Less Is More
So many of us seem to think that bigger is better. A big paycheck, a big house, big elaborate birthday parties for our kids, etc. These are sure to bring me and my loved ones happiness, right? Did you ever stop to think that simplifying might really be the answer? Do these things actually add more stress to your life? Absolutely! So maybe what you think brings you happiness, actually makes you more miserable.
There's a great documentary on Netflix right now called Minimalism and it's a must see! It will definitely inspire you to live a much simpler life. And why shouldn't we embrace a simpler life, with basic necessities and truly appreciate what's most important? Too many of us take for granted the roof over our heads, the hot water running out of our taps, the food on our table & the time spent with loved ones. All the best things in life are free! This beautiful planet of ours offers an abundance of wonderful resources. And we're destroying it to produce all of these things we are programmed to believe will bring us ultimate joy.
If you downsized your life, you wouldn't need so much money to support it. That sounds like a win win to me! Work less and spend more time enjoying what's truly important. Why work to live and live to work? What kind of life are you supporting? It seems ludicrous to work 40+ hours a week to sustain a dismal life where you feel like you're not really living. The average Canadian household is in debt. 'Canadians now owe $1.65 for every dollar of disposable income they have. Household debt hit a record in 2015, and continues to rise. The typical Canadian owed $21,348 in consumer debt at the start of 2016, a figure that has jumped 2.7 percent in the past year and doesn't include mortgage debt' (source CBC). That's crazy! No wonder so many of us are sad & depressed.
It's never enough.... we always want more. The sad things is 'we're programmed to be dissatisfied' (Minimalism). The grass will always be greener on the other side and we'll keep trying to achieve these unrealistic goals of what happiness looks like/should be. We believe that buying the latest toy will bring us acceptance and admiration from our 'peers'. But do these materialistic people and things add value to our lives?
Having all of these big elaborate items is actually more of a big pain than anything. That bigger house is more money to upkeep and more work to clean. Those big over-the-top parties you plan, sure take a lot out of you. How much money did you spend by the end of it all? Did everyone really have fun (including you and your spouse)? All of those big beautiful people you want to emulate; are they really happy? You'd be surprised to hear how many of them are just as sad as you (if not more). Don't compare your life to others because more often than not, you're only seeing the more glamorous side of things.
I definitely used to be one of these people that had to have the nice car (upgraded every few years), the nice clothes, the newest gadgets even if I couldn't afford to pay for them right away; spent money when I was bored because it made me happy and filled a void in my life. What's a little bit of interest on something I HAVE to have right now? Well that interest sure does add up quickly. And I now realize that my real friends will accept me and love me for who I am no matter the circumstance. Do I REALLY care about anyone else's opinion? I used to, but not anymore. At some point in your life you will realize that all of the things you worried so much about really didn't matter.
This year for my daughter's birthday I decided to go the simple route and her party was a huge success! She invited a few good friends to go ice skating and eat dinner out afterwards. And for the loot bags, my daughter and I did an arts & crafts project the night before using brown paper bags. A basic cake was ordered from the grocery store; everything was 'easy peasy'. It was perfect... we ALL had a great time. I used to plan elaborate birthday parties and drive everyone crazy around me trying to put together 'the best' party. I would delegate jobs to everyone & it was stressful to say the least. The decorations had to be fantastic, the food catered to everyone's needs & well presented, the loot bags full of great things, the cake to be amazing and really fun activities planned for all to participate in, or else my party would've been a flop, right? But you can easily do half the work and have an even better response!
Since leaving the big city 2 years ago, my husband and I started to appreciate and enjoy a much quieter life. We haven't decluttered our house completely yet because it's definitely a process but I can't wait to finally be liberated of all of our stuff. These things really do start to consume you and become an issue. How much of it do you actually use? Do you really need it? It's a pain to try to find storage for it. Is that why you NEED to have that big house? To store all of the 'garbage' you don't use? It's a huge burden to hoard all of these things but so many of us can't seem to see the bigger picture.
Aren't we as a general population trying to become more environmentally conscious and help protect our planet? Well think about how many resources are used to produce all of this garbage. Where does it all go after we're done with it? At the rate we're going we won't be able to reverse the damage we've done. Do we want to leave a chemical wasteland for our kids to live in? It's so important to be aware of our carbon footprint. Trees and plants are oxygen. Fruits and vegetables are the basis of health. Water is life. Nature is beauty. Love it, live it, enjoy it! This is not a case of easier said then done... make the change. Less pollution, less carcinogens. Stop doing the 9-5 rat race, it's really not worth your time.
Only you are in charge of your destiny. If you're unhappy, make the change. It's never too late to start and you'll be so glad you did. Going back to basics (life the way it used to be) and living off the land makes a lot of sense. How terrific would our world be with less buildings/concrete and more trees? Isn't that what's truly beautiful about our planet?