One of the things I’ve been working toward is leaving this sense of lack I seem to have. The clearing I’m doing in our home is a piece of that. There’s this odd sense of anxiety that was once very prominent in me, and slowly, with time, is becoming almost non-existent. The anxiety is completely lack related: we don’t have enough of this or nice enough of that. Our home isn’t fancy enough. Our clothes aren’t nice enough. Our car isn’t expensive enough. On and on the list once went. I have come to the place with many things of being good with what we have. No, we don’t have a new or big or fancy car. We have a little eleven year old honda civic, that is often dirty both inside and out. Our little car gets us from point A to point B. She’s a good car. She’s what our family needs. More importantly, she’s what our family WANTS. She fits us as we fit her. This is true of many of our things: they may not be the biggest/best/fanciest, but they fit us, as we fit them.
On the road to unschooling I’ve had my share of bumps. I recently started hyperventilating a bit because my daughter is turning five this spring. You know, kindergarten age. And I see friends, both near and far, struggle with figuring out all the schooling options out there for kindergarten. Because, as society tells us, if we don’t get our kids into the right kindergarten we are dooming them for a life of homelessness and or a career at McDonald’s. Hell, if we didn’t get them into the right preschool, that is what we have set them up for.
That’s the thing. Why, would a decision made when a child is FIVE YEARS OLD ruin opportunities for them more than a decade down the road? Opportunities, mind you, that we cannot even begin to fathom because of the rapid pace technology and science are moving at.
It’s because of this sense of lack. Because living in the here and now isn’t good enough. Because enjoying THIS moment isn’t okay, we have to worry about moments that are so far in the future we can’t even imagine what they will be like. Because a simple life isn’t good enough, a happy, joyful life isn’t good enough. We have to keep striving for more, more, more, better, better, better instead of accepting and loving who and where we are.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t change things about ourselves or life if we are unhappy with that thing. I’m saying we should examine WHY we are unhappy with that thing. Having a better this or bigger that won’t really bring happiness. There will always be someone with something bigger, something better. And that’s okay. Really, it is. We all don’t have to be the best or have the best of everything. The only thing we have to be best at, is being true to our selves and our souls.
To me, that means to go from a sense of lack to a sense of abundance. It’s looking at all we have and going “Holy crap! I have it all! A great spouse! An awesome kid! A roof over our head (and a pretty nice one at that!), clothes on our bodies (clean and good clothes at that!) and food in our stomachs (pretty darn yummy food if I do say so).”
I say this now when I look at my life. When our family is earning approximately $125k LESS annually than we did two years ago. When we do most of our shopping at thrift stores instead of department stores. When I am in the midst of getting rid of things, nice things, expensive things, because they just don’t have a place of joy in our life. On paper our family has much, much MUCH less than we ever have. And yet, we are the happiest and most joyful we have ever been.
I love the path we are on now. I didn’t love the path we were on two years ago. Now I feel like we can all breathe. Of course there are “bad” moments, even “bad” days and weeks. And yet those aren’t nearly as horrible as every single day of our life was before. We can take life one day at a time. We can enjoy each other. We can enjoy our friends. We can enjoy our home and all it holds.
I still have my moments of anxiety. I still worry when my husband takes a sick day how that’s going to affect our vacation plans in two months or his paycheck in two weeks. I still worry, though less and less, what others will think of us when we go out in the world. I worry about getting a job in the next few months and what my practicum in over a year will be. I think about the future and I worry about it too. But not as obsessively as I once did. I’m going towards a future where I can think about the future without worrying about it. Looking at all the options I can imagine, making a plan and if it doesn’t go that way, no big deal.
Recently I spend most of the day with a bunch of the local unschoolers. One of the families was hosting at their home and it was lovely. Honestly, it was a life changing kind of day. Not because of any specific conversation I was a part of or overheard. It was just the energy. It was the energy of abundance. There was an abundance of joy and love in the atmosphere. It was peace. It was boisterous. It was community. Even though some of us barely knew each other or had just met that day for the first time, it was our community and it felt safe. I was in heaven.
What I loved most about the day, and there is a list of a million things I loved about that day, was watching other mamas interact with their kids. Interact in loving, calm, peaceful and joyful ways. Giving and giving, knowing they were never going to run out. Honestly it helped shift me a LOT in the direction I want to shift with my own parenting with my girl. It gave me a sense of peace about her and our relationship I haven’t had in a while and for almost a week following my girl and I were totally in sync. This was because I had stepped up, not because of any change in her. I stepped into peace and loving and knowing that I can give to her and she won’t tap me out.
I need that interaction on a regular basis right now. I need to feel my own cup filled, in both direct and indirect ways so I can be overflowing with my child. I recognize this about our life right now. We need to step away from the things in our life that are zapping, that take our energy instead of give to it, that no longer bring us joy. Opening up space for new things.
Change can be hard. That is, if we look at change from a perspective of lack, of fearing the unknown, of grasping on to everything we have because to let it go seems too painful.
Change can be joyful. If we look at from a perspective of abundance, of opening our lives to new sources of joy and peace.
Here’s to joyful change for all of us.
(Related to the idea of joyful change, I’m working on a new name for this blog. The current name is too long. Too verbose [like me ;]. I’ll probably change it in the next few days… just so you know 😉