Important Programming Note: With only two weeks left in our Simple Year, my husband surprised me over the weekend and sent me this guest post. There are many people out there that have mentioned they would like to try some version of our project but they didn’t feel like their spouse would be a willing participant. To those people, I would mention my husband was also skeptical. He seems to have come full circle now.
I am pleased to have another opportunity to write another guest post as the Simple Year winds down. I thought I would share some of my thoughts as I look back at the impressive year we are about to wrap up.
I wrote this post back in November after I had returned from a deployment and shared with all of you readers of this blog that I was “all in” and that we would continue the simple year on a united front. I must admit that I wasn’t exactly sure how easy or difficult this would be given that I actually had to participate fully in this endeavor now that I was back in the mix as far as family purchases go. Well, I can honestly say that it hasn’t been that difficult. In fact, it has been quite refreshing for several reasons. Every time I/we come across something we think we need, one of two things typically happens. We either realize that the item is readily available in some sort of a used capacity or that we really don’t need that item that badly. In other words, we can get by without it.
It has been impressive to me to see how our children have adapted over the year. At first, they are adamantly opposed to the idea, immediately concerned about birthday and Christmas gifts for example. Now, the whole concept is second nature to them. We were in a store recently and one of my daughters and I saw something that we thought would be really cool to have and she said to me, “Daddy, we can’t buy that because of the simple year and we really don’t need it anyway.” I was really impressed that for once, it wasn’t the parent saying “put that down, we’re not buying that.” Instead, the roles were reversed. I simply said, “you’re right, and I am proud of you.”
Another perspective came to me recently as well. And, I believe Kerry touched on this in one of her posts. Our culture/society, use whatever nomenclature you wish, has gotten to the state where we are living from one ‘gift giving’ holiday to the next. I could run through all of them for you, but you know what I mean. We seem to be focused on the material aspects of gifts associated with the holiday and often overlook or forget the reason for the special day. This realization came to me again recently when the day before Easter, when my daughters was worried about the Easter Bunny coming to fill their baskets at the hotel we were staying at, my oldest daughter stopped and said “Daddy, what is the true meaning of Easter again?” I was really glad she asked because it told me that she was at least thinking (just for a brief moment) beyond the material aspects of the special day. So my point being, I believe the Simple Year has had a second order effect on our family, our kids specifically, in helping us to re-cage somewhat and deflect attention away from the material aspects of life and focus more on each other and meaning.
Another observation I have had, is that there appears to be a growing realization that we should all try and simplify to some extent. I have derived this conclusion from many of the comments I have seen in replies to this blog and the increasing number of similar efforts out there. I think people are realizing that there is simply too much stress in life these days, for a multitude of reasons, but simplifying, buying less stuff, and the money saved by not buying new items, seems to be having a positive effect. In this same vein, folks are realizing they simply have way too much stuff, which includes things they don’t really need. Case in point, our family has had the bulk of our household goods (15,000 lbs worth) in storage for over a year now, and we haven’t really missed most of those items.
Finally, I will conclude similar to the way I did last time. I wish to commend my wife for all her efforts with this BLOG and the overall Simple Year project. She has managed to stick to this effort and write at least three posts a week, all while functioning as a single parent and working a 20+ hour a week job for the last twelve months. She is always on the lookout for content for her blog and I can’t tell you how many times we would be driving or walking along and she would tell me to stop, turn around, we need to go back and get a picture of that. She is an amazing young lady and I look forward to our next great adventure.