Living Values

Minimalism, simplicity, green-living, frugality, self-care...all mix and meander together in a beautiful harmonious mishmash but at other times conflict stridently.

Nothing like spring or Easter, and having lived through the recent death of a significant loved one, to get a person philosophizing.

What is our greatest yearning in life? Isn't it a longing for connection, a longing to be authentic to who we are called to be.

Faith has always played an understated role in my life, a bedrock for the values I prioritize in my life. I have always connected spirituality with living simply, with living as lightly on earth as I can. No, I've not  always been successful. But, I've tried.

As a young adult, I volunteered and shopped in the local Food Coop. I wanted to make a difference, to place my money where my values were.

As a single parent, I adopted a frugal lifestyle based on the books, Your Money or Your Life and The Tightwad Gazette. Very 1990s. At that time, I pastored a small church in a small village (no clothing stores, eventually no grocery store) during that time and I drove 30 minutes to get to the nearest town with a hospital. I did not shop often and when I did, I was usually in a rush. So I did not buy into the consumer culture that accumulating things would make me happy. 

But living frugally and living greenly did not always go hand-in-hand. Purchasing frugally meant buying the cheapest, usually a box store. Living greenly or sustainably meant purchasing for long-lasting quality. Expensive. No easy answers in my desire to let my money show my values. My lifestyle values required me to think and decide and live with the consequences. 

Today, the language has shifted yet again. Bloggers speak of living a minimal lifestyle such as No Sidebar and Project 333

As millennialists move from a culture of accumulating fine and beautiful THINGS into a culture of acquiring fine and beautiful EXPERIENCES, I get caught between my parents' "but we have these objects to pass on that tell our history" and my children's "no, we don't want or need anymore stuff."  History is important but not necessarily by owning and acquiring artifacts. 

What do you value? And, perhaps more importantly, are you able to earn enough money that you can support the values you have that you'd like to see continued into the next generation? 

As a new homeowner who is single and works part-time, I make choices. Getting the basics of my household in order (why are there so many water issues with this house?) is  more of a priority than having stylish clothing or more jewelry. Being a writer is more important than having a full-time job (hm....but it would be nice to not live quite so close to the edge.)

Today? The sun is shining. My daffodils are blooming. And there is yard work to be done which I am quite happy to do. Today.