While I was re-hanging my newly cleaned blinds and curtains in my bedroom yesterday (a once a year task that it not my favorite), I clicked on the TV and Oprah had a show on about living with less. It was a follow-up to a show on freegan living. Immediately, I was intrigued and left it on because first, it was not Veggie Tales and secondly by worldly standards our family is odd so I wanted to see if there were any people "like us". Did anyone see this show?
They took two families and gave them a challenge to live with less for 7 days, yes, just one week. The first family admitted in the very beginning that they are wasteful, I guess the first step is admitting the problem. This family has picky eaters and the mom was making four different dinners a night, o.k. who has time to do this or the money? Even though their refrigerator was fuller than me on lasagna night, they went grocery shopping and spent $200 on more food they are going to throw out next week before they return to the grocery to buy more. The topper here is that they can not even afford this lifestyle, they are robbing Peter to pay Paul. The husband is struggling to keep them in this lifestyle and is not being very successful.
Oh, and the kids, I ache for these spoiled children. They are growing up thinking this is the standard so when they are out on their own, they will expect to still live at this level. When they don't, they will be lost and will be discontent, not living a full, joyful life. There is no work ethic being instilled in these children, so on top of thinking they will be able to live at the same standard, they will not have a work ethic to bring in money. Sadly, they broke the rules repeatedly during the 7 days. I don't think this is going to be life-changing for them. They need to meet some Katrina victims to get a little life perspective.
Now, the second family grieved me even more for the children. The five-year-old spent between 3 to 5 hours a day, yes, A DAY playing video games and the daughter had the TV on all day and night. The mom was ready to make the change as she saw her five-year-old going through withdrawals as an addict does when taken away from his "habit". Woohoo, this family did the challenge and have made some real life changes, I think they "got it". Seven days is a start, but it is lifestyle choice.
I am so blessed to have a frugal husband, I am not sure many wives would say that and in reality when we were first married, this was not my favorite quality of his. With "retiring" from the work world to be a stay-at-home mom and now a homeschool mom there have been many sacrifices, but I would gladly do it all again.
No, I don't have a ton of great clothes (hey Oprah, since you are simplifying, could send me some of your clothes), or get pedicures, or my hair fixed at the salon regularly. But, my husband thinks I am a princess and treats me like one. He does not deny me "things" because I never put him in the position to have to buy my attention or love or to be wasteful. If it is something that I feel that I NEED, I get it. If it is something I WANT, we talk about it and see the feasibility of it.
It is a choice for us to live this kind of life. In return, I am already seeing the fruits ~ we have children who are learning what real work ethic is, we will help them find their life passion and having fun doing it, we own 92 acres that we paid cash for, we own our vehicles, we don't have credit card debt and we are just in our mid 30s (o.k. so I have a birthday in a few weeks that is going to put me much closer to the 40 mark).
Living a simple life does not mean you are somehow inadequate or you are "poor". I feel like one of the richest women alive.
The Park Wife