Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lessons From The Move; Part 4

How much do we really need?

I have asked myself this question before.

I know people who live on very small pay checks. They struggle from month to month but still manage to provide for their families. They live in cramped little houses or apartments but still find room for everyone and everything they need.

I been inside some of the homes my fore bearers lived in. They raised large families in those small spaces.

Sometimes I am envious of those simpler days. My parents had few toys when they were children. They both have many stories of their antics and adventures growing up. They seemed to have quite a bit of fun without rooms full of toys. They still cherish the few toys they did receive.

My kids have so many toys they don't know what to do with them all.

During the few months we were moving, we could fit everything we had with us in the back of a pick-up truck. We had just a few outfits each. I went to the laundromat every 3 days at the most. We had backpacks filled with toys, coloring books, crayons, school supplies, and books. We had a footlocker with plates, bowls, utensils, and just enough pots and pans to make basic meals.  We had pillows, blankets, and sleeping bags. I had a small bag filled with medications and band aids. My husband brought his laptop. All the things we needed for our basic needs plus some extras.

Of course, there were things we had to do without.

Privacy, for example.

And comfy beds. Even when we were staying with my parents we were sharing two bed rooms. The kids managed to pop the seams on 2 air mattresses so they ended up sleeping on the floor for a few weeks. While we were in a hotel they had to take turns sleeping on the floor or the sofa bed.

When the movers finally delivered all of our stuff we were overwhelmed.

There was plenty that we really did need. Like winter clothes. A printer. Some documents that we didn't hand-carry.  Our piano.

I didn't realize we had so many socks!

Do we really need that many shoes?

I am still trying to make all the books and toys fit.

I have already gotten rid of a large box and a garbage bag full of clothes.

This experience has made me look long and hard at our choices. The things of the world can be so enticing. I have never considered myself a "worldly" or "materialistic" person. I think most people today would agree with that. (We only have one TV and no smartphones!)That doesn't excuse that fact that we sometimes buy things we could do without.

There were times this summer when things got tight financially. In those moments, I regretted all those little things I bought that we didn't really need. A DVD here, a little fast food there. All those little splurges add up. In our time of true need we could have really used that cash. Those moments of pleasure and fun were gone and meaningless.

We all have to reach our own conclusions about what is a need and what is a want. We certainly should be able to enjoy life from time to time. You can't put a price on memories, right?

We should also be conservative.

I learned that my kids really don't need more clothes or toys. I don't need more craft supplies (that I rarely make the time to use!).

Right now our needs are simple. We need friendship. We need security. We need rest from our trial. We need time to settle into our new home.

Oh, yeah. And we need curtains.

Other than that, we're good.

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