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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Quest for Simple Living; Part 1 of a Million

"The cause for most of man's unhappiness is sacrificing what he wants most for what he wants now." - Gordon B. Hinckley

Read that again. Make sure it sinks in and you understand it. This quote wandered across the pages of the book "Notes from a Blue Bike; The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World". The book is written by Tsh Oxenreider. If you have had any desire to live a more simple life. An intentional life. Read this book. This post isn't about a book report but this book found me at the most appropriate time in my life. If you've read this blog enough you know that living simply is something I crave for us as a family. But it's hard. Really hard. And I am seeing some of what is missing here.

Sacrificing what he wants MOST for what he wants NOW. That's me lately. There are things I want most in this life. Big things. Things that would require discipline in saving to achieve. Places I want to go. Friends in foreign countries I want to visit. Adventures I want to take. Mountain homes and beach homes I want to own one day. I know that these things require much of our family to achieve and that they aren't likely to happen overnight...or even within three years, some way longer. But I also know they could NEVER happen if I can't sacrifice the things I want now for the bigger picture. That is a terrifying thought.

Like many of you I'm sure, I have a tendency to get caught up in the moment. Let's take the baby nursery as an example because it's a good and recent example. There is always ONE. MORE. THING. I need to complete the room, the vision. Spend. Buy. Order online. If I don't order this particular (insert whatever nick knack I've got my eye on) the room is not just right. So I do. I usually buy it if it's reasonable. That money could have been saved for the family vacation we want to take the kids on next year to the Keys but instead I'd rather have the immediate satisfaction of the 'perfect' nursery. Heck, the cost of the nursery would look awfully nice in that savings account right now. And guess what? The baby doesn't care what her nursery looks like. Nope. I haven't even met her yet and I know this to be true. It's for me. Let's get real. Now, I do love it. I get deep satisfaction being in that room. I peek inside the room a few times a day to admire what has been done. I wish it were my room. I went a little "Crazy Eyes" on this project. I can admit that too. I'm like a recovered crack addict who decided to use and now is on a binder. And that's not simple living. That's watching too much HGTV and wanting what I want now.

There are days when I'm a walking contradiction. I am ready to abandon my excessive ways yet it's hard giving up the little things that are just part of the norm; dinners out/clothing/etc..We live in a 'want it now' society so finding a way to block out that clutter is TOUGH! I was doing good until I got pregnant I swear and then I started pinning things, finding brands on instagram,etc..it's a slippery slope. I will live BELOW my means because that is what would be required of me if I want those big things mentioned above. Just a little juggling of priorities. We can do it! I know that there are things I can't sacrifice like our need to take a little overnighter to Asheville or Blue Ridge on the occasion. We need those things as a family. They give us great pleasure and excitement and I think they are good for the kids too. I want to expose my kids to as many places and spaces and food as possible. However, I can vow to not buy anything for myself for a few months right? Not get the beast of a car I was spying because think of all I could do with that car payment? Maybe skip the Starbucks and just brew good stuff at home. Little changes could add up to a big reward (something I will have to constantly remind myself of every time my eye starts twitching over something 'new' I want that I discovered and just HAVE TO HAVE IT!!! AHHHHH!!!!!) Ugh, I just went a little Veruca Salt there. My apologies. Next thing you know I'll want a goose that lays gold eggs for Easter.

How do you keep yourself in check? How do you focus on the big picture instead of the immediate want? I'm such an open book right now. I'd love to hear any and all ideas.

Also, thank you to Tsh Oxenreider! You are super inspiring to me. My new hero and a wonderful example of what living simply is all about.