Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Balancing enough

I spend a great deal of time thinking about how much is really necessary in life.  Obviously we need some things, but how much do we really need and where do we draw the line between wants and needs?  I think I spend so much of my time reflecting on this because we are still in the throws of adjusting to a "less is more" life.  It's a beautiful life, it really is - one that is so full of love, and peace, and beauty, that I feel with the deepest fibers of my being I will look back on these years as some of the greatest years of our life and marriage.  And 99% of the time I don't miss any of the things we've "left behind" or done without.

But then, it will hit me how much I miss a certain part of our old house (ahem, the playroom and backyard in particular).  Or over the holidays I saw all the things we are storing in hubby's grandparents' basement - our dining room furniture, our china, and Töchterchen's eventual bedroom furniture - and for the first time since storing them there 6+ months ago, I missed them.  I had started to assume at the end of these grad school years we would realize we haven't missed any of those items at all, and we would pass them onto others.  But the truth is, not a single item in that basement cost us a penny, they are all family treasures, and I do have a desire to have a house large enough to house those beautiful treasures.  So, just when I start to think we are becoming less materialistic, I find myself loving all our stuff that much more.  And I suppose there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it's just that I wasn't expecting it.

Yes, as time passes our dream home has become smaller and more realistic.  Maybe our dream piece of land hasn't - that keeps growing - but the house has gone from being a large five bedroom farmhouse to something much more basic.  I was once in a mental state of finding myself embarrassed and dissatisfied by our previous house.  Now I spend most of my days feeling extremely fortunate to live in a small, affordable apartment half that size with outdoor space, awesome neighbors, an ideal location, and natural climate control (Yay! for basement dwellings!).  But I'm human and certain things will strike me at the wrong moments and I find myself dreaming of the day we will be able to move out of here and into that dream farmhouse, filled with natural light and fireplaces, complete with drafty windows and constant needs for repair. 

And so I keep coming back to thinking about how much is really necessary and how much is just wanting above our needs?  And how much dreaming is good and how much is coveting that which does not (yet?) exist.  And ultimately how much do we really need?  Our needs are rather basic and universal, it's our wants that are must more extensive and varied.  Maybe this is a struggle we all feel - feeling content (or trying to find contentment) with what we have and also dreaming for something more.  And maybe the struggle isn't wrong.  It's how we handle it that can be so wrong - do we spend our energy focusing on the good and plentiful of what we do have or do we spend it desiring for more and the future. 

For myself, I at least know I don't want to spend so much time longing for the next step of our life that I fail to pause and admire the peaceful joy filling our current days.

So, for now, I am doing my best to focus my energy on appreciating the blessings of life - taking time each day to pause and savor this brief moment in life long enough to realize all our needs are being met, and so much more.