I have noticed a shifting of the tides as extreme budgeting is my focus and rules my decisions. The less I have, the richer I feel. That sounds like a contradiction but to me it makes perfect sense.
When money isn't an object, I spend freely and there always seems to be a quiet ache for that which is just barely out of reach. While I am in a spending mode, I never have quite enough because I'm always wanting for just a little bit more than I have.
What I have found during this Time of Great Restraint is that there is very little (other than the ongoing need to buy groceries, gas, pay the bills and maintain that which we already have) that I actually want for. We have so much, that we are selling, giving and throwing away much of what we already have.
We have moved so much "stuff" out of this house and I am still feeling slightly overwhelmed at the fact that there are so many untouched rooms, closets and drawers yet to go. Not to mention the garage and playhouse. I can't even think about my memory boxes and paperwork.
As I have waded through the excess, I have often found myself wondering "How sparsely can we live?"
At one point this past year I made the offer to pack up and move out to Mom's if she would have felt more comfortable with another adult living under her roof. I woke up with the idea one morning and it made perfect sense.
I am at a stage of my life where I'm ready to make a change, I'm flexible, my children are adults and almost fully independent. Almost. The word that changed everything. Almost independent.
Yes, my youngest son is "almost" there. So close, but yet so far.
As I've been wading through the belongings within our home I keep mentioning my idea of living downstairs and renting out the main floor. Or variations of that idea. Conversations with my youngest son aren't what they used to be. But I keep chattering and I am always just a little bit surprised that he is still listening after all of these years.
I got talking about retirement living and Mom's take on the concept. I told my son how Mom felt about it and how much she wants to keep living independently in her home. And because that is so important to her, I told my son "that" is part of the reason I want to change what I'm doing. If it ever comes to the point where Mom cannot live alone, I want to be able to be flexible enough to move out to help.
We had this conversation while I was assisting him in putting his items up for sale this week. My actions are starting to rub off on him and he has joined me on this mission to lighten the load around here. He cleared out a tremendous amount of his belongings. One garbage bag full of garbage, several giveaway items and he listed more items for sale. His total proceeds after two weeks is $103.50 so he is accumulating a little spending money for his efforts. He ended up with an entire storage container emptied out, an empty drawer and a few empty shelves. He utilized one empty shelf to display some of his creative works and yesterday he said he wanted to get rid of this project from his theatre arts class:
I listed it on Kijiji under "Free Stuff" and it has been re-homed as of 7:00 this morning.
Change is in the air within our little world. I am actively reshuffling my life and in the process, my son has joined me.
I'm not too good at this "adult parenting" thing. There is a fine line between "when to push", "when to back off", "when to but in", "when to quietly suggest" and know "what to say".
Perhaps this was a very good time for me to upend my world. I hope I'm modelling the fact that "change" is terrifying but necessary. Sometimes we have no idea where things are going to go but we know they cannot stay as they are and have been.
I'm wandering through my days in survival mode. Cut backs in spending have been almost imperceptible. In fact, I am thinking maybe I haven't cut back at all because life feels very, very comfortable at the moment.
I have accidentally stumbled into a place where I needed to be. Now that my conversations with my son are not about strategies, tools, ideas and coping mechanisms about how to survive in my role as a daycare provider, we have started talking about new and different things. Our conversations made it easier to recognize what to say, when to say it and where to gently push.
It's going to be okay. We are building wings here under this roof of ours. It's hard work. We need room to fly, so we are making it. I was lost in how to parent this almost independent child of mine and I accidentally stumbled onto a way to make room for conversations to happen, brainstorming to take place and open up a whole wide world of possibilities.
The quiet place of "knowing" has not yet occurred but each and every day, waking up and simply doing "the next right thing" is helping us find our way. One step in a forward direction will start to take us where we need to go.
My deep rooted quest to simplify, live small and create a world where I could pack myself up and move exactly where I need to be seems to be at the root of every move I make. Part of what I need to move forward, is to help my son find his wings. We are lightening our loads and we will soon be able to fly.
There is a richness that has seeped into our living that money can't buy. It comes from letting go of what doesn't matter, holding onto what is important, building and rebuilding and maintaining the foundation of our home (which is less about repairing windows, weather stripping and teeth and more about family) and taking one small step in a forward direction. One step at a time. We are doing this. We don't know where our staircase is leading but there is a sense of "knowing" that we are headed in the right direction.
"Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly." ~ Tony Robbins