I remember some time ago when the children were small, sitting and watching TV and wondering "Is this all there is to life?" I didn't care for the notion and got a job shortly after.
Some years later--after Ken'ts motorcycle accident--I remember thinking "I completely understand midlife crises--it really never gets any better..." I started making lampwork beads about that time.
January of 2011 I rather unwillingly participated in a Financial Peace workshop. "We're already doing all this stuff! We just need to make more money!!!" That was only partially true.
My summer vacation is about to begin and I always go into the season with a good deal of trepidation because I work for a small non-profit pre-school and we do not make any money at all during the summer. This year is no exception. I've been looking for other employment, but I suffer from a couple of maladies. First, I really like to stay home and garden, cook, put food away for the winter and spend extra time on my glass. Second, while I do need employment to keep on top of our financial obligations, I don't need to work that much and I worry that someone else may need the job more than I do...That must be very true because I haven't managed to find another job yet.
Then there is the fact that I have never been very motivated by money. Oh, sure, I like to spend it as much as the next person, but I usually want to spend it on plants, flowers, music, or art supplies...oh, and let's not forget books. Lately, I've been looking at things and deciding how much I need to work to be able to pay off all the debts. At that point it wouldn't matter if I worked or not...And if I didn't have to work, I could then decide if I really wanted to milk a cow every day or if I would prefer to get my milk from the store...or I could be vegan by then.
Recently, I checked a book out of the library about tiny houses--the largest being about 500 square feet. I can't tell you the title right now, or the author's name, because the book is somewhere else as I type this. Anyway, I'm looking through this amazing book and all of the houses are fabulous. I like some of them more than others and I started wondering why this was. (The ones I like the most were clean, minimalist and uncluttered.) Then I thought about the few times we had gone camping and the camper was this tiny space that we didn't spend much time cleaning and had lots of time for other things. From there my thoughts went to the three months when we were all (five of us) living in a small space about the size of a dorm room. Other than trying to get the remodelling of our new home finished there wasn't a lot of housework necessary. Most of our possessions had been packed away and I had very little to do in the way of housework. I can't say that washing dishes in a pan on the bathroom floor was very thrilling, but for the most part, having few cleaning responsibilities was very freeing.
I will probably never live in a house that small, but I CAN take those same ideas and apply them to my current home. So I am down-sizing my possessions...If I have more than I use at one time, I'm giving away the extras. If it's something that hasn't been used in the past year, or so, it probably will never be used and away it goes. And lots of junk is destined for the garbage. So far, I have one cabinet completely cleaned out...I am becoming very impatient to move all my glass stuff out of my bedroom and into my new studio, so I can have a spacious, uncluttered bedroom.
I have two books in particular that I read when I need a lift or a reminder of the fact that my life really isn't so bad. I love Surviving the Applewhite's by Stephanie S. Tolan and Thale's Folly by Dorothy Gilman. Both speak about finding what gives you joy, what your passion might be, and how to be grateful for what you already possess. Monday I bought a copy of the book Life is a Verb. The astonishing coincidence--to me--is that the very first chapters talk about stuff (I am already getting rid of stuff) and how it owns us and discovering what gives us joy (I am already concentrating not only on what gives me joy, but also peace and serenity). I haven't read any further than that yet, but I highly recommend this book. I am still marvelling at the truth of the statement "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"...