, I think she may have crossed a line. Her advice to everyone is to buy only what you need, citing the one pair of earrings that she personally owns as an example. Really Suze? Only what I need? I think this might be a bit extreme. Certainly there is some merit in purchasing items other than the basic necessities.

Jerry Brito from Unclutterer, one of my new favorite blogs (and recently featured in Real Simple magazine), shares my opinion on this issue and was able to put it into words better than I could hope to. He wrote:

To me consumerism–defined as consumption beyond one’s basic needs–is not an evil in and of itself. I don’t need all the clothes I have, and I certainly don’t need a DVD player and movie collection to live a satisfied life, but those things make me happy and give me enjoyment, so I think they’re fine to have. Living beyond one’s basic needs becomes a problem only when the accumulation of property becomes a source of stress rather than enjoyment. Unfortunately, I think finding balance is difficult for many because purchasing and accumulating can be effortless, while planning ahead and organizing takes effort…Simple living, therefore, should not be about asceticism, but about getting rid of (or preferably avoiding) distractions that prevent us from enjoying a modern, luxurious life. It’s about smart consumption, not no consumption. As Albert Einstein said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”

This, I believe, is the difference between simple living and simply living. I don’t want to simply live my life, hoarding away my money in case of some unforeseen emergency. I want to enjoy my days to their fullest. And if purchasing an item will help me achieve that goal, then I don’t see the harm in doing so.

There, enough of me-on-my-soapbox for one day.

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