Living the Good Life



The following is an excerpt from Helen and Scott Nearing’s work “Living the Good Life” published in 1954.

My mother Ann Orth, has posted this in her bathroom so I would imagine she starts each day with at least a passing glance. I recently found the time to read it completely. Perhaps getting older I am now more willing to take my time while sitting in the bathroom. The thing I like the most about this writing is their list – I love lists.

Living the Good Life

We were seeking an affirmation, a way of conducting ourselves, of looking at the world and taking part in its activities that would provide at least a minimum of those values which we considered essential to the good life. As we saw it, such values must include simplicity, freedom from anxiety and tension, an opportunity to be useful and to live harmoniously……..

Our second purpose was to make living under conditions that would preserve and enlarge joy in workmanship, would give a sense of achievement, thereby promoting integrity and self reliance and make it easier to guarantee the solvency of the enterprise …….

Our third aim was leisure during a considerable portion of the day, month or year, which might be devoted… satisfying and fruitful association with one’s fellows, and to individual and group efforts towards social improvement.

Here is their list:
1. Do the best you can , whatever arises
2. Be at peace with yourself
3. Find a job you enjoy
4. Live in simple conditions; housing, food, clothing, get rid of clutter
5. Contact nature everyday; feel the earth under your feet
6. Take physical exercise through hard work; through gardening, or walking.
7. Don’t worry; live one day at a time
8. Share something every day with someone else; if you live alone, write someone; give something away; help someone else
9. Take time to wonder at life and the world; see some humor in life when you can
10. Observe the one life in all things
11. Be kind to creatures


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