Linda In The News - ABC Chicago

A Simpler Life

ABC Chicago, November 25, 2001

It's happening more since September 11th: Many people are taking the time to reevaluate their lives. Maybe you're questioning what's really important to you. You're not alone if you're yearning for A Simpler Life. Tonight, we'll show you people who are running away from the rat race - and the trappings of materialism - hoping to get more out of life - by having less.

Perhaps you're thinking about it?

"There's not enough time to enjoy life," said Kenneth Hopkins. Maybe while you're trying to rush to work or get back home again, you're thinking?

"Hassles," said Nathan Rohde.

Life - somehow -- got more complicated.

"The stressful jobs we have," said Lillian Mygatt.

"You're afraid to stop working," said Mary Bradford.

And maybe you're wondering - why am I working so much?

"I want to have a nice house and a nice car and everything," said Vanessa Tello.

But there are a growing number of people who are taking a hard look at that kind of thinking-- and they're finding a different answer. They say, "work less - and you may have less - but you might enjoy it more."

Terry Ramirez is doing it. You'll find her having lunch at home with her family most weekdays. It's quite a change from the overtime hours she was putting in at a downtown marketing firm.

A health crisis involving her daughter, Olivia, inspired the change. Doctors told mom that Olivia had an unusual liver problem that might take her life.

"Nothing defined my life more at that moment than, 'You know what, Terry? Work is not worth losing your family over,'" explains Terry Ramirez.

That was more than a year ago and Olivia's doing just fine now, but terry quit her corporate job and began her own home business.

But this is more than a job change for Terry-- her life priorities have changed. There's less money coming in - wasteful or extravagant spending is out. "Keep it simple," she reminds herself, and she's never been happier.

"I've never felt healthier mentally, physically and spiritually," said Terry.

And her thinking is contagious. It's now spread to her twin sister, Tammy. Tammy still commutes to work downtown, but she too is simplifying the material "stuff" in her life.

"We drive 13-year-old cars and they run and they're fine," said Tammy Murray.

And both of those sisters are influenced by Linda Manassee Buell. She's a personal consultant near San Diego with her own web site,

"What do you think that's stopping you?" asks Linda, who coaches Tammy and Terry and other clients on how to make their lives simpler.

She started doing it 7 years ago, when she and her husband left their busy lives in chicago behind and headed west.

"Sometimes it unfortunately takes something that happens in your life to cause you to start to make the change," said Linda Manassee Buell.

That's what Andy Kindler is seeing at his west suburban outplacement firm: people who were working their way up corporate ladders - now questioning what real success is.

"What they're telling me is, 'I got here - so what. I got the bigger house, I don't feel any more satisfaction,'" said Andy.

So, in groups like these in the city and the suburbs - Chicagoans are talking about how to live with less and worry less about it.

"It's what are you exchanging your life energy for? What are you exchanging your time for? And is it worth it?" asks Kath Camasto.

Mike and Linda Lenich decided much of it wasn't worth it. They cut their expenses drastically - paid off their mortgage and debt - saved their money and an amazing thing happened: When their expenses became less than the income from their savings, Mike quit his job at Com Ed.

"Essentially, we don't need to receive money for what we do anymore," said Mike Lenich.

"It's fun to see how happy I can be on so little," said Linda Lenich.

Happy just to have time for simple things- perhaps the most important things- that make life worthwhile.

This isn't something to be accomplished overnight. Mike and Linda Lenich planned for years to get where they are today. For more information on how to lead a "Simple Life," check out these web sites:

Related Websites:

Copyright by WLS-TV Chicago (ABC, Inc.)
Used with permission.

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