Our new small living experiment, has changed things in ways I could not imagine. As we discover living small, I am now questioning decisions in a different way. Normally I would focus on monetary investments for activities, as our life focused on scarcity dictated, but now it is more about measuring the experience first and then deciding if it is worth the investment. It is all about conscious spending.
Like, how nature can still find us as we try our hand at small space gardening. Investing in seeds, soil, and time was a conscious choice. The boys and I planted foods we liked, and whether or not they mature enough to be editable is not as important, as it is the lesson that is learned along the way that I enjoy. The strawberries taste sour, but they are pretty and we grew something!
I do not have all of the answers, but downsizing with kids has been an ongoing experience that I embrace each day.
Last night, the kids were with my mother-in-law spending some quality time. My husband and I had a night to ourselves, to grill and watch a movie at the house. Now, for those of you that have time to go to the movies when they come out, you may not understand my choice of “Saving Mr. Banks”, but my love for the movie Mary Poppins as a kid had me curious.
My reaction to the film, was not what I expected. What struck me was the story we tell ourselves about our lives, and our ability to rewrite its meaning. Without giving away too much of the film, which I encourage you to watch, I was struck by the perspective of the child and how that led the main character to think of her defining moments of her life and how she could rewrite her own ending.
I just finished reading, You can Buy Happiness and It’s Cheap and among its many gems was that for many of us, “Happiness is Disneyland”. It is as if we have to go to the grandest place on earth to experience joy, but as you experience in the film that a child’s version of joy is much different.
I have experienced more true joy since we downsized, that in all the five years previous. Is it that I was not happy? No. It was that I did not experience the full sense of joy, like rolling on the floor laughing with your kids because you can, watching their eyes light up when they learn something new, or having a movie night with your husband.
Do I have it all figured out? No, but that is part of the investment as well. It is a learning process, and one that so far includes the following happiness investment strategies.
1. Pull back the curtain of your life. Sit and remember the times you are most happy and seek more of that.
2. Value life experiences. Watching a movie and having dinner with my husband, while my children spend time with their grandparent costs nothing, but means everything.
3. Structure a life based on your values. Before getting caught up in the rat race, and raising families, there are things in life we valued that were not tied to a to-do list. Seek those out and intentionally add them to your weekly plan.
4. Celebrate daily wins. Every day that we seek to improve, to love and experience more is a win, celebrate those.
5. Intentionally find your community. I have moved a lot in my adult life, and as I do I learn something new. It was not until we began to simplify that I realized what I was looking for was a community of like minded people. Whether online or off – seek.
This post was inspired by reading the book You Can Buy Happiness and It’s Cheap. It was a great read, and a unique look into this movement toward simple joy. I encourage you to read it.
(I purchased this book as a part of our ongoing goal to live simply, and have included an affiliate link in this post.)