Friday, September 2, 2011

Tis a Gift to be Simple

You may be wondering why you're staring at a pair of dirty, old sneakers. These are my tennis shoes. My mom got them for me 11 years ago when I was about to start college. She thought I needed a good pair of shoes to walk all over campus, plus the red & grey color was close to the scarlet & grey colors of my new school. I wore those shoes almost everyday of fall, winter and spring through 4 years of undergrad and 1 year of grad school. And now 11 years later I still wear them almost everyday (except for flip flops in summer, boots in the snow & the rare days I dress up). Are they the most glamorous, fashionable shoes ever? No but do I really need to be fashionable to chase kids around all day?

My shoes are not the only thing I've held onto for a long time. In fact, most of my belongings I had for awhile. I haven't bought any clothes in 2 years & I try to get rid of unnecessary clothes every few months (I will say I have a very generous mom who buys me clothes a few times a year which I'm very thankful for). My cell phone is going on 4 years old (an eternity in cell phone years!). It's a flip phone with a broken send button & no internet access but it makes & receives calls & texts & really why do I need the internet attached to me all day long anyways? Maybe if I had a job that required it but I don't and honestly most Americans really don't either.

My car is a 2001. I've had it for 2 years. The car I owned before that was a 1996 and I had it for 8 years. I bought both cars in cash. I believe in buying cars used, cheap & driving them until they die. I can't imagine buying a new car. Why would I spend tons of money on something that loses a huge chunk of it's value the second I drive off the lot?

I was raised to save my money, only spent it when necessary and get the best deal possible when I do buy something. And that's how I try to live my life. Now before you think I'm something I'm not or that I'm some judgmental person of people who spend money, I should tell you a few things. I save money every month to go on vacation a few times a year (I know it's not neccessary, although if you count my sanity as necessary it is!). I also get my hair done every 10 weeks or so. A habit & expense that I hate by the way but I've seen myself with my natural hair color & it's not pretty. And I can't imagine living without the internet, cable & my dvr.

But with that said I do have this desire in me to live a more simple life. To scale back to only having items I really need & love. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way but sometimes it seems like it. Everywhere you look there is this pressure to buy more, have the next, newest, greatest gadget & keep up with the latest trends & fashions. It makes me sad to see so many people broke & going into debt just to be accepted by everyone else. Honestly if the items I have now work & serve the function I need them too in my life then I don't need anything new. Life is the blink of an eye and my role here is to live a life that pleases Christ-to bring people into relationship with Him and to be the best daughter, sister, friend & worker I can possibly be. I don't want to spend extra energy and money striving to be popular and accepted in the world's eyes. Obviously I don't want to be a social outcast either & and I know I'm a hypocrite for even saying this because I am just as guilty as the next person over caring about unimportant things and wanting to buy items I don't need. And I care WAY too much what other people think of me. But even so I know that I want to get back to basics more, to focus on why I'm really here on this Earth and that reason is not to get the newest iphone. There is nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence but I want my life to be less about me.

So that's where I need your help. Please tell me I'm not alone in wanting to live a more simple life. What are your thoughts? What changes have you made to live more simply?