Americans are programmed a certain way. As a relatively young country, we still maintain a certain level of childlike hopefulness and abandon. Every other country in the world recognizes it and that's why millions of people visit and/or immigrate to our great nation each year. We are truly "The Land of Opportunity"; but, with our abandon and opportunity, also comes much waste and consumerism.
We are so blessed to have so many options in our country - one of those options being to not consume so much and live simpler.
Life is all about making trades.
A job, simply put, is trading time for money.
Money is then traded for goods.
We trade more money for convenience which allows us to trade less of our time, but at what cost to our health?
- Less stuff means less upkeep and maintenance
- Less convenience means healthier choices (whether in food or home product choices)
- Less distractions mean more possibilities for building relationships
- Less need to consume means less stress
As an example, I'll use a typical American child's room. She has a lot of stuff in her room and all that stuff takes a good while to put up before her room is clean. Because it takes so much time to tidy everything (maintain what she's got), she has less time to play with her toys and friends (enjoy life). If she had fewer things in her room (distractions), she would be able to spend more time doing whatever she wanted to do.
Viva Editions recently sent me the book Lemons & Lavender: The Eco Guide to Better Homekeeping by Billee Sharp to review.
This book details the author's journey as an entrepreneur and encourager of living "the handmade life by consuming less and creating more." Brilliantly said.
Lemons & Lavender was and easy read that was extremely comprehensive without being overwhelming. It contained lots of great information about where to seek more detail on certain topics like freeganism or guerilla gardening. (Don't worry, not everything she covers is so extreme.)
Actually, I found that she gave rather practical insight on how to make small changes in order to make a broader impact on your family and the community at large.
Ms. Sharp gave a great overview of the main aspects of living a less consumer-based lifestyle like cleaning, cooking, entertaining, purchasing, etc.
I love reading books like this one because I always learn something new and I am always interested to see how a frugal living/eco-friendly/think outside the box type book begins. I think they should all have a similar introduction and that is to change the reader's mindset. To ask the reader to create a new normal on which to build the principles laid out further in the book - Ms. Sharp did just that.
At the very least, after reading this book you may be sympathetic to those people who have to live simply; it humbles me that I have options available but am able to choose to live the way we do.
What does this have to do with giving? I'll tell you. When you choose to live a simpler life:
- You are giving your family a physically healthier environment in which to live by choosing fewer processed foods and cleaners and by being more physically active.
- You are giving your family a mentally healthier environment by enabling creativity, lessening stress, and building community.
- You are giving your family a spiritually healthier environment by fostering a sense of contentment, gratitude, and purpose.
Giving simplicity a try works for me.
* I was sent a copy of the book to review, all opinions and love for my country and the life in which I lead are my own.