Gratitude

Freedom, yet different

When we reduce our possessions, limiting ourselves to what we need and eliminating all the rest we can find ourselves feeling different from those around us.  When we prioritize where we spend our money, saving it now for those things and experiences that really matter to us, we find ourselves separating from the norm.

We can feel proud of what we have accomplished, and want to shout from the roof tops how free we feel.  We now have time to do all those things we had only been dreaming of finding the time to get to.

The problem comes when our interests no longer coincide with those in our circle of friends.  We no longer find enjoyment in the shopping excursions we used to enjoy, we don’t have a television and therefore no longer know what was on the tube last night, and many other things we used to talk about and enjoy with them.

When our friends don’t understand

We can introduce our friends to the quiet pleasures we have connected with, that bring us joy.  It may not be an easy transition, but don’t give up trying.  One of my first examples in trying to introduce a good friend to something I loved and had reconnected with didn’t turn out the way I had planned.

I love walking, she loves shopping. I thought we could combine the two, we could walk around the downtown of a small nearby town which has a diverse collection of stores, all owned by local individuals. If I bought something at least I knew I was supporting a small business.

We walked, we stopped in a few stores to browse, neither of us was buying any thing, until we spotted a cheesecake store.  This was freshly made cheesecake, made each morning on the premises,  by a local woman.  They boasted 32 flavors to choose from.  Here’s where things changed.

She loves cheesecake, so do I but I know it’s not good for me or my waist line. I wanted to walk to be outdoors, get exercise, lose a few pounds.   She now wanted a slice of cheesecake.

I agreed to join her, while she ate, but didn’t want any. Instead of acknowledging I was avoiding the delicious treat for my health,  our two views came crashing down right there at the shop’s counter. She believed I wasn’t going to have a slice because I didn’t have enough money and wanted me to join her enough so that she offered to pay for a slice so I could enjoy it as well. I had enough money on me, but looking at my choices I would have rather kept my money in my pocket.

Gratitude

I never got through to my friend. She still believes I would never have made the move I did unless it was financially imposed on me.  She sees my life through her eyes, and through her eyes my home would never be a place or situation one would choose unless they had to.

It can be quite frustrating trying to find a way day after day to explain I want to live this way.  One solution I  found was to remind myself of all the things I am grateful for. At first I kept my list in a journal, available to refer back to. I would come home and look over the list of things I gained as a result of getting rid of my “junk” and moving to a smaller apartment.

Today, my life is so much happier than it had been.  I no longer need to keep a gratitude journal, it’s all in my head and in front of me. As for my friend, she’s still my friend, no she still doesn’t understand, but I’m grateful she’s still there.  I’m sure you too have a story to share on how you face the questions of those close to you and  how you responded. I’d love to hear them.

2 Comments

  1. It is truly strange how our friends can sometimes be so quick to judge or to respond negatively to this way of life. Perhaps the only response is to smile, breathe deeply and take it one step at a time.

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