Wednesday, March 31, 2010

toilet paper - a metaphor for life?

i sat down to use the bathroom this morning, as does every good person on this planet - so get your head out of the gutter! ;-) but as i went to grab the toilet paper, i noticed that there was hardly any left on the roll. Normally i like to use a nice amount - not over doing it, but a nice amount. i remembered that this was close to the same amount that was on it last night and how i only grabbed a tiny amount to use. i also only used a tiny amount this morning because i knew it was the last roll in our bathroom - something i noticed last night too!

but it got me thinking about how in life when we have an abundance of something, we use it like it will never end - but when we have very little of something, we are careful and use only what we truly need.

when we lived in the mid-west, my husband had a good job making lots of money. We spent lots of money on material things. for example in the 10 years we lived in our home, we owned no less than 4 sets of couches. We purchased them somewhat "cheap" and when we didn't want them anymore, we donated them to charity and purchased new ones. We took our money for granted. Currently we live in California, my husband is unemployed and i am working for penny's by writing. We purchased a very cheap IKEA love seat when we moved out here, it is horrible! We have made due with this couch, and will keep making it work for longer than we would have in the past.

The same goes for food. We use to spend $200 a week on groceries. You saw that right, $200 a WEEK. We had no problem buying a 12 pack of soda for $8.00. heck, if hubby wanted a soda we would have paid $8 for one can! We did not truly think about our money, because we new it was there - so we used it. Now that we are scrimping and saving every-single-penny (i use to say to the cashier "keep the 'change' i hate change weighing down my purse..." or i would give the coins to a bucket or a person near me - this makes me kind of sad to think how little i cared about our hard earned money!) but we are now saving like crazy to get our old life back. Our grocery budget is $200 a MONTH now. i am quickly learning about just how many meals i can make using Ramen noodles (not the sauce packet though, too much MSG!) and anything else i can find cheap.

It is hard for me to think about going back to a way of life where material objects were owned. We rent movies now instead of purchasing them, although there are a few that we do purchase. We use to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $100-200 a week sometimes on purchasing movies. My Husband was a "collector" of movies. Before we moved, we donated them out to all of our friends. We also only purchase iTunes music to not own the actual CD. i admit to being a "collector" of music, but before we moved i too donated away all of my music collection except for a select few. We use the Library instead of buying books - i had a nasty book habit - and probably more than half of the books purchased were never even read, i just bought a book to buy a book! We buy electronic books if we can to avoid having the actual book just sitting on shelf when we are done.

We down-graded our entire life to make the move out here easier... and as i look around we have kept doing this as we have lived here. We are not perfect, we still purchase things that we feel we need or perhaps we just want; however, instead of material things like movies, music and books, we now purchase things like hiking boots so that we can hike in safety - Or canteen's so when we hike we aren't using plastic water bottles - Or we purchase a basketball to go out and play - Or we purchase produce from the farmers market that is a little more expensive than the regular market, but we know that it means more to us because we get to know the people who grew it and we are contributing back to the local industry. Plus the farmers market is a great way to spend the day having family time. Or we might spend the little extra money that we have each month in buying an all day pass to a hiking park or a museum to give back to the local community. It gives us a sense of family and a sense of community. And both are far better feelings than buyers remorse after you spent your entire weeks paycheck on something frivolous like fancy clothes or a bunch of movies/music/books that will just sit on a shelf. i am truly happy for the lifestyle changes that took place when we made the move to California.

No, it is not a perfect world that we live in - and i would never claim to be perfect. today i am just happy to have taken notice of the little things in life that truly matter to me personally and i am glad that i am able to share it with the world via this blog.

Monday, March 22, 2010

you like what?

today i am making a pledge to myself to never again be a follow-groupie!

follow-groupie /n/ : a person who goes along with someone else to like/dislike a person, product, or thing because they think it will hold more value to them as a person. example 1: Jennifer Garner drinks Green tea, and even though i hate tea i drink it too because she likes it - if someone like her likes tea, then i must too. example 2: Uh! i hate Green tea because Jennifer Garner drinks it - i can't stand Jennifer Garner, so i must hate the things that she likes.

i tend to place my like/dislike on things to please other people. From now on i plan to say how i feel (in a nice way) and hold to my convictions of what i like/dislike... because if we all liked the same things in life - that would be a very boring place to live!