Saturday, 18 October 2008

How I arrived on this journey

Posted by Frugal Trenches
Notes From The Frugal Trenches

Several of the wonderful bloggers here have posted excerpts from their blogs to help readers understand their journeys. I've asked a few of my readers and they chose this post for me to share with you.

My Little Inspirations:

Several people have emailed or commented recently asking me how I came to the decision to downshift and simplify so early in my life (I am in my late 20's). While I do think that downshifting is a journey created by many different experiences and reflections, there are several very special reasons why I came to this journey so young, and I’ll call them my little inspirations.

A couple of years ago, well before this journey was documented, a family tragedy meant that a large group of siblings needed a new home, for at least another 6 months, if not more. Many people’s names were tossed about, conferences were held, but in the end it was decided I would be the person. The proper channels were sought, the proper paperwork done, the proper supervision in place and in an instant I went from being a pretty carefree single with lots of savings to a single carer of a large sibling group ranging from pre-school age to nine! What an experience! I was filled with fear and trepidation, I was so unsure about whether I had it in me to do this, I was so unsure about how it would effect my life and in truth I was so unsure about what I had gotten myself into. If you’ve seen Baby Boom, let’s just say I was just as shell shocked as Diane Keaton’s character!

My days went from spending 10 hours at work, followed by evenings with friends at bars, restaurants and shows, to being desperate to leave the office so that I could pick the kids up from school and pre-school on time, I could explore parks and nature with them, I could get a healthy meal on the table, I could spend time reading and talking to them without rushing them and I could get everything done that needed to be done before the next day started. In truth all I did was rush, rush, rush!

In the beginning I started off enrolling them in before and after school programs, extra curricular activities galore, we spent weekends running errands, getting the shopping done and squeezing in “the fun stuff” like a quick trip to the park and library. I was giving them the childhood I knew and I assumed (although admittedly I hadn’t thought too much about motherhood at that point) that I would give my own children some day. And then one day, out of the mouths of babes came the following statement “thank you for giving me a family when my family went away, my favourite time is just being with you, watching the fire roar, colouring and making things and reading”. Out of the mouths of babes….

It hit me in that instant that all the expensive lessons I’d signed them up to, all the educational toys and books I bought wasn’t what they needed or wanted. What they wanted and needed was to just be. That night I made a very hard decision. I looked at my generous savings and decided if what they most needed was me, then that was what I would give them until they could eventually, possibly, return home. That next day I went into work with a formal letter ready to leave it all behind. Work was desperate not to lose me so we reached a compromise, I would work in a much lower position only 2 days a week and only around the children’s needs.

My days went from non-stop rush, to appreciating and loving everything around me. I went from having no interest in anything homemade to wanting to know exactly what was going into their bodies to nourish them and wanting to be very careful about what went into their souls. I went from having dreams of being a “power woman” to realizing that power and strength come from within and are not defined by the job that you do, or the professional company you keep.

For almost a year my days included so many firsts, like noticing the clouds, playing in the garden, making things, cooking, laughing, singing, playing homemade musical instruments, making up stories and poems. My days changed from being a woman who had a connection to work, to a woman who had a connection with herself, her soul, her community and her inspirations.

That year cost me 99% of my savings but made my heart 99% happier. It is my little inspirations that I have to thank for this amazing journey, it is my little inspirations that I have to thank for helping me find my heart and my soul.