We were in the midst of packing up our house so that the renovations could be finished. As I stood looking at the wardrobe brimming with clothes, it dawned on me how much stuff I had. In this wardrobe hung from my teenage days, including a bubble skirt. There were items that had never seen the light of day for years. I had at least 50 outfits, enough to dress a small army of women, and it became clear that something needed to be done. It felt wasteful when I had so much when others had little, and could be put to good use.
There and then I decided that enough was enough, we had way TOO much and if I couldn’t use it (most of the stuff was in good condition) then perhaps someone could. I was pretty ruthless, and lots of things were donated to charity. Little did I know that I was doing would be the beginning of the journey toward what I now know to be intentional or mindful living.
Intentional living? What is that? According to Wikipedia – It’s any lifestyle based on an individual or group’s conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs.
Our life certainly did not look like that a year ago. But having to pack our house, live out of a suitcase for 3 months and losing up my job all in a short space of time created the opportunity to take stock and really assess what we were doing. Were we living a life that we wanted?
Self examination and reflection opened my eyes. 20 years of corporate life – which in many ways was a career that was more by chance than design, ending up in a job that sucked life out of life. Then having a child thrown in the mix, added another dimension for busy living. Life for us was on the treadmill, we were jaded, and we were just doing things because it was easy to keep the status quo. No complications, but no purpose really, rather just to get through the day.
But living through the day really didn’t get us anywhere, nor did we like the tired people we had become. The changes we faced were a great catalyst to stopping all that, allowing us to rethink our life and purpose. A further catalyst was the discovery of the Art of Simple blog (formerly SimpleMom.net), my awareness of intentional living was heightened and so our journey began in earnest.
Our family life today is different from a year ago, I have learnt that intentional living requires us making deliberate and considered choices. Some choices are easier than others. Some require more time and labour.
We eat well and not a whole lot of processed food. As much as possible, we buy fresh food and cook from scratch, sure there is a box of frozen fish fingers in the freezer, but that is ok. We try to buy fruit and vege that is in season which allows us to indulge on the sometimes foods like Magnum ice creams.
We’ve planted a veggie patch and just about to harvest some cherry tomatoes. How good it is to see the fruits of my labour! We did have a few false starts when first the bugs took to a liking to the seedling ; then the possums took a liking to the young fruit, but that problem has been resolved, so tomorrow I shall be picking the plump red cherry tomatoes off the vine!
We’ve invested time together as a family, taking time out for walks to the park; going away for the weekend to explore the bush, setting our eyes on incredible vistas when the mists clears. Family meal times together have been more frequent.
I made a decision to retrain for work, so that I can spend more time with my boy . I start school in the coming weeks studying something I’ve always wanted to do for the longest time. The pay will be significantly smaller(when I actually get work)to what I am use to, but it affords me time with the boy whilst he is still young .
There have been other benefits too, like being to be engaged in things that we see as valuable, things like allowing me to serve our church more. I have helped out in the church kitchen during a children’s workshop and also paint the crèche room. I’ve been able to invest in relationships and encourage others. I have had the time to offer a listening ear to when a friend has needed it.
Tsh Oxenreider founder of Art of Simple speaks of intentional living as “ It’s a risky ride, but it’s worth it—living your life according to who you really are simply takes a little intention. It’s never too late.”
Life really is too short just go with the flow because it is easier. Choosing to live life intentionally honours our humanity to make choices, and for me doing so has bought more joy into our home in the last year than I could have ever imagine, and for that I am thankful!
This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m excited to be part of. You can learn more and join us, head here.
Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.