To live a simple and fulfilling life, is one of my greatest goals. The things I choose to place value on will lead me to this road, or away from it. For me, it all boils down to my family and home – nothing else truly matters. And, if those two things are the priority, everything else will fall into place.
So, how can I do this? To create the life I want? I guess it’s fairly simple and boils down to two questions. Is it necessary? Will it bring joy? The important thing to remember is that all choices take work. Things will not magically change because I say I want X,Y, or Z. I have to choose the life I want with intention and purpose. Our lives are as simple or as complicated as we choose to make them. Decide what is truly important to you. Eliminate everything else.
Like so many of you, my life revolves around my family. Mr. Awesome and I decided early on that we would put our relationship first, and our kids second. A lot of people think this sounds horrid. They think that we should always put our children first, that they are the most important thing in our lives. I disagree. I believe that if, as parents, we don’t work at having a strong relationship, that the family unit might not stay a family unit; and how is that putting children first? So we strive for time together, just the two of us. We spend time doing things that we enjoy. We date each other. Our children see what a healthy relationship looks like. Finding time to do this isn’t easy, but it is essential to having a marriage that will outlast our children moving away from home.
Society as a whole, has become more focused on the acquisition of things than on relationships. Much of my “living simply” revolves around deciding to be content with what I have. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others – to see what others have that we don’t. I’ll share with you a pet peeve of mine… my garden. When people see my garden they frequently say “Oh, you’re so lucky, I wish my garden looked like that!“. This makes a little cranky. Why? Because we have worked on it for years… we are still working on it. We have dug rocks out of it. Dug in manure into it. Taken out trees to expand it. Put up fencing to protect it. Every year we spend hours and hours working on it. It isn’t luck, it is a choice. We didn’t buy tickets to Disneyland, we bought blocks to build raised beds. We didn’t go to that great concert by that awesome band. We put up fence posts. Do you see what I mean? You can’t compare your life to mine, or anyone else’s. Not valuing what you have will only lead to sadness. Sometimes I struggle with the feeling of the people around me not understanding my choices. But, they are the choices that feel true to my values.
The choices I make certainly aren’t for everyone. Do you know:
- I absolutely detest shopping, and limit my grocery shopping to once a week or less?
- I only own two pair of jeans, one for the garden and one for town?
- I have no cable or satellite, and my internet is one step away from dial up, so there is no “streaming” anything?
When people who don’t know me visit my home, they often ask if I just moved in. I like clean, open spaces. Clutter stresses me out. When my home and the things around me are cluttered and messy, my mind feels the same way. My productivity slacks off, and I get cranky. It’s hard to focus on what needs to be done when there are too many things vying for my attention. When I’m feeling stressed I start going through all the closets and drawers, and purge anything that doesn’t fit my definition of useful.
Time is at a premium around here. Working for yourself can be boon and blessing, and it can quickly take over every aspect, and free moment, of your life. Mr. Awesome works insane hours. My kids schedules seem to change on a whim. “The regular 3:00 practices are going to be at 6:00 this week? Uhm, sure. No problem…” 😛 You get the idea.
So what matters most to you…? Your family? Your church? Giving back to your community? Volunteering to help those less fortunate? Would someone from the outside looking in, be able to tell what you place value on, by the choices you make?
keep the green side up,