Living on less means many different things to me.
It means living without unnecessary extras. It means living without excess. It means eating in moderation and with the intention of fueling my body. It means not spending frivolously. It means less distractions.
But I also do not want nor intend to make this about ‘cutting things out.’ No, instead it’s about adding more of the good stuff in.
It means more time spent cooking healthy meals which I really enjoy. Not only does my food taste better and my body feel better after eating it, it’s a means of connection, to my body and the bodies of the little ones I’m looking after. It’s also relaxing and helps me de-stress. It means more love, time and attention to my family, my circle, my work, my self expression. It means more time to dream while I’m awake. It means more time to move and enrapture my body. It means more time to meditate and turn inwards but also more time to learn from others. It means more time to get outside, more time spent at play, and more time to rest when I need it. It truly means more of what matters most.
Growing up in a lower middle class single parent home meant we had to make do with what we had. My sisters and I didn’t always have the latest toys or the fanciest clothing. We went out to eat when it was ‘kids eat free’ night. We had to save for and earn the special stuff we wanted. But never did we feel we were going without. We lived in a loving, safe home, always had food on the table, had friends to play with and the freedom to roam around until dusk, and then we had a nice warm bed to sleep in at night.
Essentially where I’m at now is returning to those basics.
As an adult I haven’t ever been one for flashiness. I haven’t ever had a fancy car. I don’t wear designer clothing or buy a new wardrobe with the changing of the seasons. I’m not one for going out much, whether it be for dinner, drinks or a night on the town. The house isn’t overwhelmed by electronics or over the top decor. I was raised to live within my means and so I always have.
That’s not to say I don’t indulge from time to time. But it’s always been more about the experience or the company I’m with than how much I’m spending. I value time and connection more than I value materials.
I trip up though. I am human. Some days I worry more about how much I am making than the experience I am providing. I get stressed about doing all the things instead of doing a few each day and doing them well. Some mornings I feel rushed and impatient and lose my temper. But my aim is less of all of that. The goal is to enjoy the little moments before they are gone. To prioritize better and to lighten up (my Capricorn nature makes that hard!).
I don’t feel as though working toward ‘less’ means I am giving anything up. It isn’t deprivation. It isn’t misery. It isn’t lack. It’s a return to what matters. It is a heightened sense of joy. It’s far more of what lights me up, tickles me, makes me laugh, puts a smile on my face, and helps me sleep soundly at night. It’s more of feeling good – about myself, my family, my home, my career, the energy I am putting out into the world, the reality I am creating, the way in which I am raising my nieces, and the way I am showing up.
Returning to a more simplistic way of living is less taxing on my body, my mind, and my spirit. This is the path to knowing myself better. The path to healing old trauma. To getting really real with myself instead of masking problems or trying to shove them aside. This is my way of standing face to face with who I am and who I want to become.