One Year + 14 Days
Today’s guest post is from an Australian family that are ALSO spending a year buying nothing new. Like their fairy tale counterparts of Goldilocks fame, they go by the monikers Big Poppa, Mama and Little Fearse, like a rap band for the toddler set. Both Poppa and Mama contribute to their blog, The Fearse Family in which they document their challenges from the southern hemisphere. (which are remarkably similar to ours in the north)
Changing Perspective and a Few of Our Favorite Things
You’d think the definition for living a simple life would be, well, simple. The more we look into it the more we have found simplicity to be a deceptively individual thing. This year our little family chose to buy nothing new (which we annoyingly refer to as BNN). When we made the decision initially it seemed to make good financial and ecological sense and sounded like a fun challenge. We’re less than half way through our BNN year and already the shifts in our thinking and our life style have startled us. This is a deep and valuable shift that goes beyond improving our finances or our ecological impact.
“Conservative estimates say that we view, on average, 247 advertisements a day. If you added to that branding, junk mail and packaging it could get as high as 20, 000 advertisements a day. What happens when a large percentage of that advertising becomes irrelevant? Well, we’ve noticed that we have oodles more than usual to talk about lately. It’s like our minds are being cleared of junk, just as our home is. We’ve taken time to ponder the quality and ethical nature of the food we’re consuming.
Both of us have had minor and major mental revelations regarding our own consumer tendencies – I am gradually weaning myself off book buying, while Big Poppa agrees that he might have a minor shoe addiction (but has also discovered that free shoes will come to those who no longer buy them…) We are amazed at how much easier it is to focus on the smaller details or bigger ideas in life when advertising is no longer relevant.
Through simplifying our lives we have discovered the productivity is sometimes necessary and often feels good, but will leave us with a major void if we focus on the activity over the actual product. We are no longer busy for the sake of busy-ness. This has been, particularly, an issue for me. There are always a million tasks to do in a day – even if a person were to complete those million tasks, there are always more things that need doing. We have accepted that we cannot do everything.”
Big Poppa muses:
“Prioritising what is actually important is a skill that has come to us this year. Being together and enjoying experiences and time as a family comes before most anything else, I feel like we try and put Little Fearse first with almost anything we do and it never really feels like it’s been done at the expense of us or our needs. Having routines in place is great, but some of the best days/nights have come from breaking that routine and doing what the moment dictates. I feel like we have found spontaneity in prioritisation, as strange as that may sound.
We have masses of things. Things we love, things we need and a lot of thing we probably don’t need too. We have never been the type of family that constantly wants for things and more over we have never had that “keeping up with the Jones’s” attitude that many people have. We really do live a simple life and are pleased by simple things. Blowing bubble from the shampoo bottle is a favourite of mine and Lil Fearse’s and Mama Fearse is an expert at repurposing and giving old things new life. We’ll take a finger painting from a nephew over a whizz bang contraption all day every day.
We live at floor level a lot in our house. Being on the floor with Lil Fearse really rekindles the perspective of a child for me and being able to share in her wonderment and discoveries is endlessly rewarding. People often view becoming a parent as a very “Grown Up” thing to do, but I really feel it is almost the greatest excuse to relive your early childhood side by side with someone who’s experiencing theirs.”
The books are being read. Naps are being had. We laugh together, all three of us, every day.
Life is slower now.