“Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the mere accumulation of material things.”




[…] “The Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” — Robert F. Kennedy.


39 Responses to “Life, worthwhile”

  1. ocg on July 13th, 2010 8:54 pm

    Will you & John just Do This already? :) Two people as smart and capable as yourselves will make it work. It’s possible, it’s probable, and you’ll only regret the years of angst spent. Without trying to be too woowoo, follow your damn hearts & spirits! xo

  2. Victoria on July 13th, 2010 8:57 pm


  3. wendylosangeles on July 13th, 2010 8:59 pm

    Hi Linda. i read here all the time, but don’t often comment. I will today. i agree with OCG. just follow your dream. there is nothing, but NOTHING worse than sitting around wondering “coulda shoulda woulda”….go for it. and thanks for such a wonderful blog. I just love it….

  4. Locusts and Wild Honey on July 13th, 2010 9:09 pm

    Everything that makes life worthwhile. That’s a beautiful turn of phrase, Bobby.

    I love how the baby of the family isn’t looking up in a single picture.

  5. Amanda on July 13th, 2010 9:21 pm

    “Grab it!”
    “Holy crawdads you did it!”

  6. pete on July 13th, 2010 11:24 pm

    Following your dreams can be a one way street. It is extremely hard to get back if you find out the grass wasn’t as green as you thought.

  7. Mama Ritchie on July 14th, 2010 12:08 am

    One of the reasons we’re moving back to the Seattle area from SoCal is because we’re tired of working so hard for money, just to scrape by. It’s insane. In any other city we would be considered well-off. Seattle isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper than here. And material things are just so… boring, I guess. They don’t do shit to change your life. They just create clutter that you have to end up putting in boxes when you move.

    But it’s more than that. SoCal doesn’t fit. It’s like wearing that awful pink blouse with the gray bow around the neck that my mom bought me for my school pictures in 7th grade. It was so not me, I was itchy and squirmy all day. Your environment should be an extension of you.

    There are pros/cons and yes, make a list of them. But life is too short to be somewhere you don’t want to be. It’s as simple as that. I hope all of our comments help you make your decision. Once it’s made, you’ll feel so free.

  8. Mama Ritchie on July 14th, 2010 12:09 am

    Oh, and that last pic of Riley is pure awesomeness.

  9. Brenna on July 14th, 2010 3:43 am

    Most importantly, where did you get that great pool? Mice used to live in the one my kid’s currently using, came with the house.

  10. Lori on July 14th, 2010 3:59 am

    Money is a hard one. It doesn’t guarantee happiness, but you can’t be happy without it. In my opinion, it’s all about finding a good balance. One where you’re not constantly striving to attain a bigger house, nicer car, fancier computer, etc., but counting the blesses you already have with allowances for an occassional indulgence. It’s hard. Sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can’t. Just yesterday, I was eyeing a woman with a fancy Coach bag. I wanted it, a lot. Ridiculous, right? I was jealous of a purse. Spending the morning today watching my kids use leaves to make a tea party at the playground helped put things in perspective, but still. Jealous of a purse…ugh.

  11. babelbabe on July 14th, 2010 4:28 am

    great post, Linda (in addition to very cute kids : )). and @Lori, great response. and we’re only human, don’t be too hard on yourself.

  12. Jan on July 14th, 2010 4:41 am

    I think Pete nailed it on the head. I say do it. Do what you think will make you happy. But, you will miss this life you are living right now to some extent.

  13. g~ on July 14th, 2010 5:20 am

    We Made the Big Jump into making our life less about money and more about experiences a few years ago. We sold our house, moved into a teeny tiny house on family land and are currently eating blueberries straight off the bush, climbing trees, getting filthy and visiting almost every day with my kids’ great-grandfather. We’ve stepped away from the mcmansions, the new cars and the accumulation of stuff in exchange for things less tangible. I’ll be honest, sometimes I miss “stuff”. Sometimes I miss having extra money and I dearly so miss having two bathrooms and closet space. There’s give and take with everything. BUT, I would NOT trade this experience for anything in the world. Try to be as honest as possible about the trade-offs for changing your lifestyle and then…accept it and do it if possible. But try to maintain the extra bathrooms and closet space at any cost for the love of gawd.

  14. MakeDo on July 14th, 2010 5:28 am

    I just came to a crossroads where I had to choose between two jobs in the same field – one not as prestigious or “cool” but offered me 9 months work a year (summers off!) and the other very prestigious but would entail working like a dog to prove myself nights weekends, summers….I have a 2.5 year old and would like another so guess which I chose? Time and experiences – that’s the good stuff! You can do it! Love the quote, it’s everything that’s missing when we discuss public policy usually.

  15. Sarah B on July 14th, 2010 5:54 am

    Yes. Just, yes.

  16. kristin c. on July 14th, 2010 6:53 am

    Perfect. You’re awesome at this blogging thing…and also life.

  17. crisi-tunity on July 14th, 2010 6:55 am

    Wow. I think I see why people loved RFK so much (or, at least, his speechwriter).

    I love, in these pictures, how you can see that Riley is old enough to know what a camera’s for, and Dylan totally isn’t yet.

  18. lumpyheadsmom on July 14th, 2010 6:56 am

    What beautiful, profound words – attributed to a man born into a family so wealthy they lived on a compound instead of in a house.

    Sentiment is still valid, though. I think the Kennedy clan illustrates that we all want for something – if it’s not money, it’s happiness or health or power or immortality.

    Gorgeous, powerful photos of the things you really couldn’t live without.

  19. silene on July 14th, 2010 7:07 am

    Linda, as always, I love reading about your journeys in life, because you capture it ALL so well–the dreams and the messy reality.

    I know you’ll be able to find what you want, because if anyone can, you can. I won’t tell you to just forget financial concerns to follow your dreams, because, well, money is important. It might not buy happiness, but it can buy the security required to find that happiness. I can see that is the core of your struggle–where is the line drawn? Lori phrased it so well, about finding a balance, and it looks like you are getting more and more clarity about what that balance means to you. So no impatience here from me–I look forward to seeing where you go next.

  20. Anon on July 14th, 2010 7:12 am

    Never commented before but been reading for… gosh, over two years now? But I almost did on an earlier recent post with this same comment, and I see the same thing in this post – you might want to check out “Radical Homemakers” by Shannon Hayes, if you haven’t already (the quotes in the post seem like they could be from it, actually) – I’ve been struggling to figure out what the heck I want from my life down the road and how I can *realistically* get what it is I want, and reading that book brought me a whole lot of peace with my desires and optimism for my ability to get it. http://radicalhomemakers.com/

  21. Ris on July 14th, 2010 7:21 am

    Linda, I know that whatever you do, you’ll be great at it. Good luck making your choice.

  22. Irene on July 14th, 2010 7:45 am

    Looks to me like you know what you want, but maybe not sure how to make that first big step. It’s a tough one. Trust me, I’ve been there. I left Portland back in 07 for SoCal to be closer to family & all that. For us, it’s been good & not so good. Because we got here just in time for the economic downturn, my husband has not been able to find a job, so we have only my income. On the other hand my relationship with my dad has never been better. But if the opportunity came up, I would move back to Portland in a heartbeat! I miss my life there. At this point we’re here until my daughter is out of elementary…she’s in 3rd grade! I just really don’t want her going thru middle & high school here. Only thing else I can say is Good Luck :)
    @MamaRichie- totally know what you mean about the whole SoCal lifestyle, it just doesn’t fit- and never will.

  23. Artemisia on July 14th, 2010 7:58 am

    My, to be so thoughtful and eloquent as was that man. Goodness.

    I agree whole-heartedly. I think you are doing a fine job in living a true and worthwhile life.

  24. Dana on July 14th, 2010 8:02 am

    what he said.

  25. monkey on July 14th, 2010 8:19 am

    Philosophy is a pretty big interest of mine (I know) and I just spent this last weekend at a sort of philosophical inquiry workshop about the nature of happiness.

    The conference was structured around a particular worldview about how to achieve happiness, and I recognize that there are other worldviews about that out there (this one is based on Buddhist and Hindu philosophy). Nevertheless, I find the questions they were asking as really illustrative of how I’ve changed my life in the past year.

    Are you living up to your full potential?

    Are you working hard?

    Are you setting your goals high?

    Are you concentrating on your goals and detaching from your result?

    The answers to what constitutes hard work, high goals and living up to one’s full potential vary from person to person. Concentrating on achievement and detaching from result is a pretty universal philosophy, I feel-it’s the fundamental principal of preventing unhappiness in a lot of philosophies and religions.

    You know, for me, it was about leaving the type of situation I’m sure most of your blog readers would envy. I had the recession proof, 40 hour work week, ample time for hobbies, high paid job in a field I had to spend a lot of time working on (law). It just wasn’t me. I’m an achievement oriented workaholic and I had to acknowledge that. The job I was in put me in a place where I wasn’t working to my potential and it was making me unhappier and unhappier over time.

    I know that whatever choice you guys make, it will be about living up to your full potential-as a family and as individuals. Peace.

  26. Sara on July 14th, 2010 8:20 am

    Ah the Kennedys…what a way with words. Not to hard on the eyes either. I’m in a crisis of a life worthwhile right now. I wonder if I will ever gather the courage to change it into something I can be proud of….

  27. Erika on July 14th, 2010 8:29 am

    I love these pictures!

  28. Veronica on July 14th, 2010 8:53 am

    I’m not sure what it is that you’re thinking about doing (after reading all the comments), but it sounds interesting and it thrills me to know you’re considering a change of some sort. I can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

  29. H on July 14th, 2010 8:58 am

    Good luck! (Love that Dylan is oblivious!)

  30. Misha on July 14th, 2010 9:29 am

    Beautiful, beautiful quote and pictures. So beautiful.

    We made the jump about eleven months ago – I thought I would pass out from panic but we are making a new lifestyle for ourselves doing things I swore up and down we would (or could) never do.

    I’ve been reading for quite a few years now- I love watching the accumulation of courage in your life. It is incredible.

  31. Sugar on July 14th, 2010 9:57 am

    I find that money tends to be an easily dismissed non-issue to those who have never had to work for it.
    And, obviously, with our health care system and education system, the health and quality of education of our children is entirely dependent on money. “Joy of their play,”–I may have to grudgingly concede that to Mr. Kennedy.
    Yes, I am one stroppy, bitter cow.

  32. Sunshyn on July 14th, 2010 12:27 pm

    Yet Bobby Kennedy had all the money he needed or wanted at his disposal. And some wild eyed crazy person with the same first and last name shot him down in cold blood while the world (and I, an idealistic eighth grader) watched. That was one of those pivotal moments that changed the world forever for me. Grab your dream.

  33. Anna A on July 14th, 2010 12:43 pm

    In one month we’ll be in Germany for ? years. Me with no job, him with a job. Right now we’re down to two beds and a couch we’re giving away in a 1600sf house and I love it. No more clutter. No junk. Way too much space. Way less clothing to sort/fold/pick through. I hope we can maintain the simpler lifestyle. I have a feeling it will be easier in a small German apartment. Plus, we’re trying something we’ve both always wanted to do.

    I hope you decide to go for it. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of people will question your sanity, but for us, it was worth giving a shot. Good luck!

  34. thejunebug on July 14th, 2010 1:37 pm

    So did you make a decision? :)

  35. anon on July 14th, 2010 2:17 pm

    I’ve heard a saying that says ‘there’s no mistake that time and money can’t fix.’ If you take the leap, and it doesn’t work, there’s no shame, you just rebuild, with your family at your side. I made a drastic decision after college and within a month knew I had fucked it up…it cost me 5 yrs, some heartache, tons of money, some anger and depression. But I’ve got a good dude, and I work my butt off at life in general so in the last yr that paid dividends after four yrs of struggle I was able to right the ship by making the big change. Lovin life and no regrets. Communicate all the time with your man and you’ll do fine no matter what you do or don’t do.

  36. adequatemom on July 14th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Great pictures! Riley is a born entertainer.

  37. M. Bailey on July 14th, 2010 7:56 pm

    One foot in front of the other — or simply jump in with both feet. Both will move you forward. Sending you lots of clarity to make a difficult decision – whatever it may be. Just think – when you’re 80 – what will matter?

  38. Katie on July 15th, 2010 12:51 pm

    This made me tear up and smile so dang big.

    Also – for the two commenters on SoCal – I think the thing is you really can’t move here from anywhere else. I can never imagine what would even make people want to move here from somewhere else, but on the other hand – I will never be able to leave. It is an odd place indeed. :)

    And just like anywhere, there are pockets of joy in the midst of all the yuck. Luckily I live in one of those pockets.

    Sorry, off topic and I’m sure they’ll never come back and read this, but it struck a chord.

  39. Gnometree on July 16th, 2010 12:05 am

    a) where have all the good men gone?
    b)why are your boys wearing shoes in the pool?

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