Monday, March 18, 2013

Living simply.

 via gusandlula

This has not always been my motto, and you can bet that more times than I'd care to admit I've been swept up in the more, more more mindset. It seems to be an easy thing to do, with all of the pretty things floating around online. One look at Pinterest and I'm lost in gorgeous this, that, things and more, and it's easy to start to get the itch to have even more myself.

I grew up very simply- we didn't even have a microwave or any more than 12 channels on our one television. No cable, we line-dried our clothing, and my Mom grew most of our vegetables in the backyard. As I got older though, things changed. And as I started to make money (see me rolling at my first job at Subway), I started to want more.

Now as a Mom I feel like one of my biggest responsibilities is to raise a person who grows up to be kind, compassionate, and tolerant. Those are the biggest things, outside of having love for themselves and those around them. And I think my own Mom did it right. It was so nice to grow up being focused on activities and moments, rather than things. I mean, I never knew the difference then, but looking back now I am incredibly grateful.

This is not to say that I am going to suddenly get rid of our cable (never!), grow all our own food, or even stop indulging on pretty things that make me happy. What's the point of writing all of this then? To me, it's about finding a balance; it's about focusing on and being thankful for what I already have. Memories and activities over things, trying to pare down what we already to have to include only items we find useful or beautiful. This seems like a such a simple idea, but it's something I definitely struggle with and something I'm currently working on.

Can you relate?

26 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I love this. I feel like it is hard to find the balance but I think it is so good when you can get it just right. I think it is less about what you buy and more about how you appreciate the things you already have and finding the joy in those. And knowing you can be happy even if those extras were to suddenly fall away. We have family and friends and love and kindess and that will be enough to live simply but fully.

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  2. Most definitely. I grew up without a microwave and a TV (gasp!) but like you said memories from my childhood are centered around activities and moments, not things. The best part about it is that we were content. I hope that I can give that same kind of childhood to my kids one day. I like what Katie said above, it's all about finding joy in the things we already have.

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  3. Yes, I agree! I gave up TV at my house a couple of years ago when I went back to school and hardly even miss it. If i want to watch something, I download it or go to someone else's house to watch it if it is a finale of a show or something. I also often wonder how hard it will be when I have my own children and they are surrounded by other kids whose parents let them have an iphone at the age of 5 or watch insane amounts of television and if my kids will feel pressured to want to fit in.

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  4. I can totally relate! This is an ever present struggle for me, made worse by my employment. Working as a retail manager with sales targets means that I spend my days convincing people they need more more more. This not only makes me feel icky inside, but also sweeps me up in the hype occasionally. It is a daily struggle with myself that won't ever change untill I quit.
    The way express yourself on here is awesome, you seem to be able to articulate what I try to haha.
    Anyhow, sorry to ramble! Thanks for this post
    Mel x

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  5. my husband and I used to live on the east coast, made a lot of money, bought a lot of stuff, and didn't need most of it. this past summer we moved to Taiwan and were forced to get rid of most of our things [my poor wardrobe!] here we don't have a car or an oven or a lot of things we were used to every day back home. some of it is hard to give up, but we "live simply" now and are so much happier. I've found that [at least for us] experiences bring more joy than things.

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  6. hah, love this post! never get rid of that cable!

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  7. I think it's something a lot of parents struggle with. My mum is from an extremely poor family and we also didn't have much when I was growing up. She got a lot of promotions at work and now she and my dad have an extremely comfortable wage and I think they don't know how much they should give my sister and I sometimes.
    I wouldn't change my childhood. It was marvellous and I think not having much made us more appreciative of small, silly happinesses. x

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  8. omgosh yes! i grew up in sicily right on the sea in the early 90s and there was so much quality family time, and being out in nature and interacting with the community. i really miss that, and it motivated me to move my family to bavaria this past fall to live a more simpler life, i thought it would be best for my son! :)

    www.helloshaka.com

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  9. YES! Simplifying was actually one of my resolutions this year and part of my inspiration for blogging!

    http://makinghomesimple.blogspot.com/2013/01/2013.html

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  10. Yes! I feel like this is a constant struggle, especially living in America. Pinterest makes it so hard. After a few minutes on that sweet site I find myself wanting all new clothes, jewelry, home goods etc. It's hard to be content with what I have when everywhere you look someone (the media) is telling me it's old, out of date, out of style. I have been working on this for years because I grew up always wanting more. My mom taught me that we didn't have enough and so I never felt content. I think I'm getting better at it as I get older. But it is work.

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  11. It's always good to take steps to live a simpler life. And you're right, it doesn't mean that you have to purge your home of expensive things or keep yourself from buying something you really want, but I think maybe it's about making purposeful choices. It's also a good idea to raise a family with these ideals, too. When I was growing up, my parents didn't have a lot of money. I was very aware that we were lacking the "cool" stuff and I learned to be okay with that. I realized that I didn't need a lot of the things I thought I did.

    My big purchases tend to be on art or handmade/unique pieces. I will happily save for and spend $300 on a painting rather than buying a $300 handbag. Though I know there's absolutely an art involved in designing a bag, there's something about buying a painting or photograph that really makes me happy.

    theramblingfangirl.com

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  12. It's tough because we spoil our kids when we can, but try to do it without them ending up behaving spoiled if that makes sense. It feels like spoiling even when it's buying more books, or a package of Lego minifigures for $2.99. There was one point where Connor got a card from one of my best friends, and was like "oh what's in it?" because he had gotten used to cash or a gc, and that really upset me. He started crying when I explained that he can't expect to get gifts in every card or with every occasion. I didn't want to make my son cry, but I was glad to get some kind of reaction. We talk about it still--at his birthday that friends don't have to bring him presents, that at Christmas it's not about how much you get, but the time we spend together. It's a constant learning experience for both us as parents, and for them as kids, and I think that's what matters--succeeding or failing at it, at least we are trying to find that balance along the way.

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  13. i can so relate. my journey to living simply evolved because it seemed that once we got married we suddenly were dirt poor. ha. but i have really enjoyed the freedom of walking through target and only buying what i need, which isn't much now. in fact i can't really spend the little money we have now, i feel really weird buying stuff. cheers to finding the balance:)

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  14. I love this, sometimes it is easy forget :)

    vikkielora.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. Such a beautiful reminder! :)

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  16. wow thats pretty crazy - i grew up the opposite, unfortunately. had everything i wanted, basically spoiled rich kid defines my upbringing. my parents are wealthy and gave us whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted . you would think this would have turned me into this snotty person..but i think i turned out just the opposite.

    we actually have switched gears in how we live our life. we have no cable or even bunny ears to get local channels (gasp!) and haven't for almost 3 years and i don't miss it one bit. we watch movies and some old shows via netflix-

    as for food - we eat organically and support our local farmer's market and are also growing our own veggies and fruits as much as we can.

    we have downsized and have used only one car for almost a year (we actually have 2 others- a 52 chevy belair and a 54 chevy pickup truck - both off the road at the moment tho)

    we only buy what we need - and feel that spending our extra money on our food and feeding our girls (our three dogs) properly is all that matters. kevin says.."all you need is good food, a roof over your head and good friends" and he is totally right. the more we embrace this lifestyle the more i fall in love with it.

    so happy you found your balance, thats what its all about

    xx
    trisha
    veranellies.blogspot.com

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  17. I can totally relate, although we did get a microwave in the mid 90's. Mum grew all our veggies and for a while, Dad hunted for most of our meat. Although, where I grew up, cable wasn't really heard of and we only had 3 channels for most of my childhood. I think I get too caught up in material things now and need to cut back. I am definitely going to grow all my own fruit and veggies when I move house.

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  18. Oh yes, I can completely relate! I grew up without having much and learned to truly appreciate that, but being a mom changes a lot and although I'm okay doing without certain things for myself, I definitely do give in a lot to my girls. However, we recently cut our cable and after about two months we don't even miss it. That was about the beginning of our mission in 2013 to begin living a simpler life. It's a struggle with some stuff so definitely have to balance it all out and I'm learning as I go.

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  19. I can totally relate and I agree that finding a balance is what it's all about.

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  20. This inspired me. I wrote about it here http://www.theblueeyedowl.com/2013/03/thoughts-on-things-im-grateful.html :)

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  21. Nooo, not you too! Please not another "whoa is me, Pinterest is stressing me out" post on the blogosphere :(

    Sometimes I think SAHM/bloggers don't live in the real world. A world where, yes, there are so many beautiful things, but also real problems that are bigger than just wanting more things.

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  23. You should check out the book " Simplicity Parenting". It fell into my lap at the right stage in my life. My poor son had too many toys,too many choices, too much chaos. I've donated so many things to Goodwill. We moved from Southern CA to Texas. We are leading a simple happy life. Let's start a movement!

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  24. I'm impressed by the lack of microwave. I don't even use it that often, but I still can't seem to picture life without it. It's definitely an interesting concept - to move to living simply. I like to think I'd be able to make the switch, but knowing the amount of technology I have around me on a day to day basis, maybe I couldn't. Although - I already don't have cable... I just watch everything on the internet instead (that totally counts, right? yeaaah, probably not...)

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  25. I've been living by that thought for the past few years now. I find that I buy a lot less and it's easier for me to get rid of stuff that once had just an ounce of sentimental value. Life is so much easier when you're not in charge of dealing with so much STUFF. Cleaning is easier when you don't have to move stuff around all the time. You get the point. I'm still working on clearing out our clutter, it's definitely a process. But we're doing so well and I'm so excited about it everyday. The current tagline on my blog is even "be creative, live simply, chase your dreams". I'm obsessed with simple living and my mom and MIL who are both... not, just DON'T get it and think I need STUFF all the time.

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