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Monday, July 20, 2009

Creating a new normality!


By Notes From The Frugal Trenches







We live in a completely over-scheduled society. Gone are the days of working 8-4 and spending evenings with your family or within your community, now a significant percentage of people spend evenings running errands, chauffeuring their kids to one activity & another, working, working from home, checking emails, hitting the shops. When I lived in North America, my local shops were open until 9 or 9:30 pm every night, my chemist aka pharmacist was either 24 hours or open until midnight, the book shops were open until 10pm as were coffee houses, cafes and many other establishments. Even though I wasn't necessarily accomplishing anything I was often out 3-4 evenings a week just doing "stuff" aka buying stuff. Then I moved back to England and a smaller town in the West Country where shops shut at 5pm, coffee shops 4pm or 6pm if you are lucky. And I hated it, yes this anti-shopping, simple living girl hated that there was "nothing open". Oh how I've changed.

Once I started my simple life, I started living. My evenings became time to be home, time to learn to cook, bake, sew, knit. I began joining activities like book groups and knitting clubs within my community, I began to volunteer an evening each week and 1/2 a day at the weekend. I began to meet people, neighbours, people in surrounding villages.

Today it hit me, as I sat looking at the sea in front of me, at a social event in the community next to mine, that my turning away from consumerism, from buying, from "stuff", I had created a new normality. A normality that gives me time to help others. A normality that gives me time to reflect and pray. A normality that gives me time to learn new hobbies and explore my interests. A reality that means I can work part time and follow what I really want to do in life, rather than working for a paycheck. None of this happened overnight, I had to pay off my debts, I had to have an emergency fund, I had to have changed my spending, established a difference between need and want, turn my back on the latest anything, but I for one couldn't be happier.

This week I lost a very good friend, far too young (early 40's) with young children and it was such a stark reminder for me about how important really living is, how important it is to have time rather than money or a bigger house; to follow your passions, to make a difference; to really live.

I'm really living now. Are you?

14 comments:

bymoi said...

What a great and inspiring post!
I love it!
This year I have been changing some of my thinking about things and trying to simplify. What a difference it can make in your life.

Aimee said...

Excellent post. Simplifying my life over the past few years has given me those precious things too...time and creativity and service and health. Good and true wealthy living for sure.

Mary said...

We've recently moved to a smaller house with way less amenities than the previous one.All is fine after two months of adjustment.We are living more purposefully and are saving money as well.

Carol said...

Tomorrow may never come...and so many are struggling to get all they can...when they probably already have everything they really need..

I am living frugally and enjoying the rest of my life.

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

MystikMomma said...

Yes this is what I am doing, really living. It seems some of my friends don't understand and blame me for their unhappiness. But I get this post, for its honesty and clarity. Living is what this is all about, not the "stuff" that gets in the way.

Willo said...

I am working to get back to really living. I have a hard time because I don't really ENJOY cooking, gardening, etc...so I am debating trying harder or finding other things to fill that time.

Julie'smusings said...

Agree absolutely! Simplyfying my life, little by little, small changes at a time brings a freedom in so many areas of living that I find really exciting! I am also discovering it is contagious once people start to ask questions and begin to look at their lifestyles!

STEPHANIE. said...

wow! I am really inspired by this post! thanks for sharing...simplifying like this is one of the hardest things to do, especually if you are married and your husband may not come to a mutual decision to do so.

eatclosetohome said...

I'm always torn when I read things like this. How wonderful for you that you have found fulfillment in your quiet, everything-closes-at-5 town. However, I love my job, and it keeps me busy from 8:30-5:30 every week day. It would certainly *complicate* my life if all the shops closed at 5pm and were closed on weekends. It's not about recreational shopping - it's about survival and sanity.

cwfrmr99 said...

What wonderful inspiration! I am sorry for your loss. It truly is awakening to come back to the reality of life and what "really" matters in it. All of us in the States are too busy. We can't ever pack enough into one day. We would be a healtier people all around if we cut our social lives in half and just relaxed a bit.

Thanks so much for the inspiration.

Jocele said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you! I've been trying to become less of a "consumer", but with variable results. Certainly you have gotten your priorities straight.

Karen said...

yes, i'm really really working on it!! doesn't it feel freeing? but also a bit of a burden, to wonder at people just can't understand that to feel this way is to feel truly happy.

Prairie Chick said...

YES! I'm really living, breathing, relishing, cherishing... and I LOVE this post.

SavingsNow said...

Death really brings things to the fore and makes us realize what's important - I really want to get to that point without losing a family member so have worked hard this year to focus on quiet passtimes and needing less. Cutting down on extras, tv watching, spending, being able to say no, all part of my overall plan that to date, is slowly working but still lots to be done!