Many of us are caught in the materialistic trap. We work to make more money so we can buy more things, and the more things we want, the more we have to work. Our lives become limited to self-interest and we lose touch with the broader and richer life that comes from connection to the community and sharing what we have with others. In our hum-drum, work-a-day lives, we find little relief. We might go to an expensive restaurant for a treat or we may spend seven days once a year at a lavish and barely affordable resort. And we define this as the good life.

Examine your values. Make a list of your life priorities and examine which of the priorities you are achieving right now. The items on your list might include “more reading,” “learning about music,” “spending more time with good friends,” “examining my spiritual life,” or “spending time outdoors in nature.” You may be passionate about some items on your list, but find that you don’t have the time now because you have to work so much just to make ends meet.

Can you work less in order to make more time for yourself? Can you cut back on your responsibilities? Maybe you can. The clue is not how much money you make, but how much money you spend.

Examine how you can live a simpler life – where the quality of everyday living can be much higher. If you like music, why spend a hundred dollars on a top-name concert when you can go to a free community concert, meet people, and have a great time? If you like great food, why not cook it yourself at home and invite some good friends over to share it with you? In fact, why not grow the vegetables yourself in a backyard or community garden? (There’s nothing better.) If you want to go to a beautiful place, why spend thousands on a packaged resort vacation when you can go to your own backyard or a nearby park and watch the butterflies and listen to the birds sing? If you need transportation, why buy a new gas guzzler? You might be able to bike to your destination and enjoy the sights and sounds of different streets.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D., LMFT

San Diego Couples and Family Therapy serves the surrounding areas of Sorrento Valley Road as La Jolla, UTC San Diego, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway, University City and Escondido.