I have a relatively simple life. I don't want for anything materially, but I don't require a lot. That has not always been true. In my 20s, I thought the secret to happiness was to make a lot of money, surround myself with the right people and beautiful things, and have an over-scheduled social life. I learned, probably not quick enough, that that was not what true happiness is about. Throw a girl in the middle of a state park and lessons will abound.
I have met many people lately, both in person and new blog friends, that are beginning to see that too much is just too much; it gets in the way of being able to enjoy the things we do want in our lives and to simply be who we are.
However, people feel pressured by society, I still do at times, to put on pretenses of having it all. I know several young mothers who think that they have to have their kids in the "right" playgroup, wearing the "right" clothes, taking the "right" vacations or they will not have any chance in life. That is about their needs and desires, not about the kids.
In reality, simplicity and childhood are natural counterparts. Left to their own devices, children lead down-to-earth, uncomplicated, genuine lives. Haven't you seen a four-year-old birthday boy playing with the box instead of the battery-operated toy? Consumerism and advertising would have us believe that children need a zillion things to have a good life, but children make the most of simple things. It is us, the parents, that are pushing this world view onto them.
Now, hold on, don't freak out, I am not talking about having a Starbucks fix every once in a while, living simply is not about deprivation. We have a very full life, but are not willing to go into debt for the unnecessary and excess that is common in America. If we do not have the money in the bank for something, we do not buy it. It is not a huge sacrifice to live this way, in actuality, I feel a deeper sense of satisfaction than what is being offered by a high stress, consumption-obsessed society.
I am blessed to have a husband that has his priorities straight, oh boy, he has to keep me on track often. He is frugal (I used to think cheap, but I am reaping the benefits of his choices) and when faced with a choice for a promotion that would require travel away from home daily, he knew the cost of missing these formative years with our buckaroos was too high. It is not all about prestige, the character of our children is at stake and they need their dad around. If that is "too simple" or "crazy", then so be it.
Yes, we live a simple life, but we know in our hearts that this is the life we are meant to live, focusing daily on "the good stuff". And, how blessed we are, there is a lot of good stuff.
Feeling the need to de-clutter AGAIN,
The Park Wife