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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finding True North....part 5

northern lights compete with big dipper
Photo Courtesy of Steve Wall


Distilling it all Down


What do you truly want in life? What do I want? Moreover, where is the intersection of our wants and needs?

These are big questions, without seemingly simple answers. This post, from Rosaria, has got me thinking (darn it!). That and other life factors...it seems we've reached another crossroads as a family, in terms of my husband's career. Which path do we take? So delicious and abundant, somehow, to have options, but so utterly overwhelming to me at times too.

Here are the items that matter to me, in this moment, as they roll off the top of my head.

- I want to be healthy, to have energy to meet life head on, whatever comes.

 - I want my life to be simpler, with fewer interruptions. I find our level of connectivity (email, cell phone, smart phone) somewhat exhausting. 

- I want to spend as much time as possible with people I love, or at least, like a lot.

- I want a home and the feeling that we can sustain this home without backbreaking effort. I think of my parents, who bought their first home in the early 1970s for $30,000, on a $30,000 income (and that was one income, thank you!). In 2009, according to the US census, the median home price was $216,700. The median income in 2009 was $49,777. Anyone else notice the disparity here? 

- I want to go to the doctor when I'm sick and not be afraid of the bills that come after ($803/month for high deductible insurance for a family of 3 is a bit much, perhaps?).

- I want above mentioned home to have the useful things we need, and for some of them to be pretty, and probably handmade, or at least well made. And I want them to have a place to be put away when not in use. And when they're all put away, I want a simple, uncluttered, but lived in and well loved feeling to this home.

- I want to work hard, and I mean this in all sincerity. I do not prefer to be idle. Quiet sometimes, but not idle, not much. But I don't like to feel like I'm on a treadmill. Work with a purpose feels good. Work without purpose, or with the purpose of consuming more, not so much. 

My parents gave me some amazing gifts, many of which I didn't appreciate at the time, some of which I probably still don't get. But many of them are coming home to me now, in a big way.

We didn't have cable TV. We had limits placed on how much network TV we did watch....albeit, that was a lot simpler in the days when kids programing was basically between 3-5 pm and on Saturday mornings, with a few little kiddie shows on PBS in the mornings.

We bought most things used...cars, clothing, housewares, furniture. This chafed me at times, especially in my teens when friends had new clothes, fancier houses, and just more stuff. I'm so grateful for this now...this part of my childhood prepared me to be a more thoughtful person as an adult, at a time in the world when consumption is at an all time high (or maybe ebbing a bit, hopefully). It taught me to use my resources wisely and thoughtfully, and think of the inherent costs involved in everything, not just the sticker price.

They taught me to treat others as I would like to be treated, and to widen this thinking beyond my own immediate circle, to the community of people who share this planet. It's not enough to be kind and thoughtful just to those I interact with directly. My actions affect people thousands of miles away, and it's time to get real about all of that.

As we move forward with our decision making process, keeping the bigger picture of what is important, what choices will enhance our quality of life and the lives of those around us need to be the key factors to consider.


As we rapidly approach the holidays and the shopping that usually entails, I find myself more and more ready to do this in a small, simple, thoughtful way. In the past holiday shopping has made me both anxious and tired. This year, I don't think I'll be doing much of it. Here's something to think about, if you haven't seen this already.