Yep, I failed at writing my Thursday Three on Thursday, so this will have to do. It’s been a full week, lots of good and a bit of not-so-good, but by the end of each day, I feel spent and then I realize I can’t do it all.
1. The less you have, the less you lose. There are times we all want more. More feels good and makes us feel like we have more worth and must have accomplished more to acquire more. But living with less means you rely on less, so when something happens it doesn’t carry as great of an impact. This week I got rear-ended so my car is super scratched up (it’s a long story and kind of strange) and our air conditioning went out. The good news is, we don’t have fancy cars, and we don’t own our home. So, the car might just look like that for now. And thankfully, we don’t have to pay for the A/C to get fixed as renters. In the meantime, we were supplied a small window unit to cool our home which might not have cut it, but thankfully we keep our home at a balmy 81 degrees in the summer so we hardly felt a difference.
2. Being active is awesome. I don’t have a gym membership, I don’t have a set fitness routine and I don’t have any shakes to sell. I do try to live an active lifestyle though, so instead of meeting for coffee I might say “let’s go on a walk”, and I’m always up for a bike ride or a game of tennis. This week included all of those things, and I loved every second of it, despite the North Carolina humidity.
3. School supply season is always a little inspirational. I may have spent far too long wandering the aisles of crayons, pencils and erasers this week. I carefully chose a planner and a new notebook and thought of all the days to come. It’s the start of a new season and regardless of how many years it has been since I’ve been a student, I always think of fall as the start of a new year. New pens and planner in hand, I’m ready for it!
While we were away we were almost intentional about not doing the things we usually do. Now that we’re home those duties, drivers and dreams are back with a vengeance.
It’s as if we both feel this need, this longing to create. It’s almost a burden and to be honest, I can’t decide if it’s a good one or a bad one. He immediately starting editing videos. I wrote and wrote. I have a sense of responsibility to my writing. To my goals, dreams and hopes. It goes beyond writing–travel, music, relationships and art all have seats at the table in this house.
There’s no denying that we’re back. No hiding in another country without a properly functioning cell phone. The pressure is clear, the distractions are back and the battle is just getting started. We both had victorious moments during the first week of our trip. I had an article published in Relevant, and he got to contribute some footage in a National Geographic video. It was as if our hard work had paid off, and we got to momentarily bask in its bliss.
But upon return, we went straight back to the grind. We know these creative goals are not something we can just sit on and expect dividends in return. It’s a pressure, it’s a responsibility and it’s right in front of our faces. Neither of us know when time will run out on these dreams so we continue to cram ourselves full to make sure things happen. It’s exhausting already, and we just got back last week.
So the question becomes, what for? What are we aiming to achieve? What cost does it bring? What’s the purpose? Is it the right kind of dream? Finally, is it worth it?
There are things I want. And sometimes I want them now. Or at least, I think I want them now.
I could blame it on our culture and say the world has convinced us that instant gratification is the way to go, the way to be. But really, my own selfish desires get in the way as I think I can get my way now, just because I want to.
We don’t know what the future holds, and we can’t and we won’t. We can dream. We can hope. We can try to prepare. But it might still mean an entirely different life than we first imagined. All of that’s okay, but we’re going to have to wait it out.
With that waiting, must come discipline. I’m talking particularly about our finances. A little less than a year ago, we kissed debt goodbye and were able to save, allowing us the possibility to make this move across the country. While in the past few months our budget has been all over the place, we are going to buckle down now and save whatever we can. I can’t say that I totally love it, but I think it will be worth it…not now, but later. To me, it feels like we’ve already been living the life of a frugal young couple. In some ways, we have, but it’s time to make some serious sacrifices.
This means living with less. Less trips to the grocery store just to grab some ice cream or a chocolate bar. Less impulse buys at H&M. Less eating out. Less scouring craigslist “just because.” Less Groupon purchases. Less “needs” at Target. Less waste. Less chasing after empty promises of a better image or “success.”
It also means more. Living with more intention. More meal planning. More trips to Goodwill, Aldi and the dollar store. More research on our purchases. More thought about what’s at stake down the road in lieu of another $20 item at Target. More working together to meet our goals. More creativity. More opportunities to give. More opportunities to live.