Living this simple life is quite different to how I imagined it would be. When we first changed our spending habits, stopped buying stuff and began to conserve rather than consume, I believed we would live a quiet and thrifty life punctuated by the sound of us saying no to whatever cropped up. Surpise! That hasn't happened. What has happened is that we have more friends now than we have ever had, we do more, are more involved with our community and our lives have opened up and blossomed. We smile a lot more. We are happy. I think that happiness comes from letting go of expectations of what we might possess and being open instead to what we can give.
On a day to day basis, we are working more now than we ever have, but the work is satisfying and enriching. Our daily work is directly related to what we need rather than what we want. When I worked for money I had to deal with people I'd rather not talk to, I had to work according to the clock and someone else's idea of a fair day's work, and the work was irrelevant to me, apart from helping me earn a living. We are working for our lives now rather than working for a living. What we do now consumes about the same amount of time, but we never have to put up with people we dislike, we have frequent breaks and complete days off when we want them. We reap a full measure from what we put into our days.
I was wrong to believe that voluntarily living on less money might result in a miserable or quiet or meagre life. Not buying books and magazine has lead me to our local library - a definite bonus resulting in more books, magazines and DVDs than I could ever go through. Doing voluntary work has fed my soul and led me to a fine group of like minded people with whom I now share my life. Giving up recreational shopping has not only given me more time, it has given me my life back; a life that I have fashioned to suit myself rather than the advertising industry and merchandise. Instead of dreading going to work, we cultivate soil, clean floors, built fences, cook, bake and sew, and feel thankful for the opportunity to do it.. This feels right.
You have to have the right mindset to live as we do but getting into it was really easy for me. I think I was ready for it, or overdue. One week I was out spending and feeling miserable, the following week I was working on building a life that didn't include shopping at all but gave me the freedom to pick the elements that would work for us, and leave the rest. I felt like I'd discovered the key to a new and wonderful world. And I had. There are many things that have changed as we've moved through the years of simple living but one thing I still feel is that feeling of control of my own life and a crazy exhilaration knowing that the world is mine.