This week has left me feeling a bit conflicted, confused and at times a little down. I suppose I should throw in frustrated too. Thats ok though, I have decided that all of this that is happening right now serves a greater purpose and I just have to be patient and see what that ends up being. In the meantime I have been left to ponder on things in my life that I feel maybe need some defining and even a direction change.
With hubby's job situation being up in the air right now, we have been forced to look at other possible futures for ourselves other than the one we have always envisioned. We have been busy redefining what we feel we need to be happy and what are finding is that while we currently do live a fairly simple life, things could be a lot simpler and as a result a whole lot happier.
Some things we realized could be a lot a simpler are.....
Hubby's job-While he does enjoy his job it is very stressful. He is literally on call 24/7 365 days a year. Also he has mentioned several times how he really misses being out in the field rather than in the office all day.
Our House- We have a lovely home that we are very grateful but with it comes a lot of lovely upkeep and maintenance that requires quiet a bit of time and money. As we aspire to live more simply all the time we are beginning to realize we don't need the amount of space we currently have, what we need is to get rid of the useless stuff we have that necessitates having a home this size. The home's layout is another issue, as a split level it can be a bit confusing. I prefer having everyone on the same level and right now we are so scattered about it really gets to me. When the baby arrives I would greatly prefer to have a much simpler layout as well.
Our Stuff- We have a lot of stuff! Compared to most families we do own much less than the norm but it still feels to us like we are drowning in what we do have. It takes a lot of precious time managing everything and taking care of it all, the saying is true, you don't own your things your things own you!
Our Time- This kind of falls under the above mentioned items but we spend a lot of time maintaining the house and items we own and hubby spends a lot of time at his job so he can pay for it all. We would love to have more time for hobbies, spending time with each other and helping out in the community.
Our Relationships- This is a tricky one. Locally we have very few "relationships" so technically it would seem that it is as simple as it could get. The issues however lies with our relationships outside our local setting which is about 98% of our relationships. Our entire family and most of our friends live in our home state which is nearly 2,000 miles away. We miss them all dearly and maintaining that closeness is becoming very difficult. I have a niece that will soon be a year old that I have never met and it truly tears me up inside. To visit family is a huge undertaking! We have to plan for a major road trip which involves getting funds together as well as finding time off to make the trip. The packing is a pain and the hurried shuffling to make sure we get to visit with everyone while there is a nightmare and leaves us with a feeling of inadequacy every time. Also, because all of our friends and family are so far away there is nobody here for support when we need it. There have been many situations come up where we need someone to watch a child quickly for a few hours because of an emergency we need to handle and there is nobody. If we need someone to give us a helping hand for whatever reason there is no one. Its very stressful to go at it alone.
After looking at the list we decided what we should do is find hubby a less stressful job that is closer to family, get rid of stuff so we can live in a smaller simpler home and pay off debts so we can afford to live with a lower paying job. Of course with a lower paying job we would have to live in a smaller home anyway so its a good thing we decided a simpler home would be best! lol
This seems simple but it is proving to be anything but. All the jobs leads we have had thus far have not produced any fruits. This whole time it seems we have struggled to move up and now we are struggling to move down. How can this be?
We know we can be happier with less income living a simpler life but what bothers me is that the less money we have the less we can give to others. Donating money to those in need has always been a huge driving force behind our living frugally. If hubby takes a less paying job, how will we do this? Then last night it kind of just came to me. Money isn't the only way we can help others. If we have an even simpler lifestyle than we do currently, we will have more time to give to others and time can be just as helpful as money. As it turns out the only thing we can give now is money because our time is completely taken up with other things.
Another issue that bothers me is that I hate getting rid of things I think I will use later. I mean reusing what I have has been the cornerstone of my frugal ways for years. If I need a gift in a pinch I raid my craft storage boxes for supplies to make something, if someone outgrows a piece of clothing I hit my fabric drawers to make a new piece or mend an old piece. With school age children at home we go through lots of school supplies and again I have huge stockpile of school items I got on sale that we can pull through. How can I live simply and frugally without my stockpiles of raw materials and items that make doing so so much easier? Where would I put it all in a smaller home? My husband does all our repairs and building himself, he has to have tools and place to store them right? How can this fit into getting rid of stuff of living in a smaller space? In my head everything is conflicting with everything else it seems. :-(
What I do know is that I don't want my husband to work such crazy hours at a stressful job all the time. I want our family to have more time for each other, our hobbies and working with the community helping others. I want to not have to spend hours and hours a week taking care of material stuff and maintenance on a big house and yard. I want my children to be able to grow up knowing their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins by being able to have them apart of their daily lives. I want to be able to visit my family without it taking half a year to prepare and gather funds. I want to be able to pay for our needs and have stability and be at peace with the rest. I want to be able to breathe, and laugh and just be, one moment at a time.
I am not sure how I will accomplish these things when so many other issues seem stacked up against it, when I am struggling to identify what simple living is for our family. All I know is I have to take one small step at a time a day and see where the path leads and be ok with whatever surprises may lay around the bend. Perhaps living simply isn't even about the physical world and situations, perhaps it as simple as being a state of mind instead. I hope to find out.