In the last week I've watched the film Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things twice. I've been so moved by what I saw portrayed in the film: people coming from places of deep, profound pain and dissatisfaction into a life of contentment and great joy. And how? By shedding the excess weight of material things. By choosing simplicity.
The other day while scrolling through Facebook, I realized just how much of my newsfeed is dominated by marketing. There's not a single day that goes by that I don't see post after post trying to sell me on the latest essential oil blend or eye cream or lipstick or fashion item. And if we're honest, every single post is a form of marketing. We carefully curate what we share on social media because we're marketing a certain version of ourselves. We want to people to "buy" the best version of our lives.
And it's certainly not just my newsfeed, it's the side bar, it's every website, every blog. Search for a specific item on Amazon and they're quick to suggest 15 other items that other customers bought at the same time. Don't you need all of those too? Don't you want all those too? How will you read that book without this state of the art book light, this neck pillow, that throw blanket, this stainless steel coffee mug, the espresso machine, and the "book lovers" coffee blend? How have you existed up to now without all this stuff?!
We're chasing something that doesn't exist. The advertisers and manipulators dangle the carrot in front of my face, saying if you just buy this, own this, have this, you'll be happy. But the carrot is plastic, and even if I caught it, I wouldn't be satisfied.
I'm not interested in working a job, pushing a business, just so I can buy the next upgrade for a life I don't want. It's ok to say I don't want the McMansion, the third car, the Disney vacation. Henry David Thoreau said, "I make myself rich by making my wants few." And what I want lately is pretty simple:
- I want to spend time with my family. Not just time in close proximity, but focused, quality time. That means saying no to anything unnecessary. It's ok to say no.
- I want to pay off debt. Yes, that means we need an income. But I still don't think that means working a job my husband or I hate. Our time NOW is just as valuable as our time when we're debt-free. We can talk about the hustle all day, but what if I died in the middle of the hustle? Would it be worth it?
- I want to homeschool my kids well. I want to do the absolute best job that I am capable of, and nurture who God created them to be.
- I want to write a book. (Yikes. Did I say that out loud?!?!) And not just any book, but one that adds value and brings solutions.
- I want to love people well. Right now, that means some specific people God has dropped into my life, as well as searching out those that I know he's calling our family to serve, in some hard places.
- I want to travel with my family. And not to the glossy magazine vacation spots, but to places that nurture my soul in the deepest ways...mainly, places where nature is wild, and my family can roam free. Some of those beautiful spots are right in my own backyard.
The thing is, I don't want to wait until...until the debt is paid off, until the kids are older, until we've reached some arbitrary measure of success, until we retire....to live the life we want to live. I want to live a life of value now. I want to live a life of meaning. I know that when I pass from this earth, people won't say, "I'm really going to miss her, she had a really nice sofa." Or "Do you remember those awesome shoes she wore?" (Hahahaha....no one would ever say that about me anyway!) ;) But, I HOPE they'll say things like, "I'm going to miss her. She really loved well." "Do you remember how she poured her life out in service to others?" I hope they remember that I saw this life for what it really is...my one and only beautiful life, and that I didn't just wait for someday.
So I ask you: