Choices

I had a great comment on yesterday’s post.  She commented that what I was calling a simpler, more intentional life looked a lot like poverty.

Yep.  I have to agree.  It does look like poverty and I really appreciate what she said.  I feel like it’s an affirmation of a step in the right direction.

For me, the difference between poverty and an intentional life is choices.  The intentional choices that are made when we consider the big picture of our lives.  I actually have enough money saved away in my “emergency fund” to purchase a new washer right now.

And a year of so ago, I would have considered my washer situation to be an emergency.  I would have run right out and purchased that new washer because

   what kind of person in their right mind would put up with that kind of rigged contraption?

Now, I wonder what kind of person would spend every penny out of their savings account in order to have a laundry room that “looks right”.  Sure, my contraption is kind of a pain in the ass.  It would be easier to just buy a new washer if I was still trying to keep up with the Jones family (and their credit card debt).

We have sacrificed in order to have that small savings account.  For years, we didn’t have any kind of emergency fund.  And we had plenty of emergencies.  We are doing without in order to not accrue any more debt.  It’s not been an easy change of mindset.  It’s so easy to buy now and pay later.  It’s the American way.

I grew up with parents who were children in the Great Depression.  My Dad left the farm and joined the Air Force.  He jumped enthusiastically into the world of credit and the dream of a better life.  He spent a lot of time (and money) seeking all that the world could offer:  a new car every year, a bigger and better house, lots and lots of clothes…

I don’t fault  him for that.  Every one was doing it.  It just doesn’t work anymore.  Maybe it never did.  When I got my first application for a credit card (before I had even graduated and gotten a full-time job), I jumped at the opportunity.  I was proud of my perfect credit score.  Look at me!  Look at what I’ve done.

It’s literally a house of cards though.  It’s an illusion.  An illusion that’s difficult to maintain.  It’s a dream that brings no joy.

No more.

Sometimes, when I trip over the broom handle holding up my washer, I want to go buy a new one.

Most of the time, I see my rigged contraption and it brings me a sense of contentment and joy.  It’s a choice and I’m proud that I’m making a good choice – a choice that closely resembles poverty, but carries with it a wealth of benefits for our family.

 

 

Embracing Imperfection

You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success – none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.   – Ram Dass

I am embracing imperfection today.  Doing what needs to be done, but not more.

Friends are coming over.  Sweep up the big stuff off the floor.  Don’t mop.  Pile the dirty dishes by the sink.  Don’t wash them. Take-out fried chicken is just fine.  Every meal doesn’t have to be homemade.

Outside finishing the chicken coop.  Hoping the rain holds off for just a little while longer.  Friends and family.

Allowing myself to actually slow down, then stop and really feel the contentment.  The happiness.  Is this what joy feels like?

For too long I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by the minutiae of everyday life…and missed the joy.  Always seeking perfection and the approval and validation that will accompany it.  Striving for that which only I can provide for myself.

Change is slow, but good.  And today is an accomplishment for me.