I’ve got 46 minutes before it’s time for school pick-up. Before I head out the door, let’s see what I can tell you about what’s going on for me right now.
This month was a bit of a milestone. I got my first gig consulting in the not-for-profit sector. This was a milestone in two ways:
- I secured my first ever client (I’ve since completed the work. They love it, I loved it – success)
- It was a significant tilt into paid work, I had a few wobbles, but I didn’t sink.
In a nutshell, I was throwing a thank you morning tea for some volunteers. I had dreams of creating lovely homemade delights to express my gratitude. As the day approached, the dream turned into a nightmare. I’d picked up the consulting work and everything was happening at once. I went to the supermarket with plans to make an elaborate celebration cake, came to my senses and ended up buying some pre-made cakes instead.
Feeling squeezed, I almost forgot everything I’ve learnt about simple living. But, I managed to catch myself in the act of making my life more complicated than it needed to be and execute a quick save.
A couple of plastic wrapped cakes isn’t what you usually associate with #simpleliving, quite the opposite. But for me, they represent what it’s really all about:
- I noticed myself trying to do and be everything.
- I was starting to feel overwhelmed.
- I made an intentional decision based on what matters to me.
- I didn’t fall into the trap of being some kind of busyness martyr.
- No sleep was compromised in the throwing of the morning tea.
Simple living is a tool to help you live a calmer, more meaningful life. It’s not a different kind of quest for perfection.
The morning tea was lovely, all the volunteers had a nice time, and Instagram was right – people really do love those supermarket mud cakes.
Summer has come early (I’m writing in front of the fan). Christmas music was playing in the supermarket this morning. I have a personal rule that the Christmas season doesn’t start until after my birthday in mid-December. I’ve had this rule since I was a little girl. Our tradition was to go and get a Christmas tree after we’d dropped all the kids home from my birthday party.
I’ve written previously about my approach to Christmas. If you are looking for ideas on how to keep things simple and meaningful at Christmas you might want to head over to the archives and check out:
- My must-haves this Christmas (spoiler: it’s not stuff)
- Minimalist Christmas – a gift guide (this is a good one to share on your Facebook page as a bit of hint, hint to family)
What I’ve been:
- Reading – After having the best month for reading in October, this month has been terrible. I’m stuck on Daughters of Smoke and Bone and haven’t finished anything.
- Listening to – I’ve recently discovered Tiny Ambitions where Britt shares her journey with minimalism. If I was her age again, I think I might look to go the tiny house route too. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Under the Skin by Russell Brand. Not someone I’d previously had a lot of time for, but he’s excellent on this. He covers lots of big ideas, in thoughtful conservations with top class guests. Every time I listen I feel inspired to dive into some kind of community building project. His interview with Jacques Peretti about consumerism and corporate power is a good one to start with.
I’m keen to listen to more British podcasts, let me know your favourites.
- Making – I’ve discovered the easiest lasagne ever. If you are making it, just a tip, you need 1 cup of cheese sauce and 1 cup of grated cheese. The recipe is sloppy, but the lasagne is tasty.
I also had a big win repurposing my son’s trousers into shorts. Hands up who else means to repurpose stuff, but never does? That is usually me, but not this time. The best part is, my son sees this as normal. I came into the room yesterday and he was quietly playing, pretending to cut with some plastic scissors. I asked him what he was playing, “I’m pretending to make shorts, just like you Mummy”. Awwwww.
- Thinking about – After listening to an episode of the Simple Show about frugality, I’ve been thinking about starting a Buy Nothing Group in my area. Essentially, it’s a Facebook group where instead of buying stuff you post stuff you have to give away and/or ask for stuff you need, rather than buying and selling.
In my community, there are a couple of active Facebook groups for gifting free stuff and I’ve used them. However, they’re aimed at helping people who are struggling.
My dilemna is this – if I set up a new group and people who could afford to buy stuff, but don’t want to, ask for free stuff from others, am I stealing from poor people? I haven’t decided what to do yet. Would love to hear your perspective on this.
What have been your highlights this month? Are you looking forward to Christmas, or over it already? What about a Buy Nothing Group? Are you a member of one, or have any experience with them?