Monday, December 30, 2013

Deprivation vs. contentment and what we have been up to

Winter goes on, and though - thankfully - no new snowstorms are likely to happen soon, it's a very chilly and rainy evening and I'm very thankful for warm sweaters and socks, hot tea, and a roof that doesn't leak. 

While I know that in a large part of the world people are preparing for new year celebrations, here we have nothing out of the ordinary, and just go on with our usual pursuits: housekeeping with its myriad various tasks; learning; arts and crafts; and projects that pop up now and then, such as installing a toilet seat or cleaning up the solar panels. 

Oh, and I found out the lens of our camera is shattered just as I was trying to take a shot of some magnificent snow-capped mountains. So I didn't capture either that or the many narcissuses that are now in bloom around here. Cold seems to do them good.

Something that popped into my mind today was this: there is a vast chasm (though it may be in mindset only) between spending less money and feeling bitter and deprived because of that, and spending less money while feeling content with what you have/what you can afford. The first just makes you cheap. The second makes you thrifty and economically savvy. Pining for what you don't have is slavery; being content with what you have is liberating.

There is a vast difference between saying (with a long face): "oh no! This year, there will be no eating out for us, no vacation, no cell phone upgrade, no new furniture - what misery" and saying (with a cheerful face): "This year, we will be creative. We will try new recipes in our home, invite friends over, explore the area where we live, search the thrift stores and giveaway lists when we need something, and feel satisfied with how much we are saving." 

There is a vast difference between saying, "the food prices are rising so there is nothing the consumer can do - the government must fund our food" and saying, "yes, the food prices are rising, so we will be even more creative. We will clip more coupons, raise more things in our garden, harvest wild-growing foods, and keep chickens." 

You might say, "I wish we could have that new car. I wish we could have a bigger house. I wish I didn't have to stop and think twice before buying something." Or you might say, "I might be able to buy this, that or the other thing, but I prefer not to. My money is saved in order to enable me to have more financial security/pay off the mortgage/buy a house without a mortgage (even better)/enable us to have a parent at home. I know what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, and I'm content with my lot." 


Humble wife said...

Exactly. Content with what one has is such a wonderful thing. My last two posts share this sentiment with one being a window to my world and the other a reflective post about how we ended up on a farm in the desert.

The endless supply of stuff seems to feed the need for more. I am content with my simple life all the while trying to make each day the best day filled with love for the family and friends tht I can.


Velvet said...

I really appreciated this. We're looking forward (happily) to a spare but creative year. I'm working on my answers to the inevitable questions of friends and family when we decline to buy into the hype, so to speak, but this is a necessary reset for our family, as we've gotten far afield from where we'd like to be spiritually and financially. We're planning to spend our hours and our dollars much more thoughtfully in 2014.

Cheryl said...

Sorry to hear about your camera lens.

I am at a place in our marriage where I see change coming. I have felt led to really start looking at where our money is going and to try and get in a better financial situation.

I enjoyed reading this post and will think about that when I start to feel deprived, as I'm sure I'll have moments/days like that. I will try to "turn it around" into a positive.

Thank you :)

Lady Anne said...

Rich means being happy with what you have. Some people are rich with very little, and others are poor with a great deal.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your sensible, down-to-earth postings. You know and appreciate the true meaning of contentment and the joy of spiritual rewards. A compilation of your essays would create a beautiful, inspiring book. Thank you, Ms. Anna.
Barbara in the USA