Choosing an alternative path is difficult, especially when we feel we must give up more than we gain. Choosing to live more simply seems difficult at first but in the end, you receive much more than you ever dreamed possible.
There is a lot of talk about living a simplified life. Whether we are choosing a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity or trying to do the best with what we have been given, much of the talk centers around what we have to give up. I’d like to look at it another way. What is it that we gain by adopting a simpler way of life? What have we lost by trying to keep up with the rest of the world? And does our bank account fairly reflect the time and effort we have been putting into it?
Hard work is the American way. Yet the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Our workload has continued to increase while our quality of life- Health, relationships, community, spirituality – has continued to decrease. When you look at what you are giving up to continue working as you do, ask yourself if you are being fairly compensated.
Obviously we can’t just quit our jobs and hang out, expecting someone to take care of us. But we can search for ways to be careful stewards of our time. We can research job opportunities closer to home. We can look into the possibility of cutting expenses in order to shave a few hours off our work week. With these hours, we can do something that feeds our soul. We can use that time to build relationships and community. We could work in a way that allows us to live.
Becoming more conscious of our time naturally leads us to become more conscious about our money – and our views surrounding money. We are a consumer society but we are consuming ourselves. A good (and personally enlightening) exercise is to record every penny spent for at least a week. Do your spending patterns reflect what you really value? This isn’t a tool to beat yourself up with so be gentle with yourself.
Realigning your time and money with your values will give you more opportunities to experience what you truly want in life. You are allowed to sacrifice guilt for joy. You are allowed to choose abundance.