Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Current thoughts and opinions, in no particular order...

A lot on my mind tonight. I'm in a particularly opinionated mood (very unusual) which has caused me to reflect and evaluate how I feel about the way my life has turned out so far. This is a total stream of consciousness bit of writing and I make no effort to make it cohesive or fluid.

My life is not glamorous. I live in an 800 square foot house, with the original 400 sqft house built in 1914, moved to its current location in 1937, and added onto in the 1950's to incorporate indoor plumbing. I don't have a lot of pretty things. My house is often messy and there's no real sense of style, just a hodge-podge of furniture collected over the years. My hubby and I both drive cars that are over 20 years old and there's a big puddle of oil out front where my car is parked. I enjoy having Dan gone for the sole reason that I get to sleep on the hump in the middle of our bed where the mattress is firm and not all squishy from years of laying in the same spot. We don't own a television. My computer is over 7 years old and as much as I want a new one, I'm tickled with my recent upgrade in hard drive. My newest camera lens is 5 years old and my oldest one is 15 years old. I want new lenses so bad sometimes I think I'll burst, but I haven't yet and I likely never will. Burst, that is.

I am happy.

It's taken several years, but I have learned that having "stuff" is SO not worth the anxiety caused by living beyond your means.

Honestly, I love how simple my life is. I love that I don't live in the city where I have the option to run to Walmart or Target almost daily to grab one or two things. I like that I'm forced to plan my shopping and that I spend more time at home and less time running errands. I love that I have a garden. I love walking out my front door and picking food that I grew all by myself and feeding it to my children.

I love that I live a traditional family lifestyle where the man goes to work and provides for the family's temporal needs and the woman stays home to try to raise honest, kind, and productive little people who will grow to be adults with integrity. I think most of the world is far too consumed with what they think will make themselves happy rather than placing their efforts on the far more important cause of what will make their children secure and happy. I think self-control is one of the most critical character traits one needs to develop to be successful in life. You never really mature until you learn to delay immediate gratification in exchange for something of greater value in the long-term.

I don't want my children to be part of the "entitled" generation that I see all around me. I nag and lecture and spout parenting cliches all day long, but I want my children to be grateful and to learn not to expect anything unless they work for it. I want to raise my kids the way my grandparents did. Hard work, high standards, but with lots of hugs and love. I want to be able to review my life in 50 years and know that I did something good and worthwhile because it will show in the kind of people my children and grandchildren have become.

I'm full of faults, but in general I'm satisfied with the person I have become. I am annoying and nosy and find it very difficult not to express my opinion, but I am also deeply passionate and compassionate, and I have faith in people's ability to rise and change and improve. Nothing about us has to be permanent. We can always improve our circumstances, even if it is only by adjusting our attitude. I get frustrated watching people make choices that I wouldn't make. I've been trying to be better about keeping my mouth shut because I don't want to come across as if I think I'm superior. I've just learned to be patient, ever patient in choosing my path and I want other people to reap the rewards of this careful and deliberate kind of living.

Easy never turns out to be easy, really. Anything of value in this life requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. So many people do what is easy at the time, but end up paying the price later. Just do the difficult thing, make the difficult choice because ultimately it will bring you greater rewards. And just because something is hard, so what? You won't die, you won't shrivel up and melt away into nothingness, you won't permanently break down. You will learn to persist and eventually succeed, and you will feel damn proud of what you accomplished.

Just wanted to say some things out loud. Just put them out there in the universe. To get them out of my brain so I can sleep.

That is all.


Gwen said...

Loved your post ! I really admire you and your little family, and have enjoyed "stalking" your blog for a year or so. I think I grabbed a link to it from Fat Cyclist quite awhile ago. I wish your sister's blog hadn't got private :( I was looking forward to her "journey", as I am on the SAME journey, only I'm about 10-15 years older than her. Keep up the good work !

Sue said...

Gwen, great news: Becky brought her blog back public but just initiated word verification to keep the weirdo commenters away. She has her regular family blog, but also a weight loss blog and she has been a total ROCK STAR on her weight loss journey so far. Her blogs are:

Happy reading and thanks for stalking! :)

Becky in Wyo said...

Yes, Gwen, come back! Go stalk my blogs!!

Sue, I just gotta say, preach on, sister, preach on! If I think of something profound to add here, I will later, but it's 6:30am, and my brain hasn't woken up yet. But you probably said it all, anyway.

Oh, it is so true about the Walmart/Target thing. You can fritter away an obnoxious amount of time every day doing unnecessary errands, that could be combined and more efficient with a little planning. I really, really should do that, so I'm only shopping once a week. As it is, I find an excuse to end up at Walmart almost every day. What a time waster!

Gwen said...

Oh, you guys make me so happy ! I'm going to do a little stalking now !

Thanks !

The Dragonfly said...

Sue, I loved these deep thoughts on a Thursday morning. You are a great example of simplification. Your kids are living more the way we lived as children and I am jealous! Keep it up!

Jill Heaps said...

You are such a wonderful person! You have learned so much from your struggles, wisdom you wouldn't have otherwise... aren't trials wonderful?! Thanks for the reminder to be HAPPY in whatever situation your in. It really is our choice and things do not make us happy... thank you!

Jenn said...

Beautifully written Sue.

Manina said...

I appreciate your post. We struggle a lot with keeping our kids grounded, especially in the area we live. It is a constant battle and our kids often feel deprived, but we frequently remind them how you get the things you want...hard work.

Seth and I often joke that we will move out to Mona and live like we did growing up in the sticks of Alaska. Truth is though, we worked really hard to be where we are and I am not entirely willing to give it all up at this point in my life. But yes, we often go without and refuse to play the "keeping up with the Jones'" game. We worked really hard to be debt free (minus our home) and we intend to keep it that way, no matter how much pressure we feel from people around us.

Thanks for the post and keep up the good work. You guys are great!

Tobi said...

Sue I really admire what you are doing. You have been so honest about getting out of debt and all the steps you have taken to do it. It's really inspired me to get my act together with my finances. I confess to being a proud cash-only-for-all-purchases convert. I didn't realize how being freeing being out from under all our debt would be. So thank you for all the awesome inspiration.

The Queen Vee said...

Such wisdom from one so young, you've come a long way baby from that 14 year old I first you.

Apis Melliflora said...

You are a wise woman. I so enjoy reading your late night pondering. You are a deep well.

Chantol said...

Well said. I agree completely :) BTW - It was great meeting you at the Power of Moms Retreat. Hope you had a great time!