There’s a part of today’s consumerist world that drives us to want more, buy more, act on our impulses, hoard, spend to solve our problems, create comfort through shopping, seek thrills through travel, do more, be more.
What would happen if we broke from our addiction to wanting and buying more?
What would life be like if we didn’t need all that?
Here’s the method in summary:
Notice your dissatisfaction.
Notice your ideals that you’re holding tightly to.
Loosen your hold on these ideals, and turn to the present moment.
Really see the present moment with curiosity, find something to appreciate.
Accept the present moment completely, with love.
From this place of peace, respond, take action. It might be toward an aspiration, or not, but it’s a response from a good place.
This method takes a lot of practice, and I’m still not very good at it. I enjoy the practice, though.
Sometimes being busy feels good, and sometimes keeping busy makes us feel important. But you are valuable because of who you were made to be, not because of the activities you do. Your worth does not depend on your busyness. You can do fewer things, even if the things on your calendar are all good things.
And the things we keep busy with often are good things. There’s volunteering, there’s being a friend, there’s work. There’s regular old household chores. And if you have kids, there’s sports, scouts, classes, clubs, and lessons, enough to fill every minute of the day, and it seems like everyone else is doing them all, so it must be possible.
We stop asking each other: How are you? And we start asking: How do you do it all?
No matter how many commitments we take on, no matter how long the to-do list, we never get more than twenty-four hours in a day. The way we spend those hours should reflect our values and priorities.
To use our time well, we need to get rid of all those tasks that creep into our to-do lists. We can’t be always going, always on, always busy.
What keeps us from simplifying our schedules and focusing our time?
As a decluttering expert, the work I do sometimes overlaps with the efforts of researchers who study hoarding. There are differences between people who are merely heavily cluttered and those who are hoarders. But they’re not always far apart when it comes to specific attitudes.
It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half since that moment. Much has changed. I sold my car. I bought a bike. I sold furniture. I sold my TV. I sold books. I donated clothing. I retooled my diet. I packed more lunches. I ran and biked to work. I got up earlier. I worked harder. I connected with more people. And most importantly, I began to feel happy, alone.
It’s funny, we grow up saying, “I’ll never be like my parents and grandparents.” Then one day you wake up and you realize, “I’m exactly like them. How did this happen?”
We love our little neighborhood. One of the things we enjoy most are little get-togethers with neighbors on our street. Almost every week, we’ll have a planned or spontaneous gathering were we’ll sit around and chat for a while. The kids ride bikes or draw pictures with chalk on the driveway. In the summer, we watch movies in a backyard with a projector and a bed sheet.
A couple weeks ago, some of the ladies in the neighborhood got together. Mrs. 1500 couldn’t make it due to a previous obligation. At some point in the gathering, the ladies started talking about each others’ husbands. It eventually got back to us that one of the ladies said this:
Try this now if you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, in pain, disappointed, angry, anxious, worried, or depressed:
1. Notice. Take a moment to turn inward and notice your pain in this moment. Now notice where it is in your body, and how it feels. Describe the pain to yourself in physical terms, in terms of quality, in terms of color or shape or motion.
Whether becoming empty nesters, downsizing or just finally embracing the decluttering movement, boomers are taking a good close look at the things they have spent their life collecting. Auction houses, consignment stores and thrift shops are flooded with merchandise, much of it made of brown wood. Downsizing experts and professional organizers are comforting parents whose children appear to have lost any sentimental attachment to their adorable baby shoes and family heirloom quilts.
I know of many people who spend much more than this as well, such as someone who recently told me that they spend over $300 a MONTH on their cable bill. While that may seem crazy to you, I have heard of many people who pay this much money and sometimes even more for cable.
By learning how to cut cable, you could save thousands of dollars over your lifetime. That money could be better spent on retirement, traveling, family, and more.