Saturday, February 7, 2009

An Ode to the Young Spirit in Me

I have been spending a great deal of time researching simple living, lately.  This is because I am supposed to be getting ready for a big trip this week, and I am procrastinating as usual.  I have so much to do to be well-prepared, mindful and organized, and I'd just rather read blogs and great books.

But some of what I'm reading really has me thinking.  Actually, thinking and feeling.  Many of the people I have met online who are working toward financial independence and living more full lives are quite young and spirited.  I have met so many 20-30 somethings who have young children (or none), are just starting out in their careers, just moving away from home, or just reaching out into the world.  I am refreshed by what they have to say about living simply, as young folk often have a better perspective on things than those of us who have been around a bit longer and may be more stuck in our principles.  I love reading about how these people are saying 'no' to the credit companies, and are waiting to buy their first house with a bigger down payment, rather than sign their life away on the scary dotted line.  I really feel inspired by men and women who outwardly care about where their food comes from, and actually want to work to get it.   They are the individuals who travel all over the world because there are places to be seen.  Work takes a back seat to living, and people are finding new ways to live freely without having to rely on long work hours to get by.  The big-box stores are less important and popular, and thrift stores are hip.

I love all this fresh inspiration, yet I can't help feeling that I missed the boat.  I am now 43.  When I was 20-30 something, I was busy getting an education and focusing on getting married.  I was less concerned about what was going on in the world, yet perseverated about my place within it.  I was terribly conscious of how I could 'keep up with the Joneses' in my own way - buying things on credit I could never really afford, paying for meals for my friends so they would have a good time, not thinking twice about how we could afford our drastically-high-priced Manhattan 'hole in the wall' apartment just around the corner from work.  I was not in the least concerned with making my dollar go farther.  I couldn't care less if my clothes were made in China.  I wanted new new new, not old and used.  

And yet, I can't go back and do it again, no matter how hard I try.  But I can learn some new tricks.  Though I feel as if so many of my habits are irreversible, I know there are tools out there to teach me to do things differently.  I may not have the ability to travel all around the world on a shoestring but I do have a family at home who needs me to be present every day.   And because those wonderful people are counting on me, I will combine my years of growth as an adult and my kid-like passion for learning something new, and mold a new me; more present, more mindful and more spirited.  I am so grateful for the journey.

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