Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cold Turkey? Moderation? Bit by bit until I just give up??

I read a lot of blogs about living a Simple Life. (Shocking, I know. LOL) I am not naive enough to think that these women have lives that are quite as simple and idyllic as they appear on the page with all of their perfect pictures of their perfectly simple clothes, their perfectly simple food, their perfectly simple toys, their perfectly simple family. And I know that I'm looking at their life now - not 5, 10 years ago when they were spending money wildly or when they ate food that wasn't 100% organic.

And the truth of the matter is that I will never be THAT Simple anyway. We will probably always have plastic in our house. I will probably continue to let my children to watch TV occasionally. I will never be at the place that I make all of our clothes, grow all of our food. I will always love Diet Pepsi (I didn't say that I will always drink it because I am getting closer to giving it up . . . )

And another truth of the matter is that it isn't like I'm doing Nothing Simply. I do garden and can. I do live frugally. I do buy most things used. I am eating much more healthily lately. (I know, Diet Pepsi isn't healthy. ) I am doing pretty well on food storage. We don't use credit. We do have a house, enough clothes, enough food. I do know how to sew and crochet. We use a budget.

But then things happen - like having to pay for new window wells when you just spent most of your savings on carpet and a washer and dryer. Like having not enough money for years, and as a result of that, making some poor financial decisions that will take YEARS and YEARS to fix. Things like feeling like you only get to be happy for a brief moment before it all goes back to being hard again.

The children wanted to go out to dinner tonight. Seriously, we shouldn't go out to eat for about 10 more years if we wanted to really be financially responsible. But yet, I knew it was a minor request. And I knew that $20 probably wouldn't make a huge difference either way - long term or even short term. But I knew that I "should" make something homemade. It would be healthier. It would be much cheaper. It would be using our resources wisely. And it wouldn't be just another "oh, this will be o.k." because we have obviously used that line over and over again. And while this $20 wouldn't hurt, $20 every month for the last 10 years hurts.

But is that how life is supposed to be? Should I never take the kids out? Should I never get my hair done at a salon? I know that I say that I want that Simple Life where I wouldn't do those things. But I think maybe it is a lie. Or maybe I want it all. I want to be able to Choose to live Simply. And have it be My version of the Simple Life.

I'd also like to figure out once and for all how to achieve that Simple Life. Do I really want it? I think that is the real question? I'm thinking that maybe I don't want it after all. Well, not the Perfectly Simple anyway. Perfectly Simple is too much for me. I tend to look at things in a very black and white sort of way, and then get so frustrated and discouraged when all I get is grey. To me, so often, I think that the only way to achieve something is to do it ALL THE WAY. And then inevitably, I fail a little. And then I give up ALL THE WAY.

I remember visiting a website years ago (this was way before blogs) and there was this women who shared about how they lived such a natural life, and so in tune with each other, and the seasons, and on and on. Even back then, that sort of life was appealing to me, even though it was so far from my life then. And then one day, her website disappeared. I checked for months afterwards, hoping that it would reappear on another server or something. And then a year or so later, I heard that the woman had left her husband, had given up her natural life completely, and that she had basically become the complete antithesis of her former life. Now, I don't know for sure if this is even true, and I don't know what ever happened, and I certainly don't know the circumstances behind it, if any of it is true. And I'm not sharing this story because I'm judging her. I'm sharing this story because it seemed like she was a woman who saw in black and white too. And sometimes, when you have picked Black, and you are confronted with Grey, it is so hard to know what to do except pick White.

I know that Moderation is the best - in all things, Simple Life included. But it is SO hard for me to do it. It just isn't the way I'm wired. When I try, most of the time, I end up just floundering and feeling like I'm doing nothing well.

Bit by Bit Until I give up? This is what I usually do and try and think of it as Moderation. I do just enough so that I feel successful, but it isn't enough for me to really bring it in as a habit, a lifestyle. And since it is just a little bit, it just slips away, as if it was never there.

I know I'm just rambling. And I'm mixing so many things together. Money. Provident Living. Simple Living. Being a Mother. Being a Perfectionist. Being a Failure. Feeling like I didn't imagine how this is how my life was going to be at 43.

But for me, this is My Life. It is so hard for me to separate all these things because to me, they aren't separate. It's like that line in some movie "People say 'It wasn't personal.' but what they really mean is that it isn't personal to them. But it is really personal to me." (I'm completely botching that quote too. Anybody recognize it though? I can't remember. Great, now I'm losing my mind too LOL)

I don't know. What I do know is that I'm just trying to find My way. Not very confidently. Not even very well. And I don't know what I'm going to decide, about anything really, or when. But right now, I do know that I'm going to get up tomorrow. And maybe try just a little harder to figure out how to live with Off Black (seriously, why is Off Black not a color, but Off White is?)

1 comment:

Mary said...

These are some very deep questions-- Especially that last one. Moderation is tricky because if you never go whole hog with something how can you be truly successful? And I am constantly evaluating where I am with where I thought I would be. And the answer usually isn't pretty.